In 1961, producers of Bonanza decided some land around Lake Tahoe, CA was great for outdoor shots. Fans of the TV show stopped by to see the place, and owner Bill Anderson saw an opportunity. He built replicas of the Cartwright Ranch and Virginia City, complete with gunfight reenactments and Wild West shows. The stars of Bonanza even showed up to promote it.
In the 36 years it was open, more than 8-million people came to Ponderosa Ranch. Most of them came after the show went off the air in 1972.