Aaron Cartwright is the elder brother of Ben Cartwright and the master of the Ponderosa Ranch after Ben's death. He makes his first and only appearance in Bonanza The Next Generation.
Aaron first came to the Ponderosa after years spent at sea away from his family. Like his brother Ben, he was a sea captain, but unlike Ben, he chose to remain at sea until after Ben died and he inherited the Ponderosa estate. Not long after Aaron had arrived at the ranch house, Little Joe was killed in action while fighting as one of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders, and Arron had to take care of Joe's son Benjamin junior and Will's daughter Amy, Will having himself died in action apparently during the Indian Wars. None of them realized it, but Hoss had a son named Joshua by his fiancee, whom he had intended to marry but was unable to do so because he had been drowned saving a girl.
Aaron proved to be a very different man than his little brother: he was an accomplished artist and not as good a business man as Ben had been. He gave a concession to a mining company to take core samples in the forest near the Ponderosa, but was unaware that their foreman planned to strip mine the area.
It was about this time that Josh's mother passed away. Because he believed that Hoss, whom his mother had admitted was his father as he lay dying, had deserted them, he swore to Kill Hoss and traveled to the Ponderosa in order to do so. It was only after he entered the ranch house and attacked the Cartwrights that he revealed his name and the fact that Hiss was his father to them. It was Aaron who broke the news to him that Hoss was already dead.
While still spraying the mine area with water hydraulically, the foreman of the crew attended the meeting at which Aaron refused to allow the mining company to strip mine the land, even though the mine would bring employment to the people liviingin the Ponderosa area. Eventually, after an outbreak of violence, the Cartwrights took back the mine and Aaron brought the head of the mining company to the Ponderosa area. He assured the townsfolk that the mine would be run the traditional way and that there would be no more strip mining.
Aaron Cartwright was created as a replacement for Ben Cartwright after Lorne Greene died of cancer while preparing to reassume his famous role. He only appears in Bonanza the Next Generation because John Ireland passed away the year before the second movie was made; he was replaced by the character Bronc Peters for the sequels.
== Sources --
Bonanza the Next Generation Wikipedia Entry
Bonanza the Next Generation DVD release