Two quickfire second half goals from Tottenham Hotspur halted Wanderers' three-game unbeaten run on an emotionally-charged evening at the Reebok Stadium.
After Fabrice Muamba had braved an emotional return to a football pitch prior to kick-off for the first time since his cardiac arrest, Wanderers initially fell behind through a stunning Luka Modric strike.
But Bolton clawed their way back into the game following a rip-roaring start to the second half, as Nigel Reo-Coker crashed home the equaliser.
It seemed the game was only going one way, only for two Tottenham goals in three minutes to all but seal the outcome.
Rafael van der Vaart and Emmanuel Adebayor were the scorers, before on 69 minutes the on-loan Togolese frontman added his side's fourth.
Owen Coyle opted for the same starting XI that had battled from behind to earn a point against Sunderland four days earlier.
As a result, Dedryck Boyata retained his place at right-back, with in-form skipper Kevin Davies spearheading the frontline alongside David Ngog.
Prior to kick-off four sides of the Reebok Stadium rose to their feet to applaud the returning Muamba, who duly showed his thanks to both sets of fans and the watching world for the first time since his cardiac arrest just over six weeks ago.
With an electric atmosphere, Wanderers set out to impose themselves on the game.
Though Spurs weren't here to make up the numbers, with a Champions League berth very much the target for Harry Redknapp's side.
With Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon interchanging positions in the early throes, it was the visitors who asked the early questions.
Bale drifted in from the right flank to sting the palms of Adam Bogdan on 12 minutes, with Van der Vaart unable to turn in the rebounds.
Minutes later Lennon saw an effort deflect off Sam Ricketts and out for a corner kick before Bolton then fashioned their first meaningful effort of the evening.
Martin Petrov hared down the left before delivering teasing cross that eventually fell to David Ngog. The Frenchman adjusted his feet well before hitting a shot on the spin that was well charged down by Brad Friedel.
With the game in the balance, the pendulum swung in favour of the visitors in a moment of Modric brilliance on 37 minutes.
From a quickly taken corner kick, the Croatian international found space 35 yards from goal before cutting across an unstoppable volley that sailed up and over Bogdan.
But Wanderers responded immediately
Friedel's penalty area was bombarded and that almost paid dividends in first half stoppage time. Boyata found space six yards out but was unable to direct a left-footed volley goalwards.
Wanderers raced out of the traps in the second half and were immediately rewarded for their efforts.
From Boyata's quick and clever throw-in, Ngog superbly back heeled the ball into the onrushing Reo-Coker's path, who lashed home a low first-time volley from 12 yards into the net.
With the second half just six minutes old, suddenly the wind was very much in Wanderers' sails.
Kevin Davies continued to make a real nuisance of himself in the final third, particularly from a series of successive corner kicks in which the Bolton skipper twice saw headed effort deflect over the crossbar.
Spurs were on the ropes, however Bolton weren't quite able to land the knockout blow.
From another Boyata throw, Eagles fizzed a volley onto the roof of Friedel's net as the decibel levels from the vociferous home fans soared.
It seemed just a matter of time before the Tottenham defence would be breached for a second time, only for a double bolt out of the blue to completely changed the whole outlook of the game.
Having repelled yet another Bolton attack, Spurs sprang a rapid counter-attack down the left flank. Bale galloped to the byline before delivering a low cross that Van der Vaart swept into the far corner.
And just two minutes later Spurs extended their lead. Bale was once again the architect, slicing open the Bolton defence to find Adebayor, who maintained his composure when rounding Bogdan and side-footing into an empty net.
At 3-1 Wanderers faced an uphill task.
Coyle made an out-and-out play in attempt to try and salvage something from the game. Ivan Klasnic was introduced in place of Ngog, with youngster Josh Vela also thrown on for the injured Reo-Coker.
Bolton continued to pour forward, as an off-balance Eagles couldn't quite turn home Petrov's low centre.
But in the 69th minute Spurs extended their lead.
Modric played a fine slide-rule ball in behind the Bolton defence onto which Aaron Lennon latched. The livewire winger then took a touch to set himself before delivering a pinpoint cross to the back post which Adebayor turned home.
Bolton's effort was admirable, but any luck eluded them in the final third as the remainder of the game was played at a relative walking pace.
Kevin Davies couldn't quite control a cross from Petrov in what was the only real chance prior to Mike Dean's full time whistle.
Wanderers: Bogdan, Boyata, Wheater, Ream, Ricketts, Eagles (Ryo 83), M Davies, Reo-Coker (Vela 65), Petrov, K Davies, Ngog (Klasnic 65) (Unused substitutes: Jaaskelainen, Alonso, Knight, Sordell)
Tottenham Hotspur: Friedel, Bale, Kaboul, Lennon (Saha 84), Adebayor, Van der Vaart (Livermore 79), Gallas (Nelsen 87), Modric, Rose, Walker, Sandro (Unused substitutes: Cudicini, Giovani, Defoe, King)