I am once again enjoying the Cartwright family.  I’m seeing the earlier episodes that have all three sons:  Adam, Hoss and Little Joe.  It reminded me of something I used to enjoy as part of their story:  all three brother are stepbrothers; Patriarch Ben was married and widowed three times with women who each gave him a son.

Ben’s first wife was dark-haired Elizabeth, a New Englander, with that serious and staid background, but a loving woman who gave him eldest Adam, the very serious, collected and measured of the three who seldom smiles but always seems to be thinking.  Elizabeth died, and along came Inga, a Norwegian lady, blonde and blue-eyed who gave Ben second son Hoss (a Norwegian name meaning, strong, good, a straight-shooter), and indeed Hoss is a gentle giant with a streak of innocence that plays well against his huge, lumbering frame. Inga died, and later on a trip to New Orleans, Ben met Marie.  A Frenchwoman of the area unfairly stigmatized as being a scarlet woman.  Ben took her away from all the small conformity, the spies and the gossip of the Creole society and brought her to a giant land where the trees grew tall and the birds flew freely–to the one thousand acres of the Ponderosa Ranch.  Marie bore him Joseph, “Little Joe,” the handsomest, most romantic and impetuous of all three brothers who, when he fought, moved like a panther and fenced like a master.  Three very different men, but, these roles so well-acted, you are convinced of the love and bond between them and their father with the Shakespearean voice, Ben.   If I recall from the story, all three boys lost their mothers before they could remember them.  Last night, there was an episode where Hoss was accidentally seriously shot and  it was touch and go.  When he awakened, he told his Pa that he dreamed of a beautiful blonde haired, blue-eyed lady who stood over him and told him all about how the Vikings, when they died, crossed over on a barge into Valhalla.  Ben teared up, looked at the picture of Inga, and wondered how could Hoss have remembered that…he had barfly been three.  But, aha…one knows that his Ma came to him while he was close to death to comfort and help him.