Dan Blocker was six foot four and over three hundred pounds when chosen to play the gentle middle son Eric, also known as Hoss. The nickname was used as a nod to the character's ample girth, an endearing term for "big and friendly", used by his Swedish mother (& uncle, Gunnar), or a rib to his humiliating, failed attempt to break a horse ("Ponderosa", episode No. 1, PAX TV 2001). In the Bonanza flashback (Bonanza, "Journey Remembered"; episode No. 142, NBC-TV, 1964).