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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Awesome Adaptations (58) Bonanza - The Hunter

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
This meme celebrates an awesome adaptation related to a weekly category. Any format of adaptation (television series, film, web series, etc.) is acceptable as long as it is based in some form on a book. Awesome Adaptations was created by Alisa Selene at PictureMeReading.

An Awesome Adaptation of a Western
Title: Bonanza - The Hunter
Adapted from: The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell

In the very last season of Bonanza (one of my favorite TV shows ever and this is also the last episode of the series) they did an episode loosely based on the short story The Most Dangerous Game where a psycho hunter decides to hunt the ultimate prey - humans.  And in this version, Little Joe, played by Michael Landon, must use his wits to escape the hunter's snare.  Michael Landon also wrote and directed this episode, so kudos to him because this one is excellently tense and suspenseful and very different from the usual Bonanza fare.  There's very little dialogue, and with the psychological horror of having someone determined to kill you for no other reason than because he wants to hunt - this episode is also super creepy.

There are many similarities in how Little Joe evades the hunter (Tanner) to the original story - by covering his tracks and making snares and traps, but the reason Tanner hunts and the way he is stopped in the end is different.  I think this is a wonderful episode because it is so thrilling.  The Western aspect is more incidental to the story - Bonanza was always a show that relied more on the drama than Western themes - but having it set in the West where there's lots of isolated land enables the episode to work without having a lonely island like in the story.  And there's also a great moment when Little Joe thinks he's found some refuge when he sees a small town, only to discover it's a ghost town.  Devastating.  Although this episode does not embody what I love about the show in general, I do like it when shows try different things, and this episode was extremely well-told and entertaining.

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2 comments:

  1. Interesting choice! I was lost on this one! There's an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that I hear is supposed to be based on the story "The Most Dangerous Game." I think I'm going to have to read it sometime!

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    1. I had trouble thinking of a Western too - I don't really watch many aside from this show. :) But I should watch more, I really enjoy them. Oh wow, I didn't know Star Trek did a take on this story! Awesome! I really liked the story when I first read it in high school. I hope you do too!

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