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What was bonanza farm?

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"The Cartwright family lived on the Ponderosa." (original answer)
My answer: While the Cartwright family did live on their ranch, the Ponderosa on the television show, "Bonanza", the show actually had nothing in common with the actual Bonanza Farms of the late 1800's. Bonanza is a Spanish term meaning "good weather" and refers to a source/time of sudden great wealth.
Bonanza Farms were large farms that actually came about as a result of the failed financial investments of the Northern Pacific Railroad. In the 1860's a group of entrepreneurs from the East Coast were given the largest government land grand in history to build a railroad reaching to the west coast of the United States. Those entrepreneurs engaged Jay Cooke, a wealthy financier, to help support the project. The project was successful and the Northern Pacific reached Fargo ND in 1872. Shortly thereafter, Jay Cooke's financial institutions - and the railroad project - went bankrupt - leaving the original investors "holding the bag" so to speak. The Northern Pacific Railroad now had no assets other than the great amounts of land obtained from the government land grand. This land was sold in large parcels to wealthy investors to raise funds for the railroad to pay its debts and to continue the construction of the railroad to the west coast. These wealthy investors became the absentee owners of thousands of acres of land, mainly in the Red River Valley of Minnesota and the Dakota Territory. Hired managers and foremen operated the farms, hiring a permanent crew of workers who lived on the farm. During the busy seasons of planting and harvest, they also hired a large number of migrant workers. These farms were very successful and profitable and quickly made the Red River Valley the largest wheat-producing area in the United States. With time, over-farming exhausted the land, crop production in drought years was poor, and the cheap migrant labor became harder to acquire. These large farms that produced only one crop were not able to weather the booms and busts of grain markets and were no longer profitable enterprises. The land was sold off to smaller farmers and the era of the Bonanza farm ended in the 1920's. A restored Bonanza farm still exists near Mooreton ND, where tourists can explore the various buildings on the Bagg Bonanza Farm and see many of the household and farm items used when the farm was in its prime.
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