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Barbara Stanwyck in The Big Valley

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Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-09-17%2Bat%2B11.25.

I thought I'd create a thread about this classic western TV series from the late 60s. I've been watching episodes from the second season. 

 

The show has maintained a loyal following over the years. I'm a bit partial to it since I share a first name with one of the Barkley brothers. LOL

 

There was a thread on the IMDb where someone said the writers were inspired by some of Stanwyck's movies. And there was another thread that commented on the similarities of some stories with ones that aired on Bonanza. Maybe that's because some of the scriptwriters worked on both shows.

 

So what's your favorite episode of The Big Valley...?

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I thought I'd create a thread about this classic western TV series from the late 60s. I've been watching episodes from the second season. 

 

This show seems to have maintained a loyal following over the years. I'm a bit partial to it since I share a first name with one of the Barkley brothers. LOL

 

There was a thread on the IMDb where someone said the writers were inspired by some of Stanwyck's movies. And there was another thread that commented on the similarities of some stories with ones that aired on Bonanza. Maybe that's because some of the scriptwriters worked on both shows.

 

So what's your favorite episode of The Big Valley...?

I like the actors - Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Long, Peter Breck, Linda Evans and Lee Majors.

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I like the actors - Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Long, Peter Breck, Linda Evans and Lee Majors.

 

Yes, what a cast. I even liked the guy who played brother Eugene in the first season. But it's the guest stars that put this show over. I watched two more last night-- an episode where James Whitmore is a crook running for political office (his acting was just excellent); and another one where Colleen Dewhurst is a Ma Barker type who holds Victoria and Audra hostage inside a church with the help of her deranged sons.

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I had vaguely remembered the Dewhurst episode from watching it on the Family Channel years ago. But I had forgotten Michael Burns played her injured youngest boy. The scene where Dewhurst plans to go into the other room to kill Audra and Victoria stops her is one of The Big Valley's greatest moments.

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TopBilled, it would be difficult for me to pick out a favorite episode.  So many were excellent.  And definitely the one with Colleen Dewhurst was one of the best.  Her character gave me the chills.  One that I enjoy is a comic episode  about a couple of badmen trying to open a safe.  Stanwyck is wonderful in this and she puts her comic skills to great use.  And the guest stars!  The list goes on and on:   Julie Adams, Ellen Burstyn, Lew Ayres, Karen Black, Diane Baker, and Ray Danton, to name only a few.  I hope others comment in this show.

 

Terrence.

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TopBilled, it would be difficult for me to pick out a favorite episode.  So many were excellent.  And definitely the one with Colleen Dewhurst was one of the best.  Her character gave me the chills.  

 

"A Day of Terror"-- Season 2, Episode 13

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Very chilling. Especially when the children were having their bible study and her wickedness was contrasted with their innocence. 

 

Not only did Stanwyck get to remove a bullet in this episode, she got to blow Dewhurst to smithereens. 

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-09-17%2Bat%2B11.10.

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I just watched season 2's Day of the CometIn this story, Audra (Linda Evans) meets a man played by Bradford Dillman.

 

He's been on the run for 2500 miles, before showing up at the Barkley ranch. We learn that he is a poet (which comes in handy when courting Audra) and that during the war, he was responsible for the death of 63 fellow soldiers. An ex-army lieutenant and his men have tracked Dillman to Stockton, and the stage is set for a confrontation. 

 

This episode works largely because of the innocence that Linda projects as Audra. We believe how special her relationship with Dillman is and we want him to live. But near the end, he tells her not to love a dead man, which gives us some idea how it will turn out.

 

Stanwyck was great in the final scene, where Audra is still mourning the loss of her beloved and Victoria gives her the space she needs to grieve. Excellent episode, and I gave it a 10 on the IMDb.

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Another very good season 2 episode of The Big Valley is the one that features a young Richard Dreyfuss. Originally, I was looking at the IMDb cast lists and reviews for each episode before watching them, but it was spoiling the fun. So with Boy into Man, I decided to watch first then read up later. Imagine my surprise when Dreyfuss turned up as a 16 year old. 

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What I really love about this episode, and I will not give away the outcome of the plot, is that there are two separate storylines running at the same time. We see an old gold prospector as well as this young boy whose mother has disappeared. The stories are not at all connected in the first half, and a murder neatly brings them together. The boy has taken his two younger siblings to live with the Barkleys, and while he attempts to runaway and locate the mother, he gets caught up in the murder.

 

At first, I thought it was going to turn out the kids were orphaned and the mother had died. But she turns up very much alive and in a most shocking way. Diane Ladd plays the mother, and she's truly amazing in this role. The scene where she and Victoria confront the boy in jail about whether he had anything to do with the killing is very powerful. All three of them-- Stanwyck, Ladd and Dreyfuss just nailed that scene.

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This offering of The Big Valley was directed by Paul Henreid, and I've always found his episodes to be among the strongest. He brings out the human predicaments faced by the characters.

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Season 2's The Martyr

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First of all, let me say this is not the best episode of the series, nor is it the best episode of season 2. But I give it a rating of 10, because I think it's perfect in the way it delves into mob rule versus law and order. We've seen these kinds of stories in countless western films and TV programs. But this script is very literate, and some of the speeches that Jarrod makes to his mother in his room and later in the courtroom are very thought-provoking. It proves you don't need guns and men leaping off rooftops all the time to have a very satisfying episode of The Big Valley.

 

Because this was filmed in 1960s, we get mostly (if not all) Caucasian actors playing the Basques with make-believe thick accents. But that's a minor quibble. The performances are uniformly strong from the guest cast, especially Joe Campanella who was invited back to do another story later this season.

 

I think what impresses me most about this episode is how Jarrod must deal with people who see the law as being for their own gain, instead of it being for the gain of the whole community. Even the judge, whom we learn early on is a friend of the Barkleys, has his own prejudices and uses for the law. It could have become rather preachy-- but instead, this lesson in justice doesn't come across as a sermon, it comes across more like a sobering exercise on the abuses of power.

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Season 2's The Martyr

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-09-19%2Bat%2B8.47.4

First of all, let me say this is not the best episode of the series, nor is it the best episode of season 2. But I give it a rating of 10, because I think it's perfect in the way it delves into mob rule versus law and order. We've seen these kinds of stories in countless western films and TV programs. But this script is very literate, and some of the speeches that Jarrod makes to his mother in his room and later in the courtroom are very thought-provoking. It proves you don't need guns and men leaping off rooftops all the time to have a very satisfying episode of The Big Valley.

 

Because this was filmed in 1960s, we get mostly (if not all) Caucasian actors playing the Basques with make-believe thick accents. But that's a minor quibble. The performances are uniformly strong from the guest cast, especially Joe Campanella who was invited back to do another story later this season.

 

I think what impresses me most about this episode is how Jarrod must deal with people who see the law as being for their own gain, instead of it being for the gain of the whole community. Even the judge, whom we learn early on is a friend of the Barkleys, has his own prejudices and uses for the law. It could have become rather preachy-- but instead, this lesson in justice doesn't come across as a sermon, it comes across more like a sobering exercise on the abuses of power.

What often impresses me about the Western genre - is the lawlessness of the genre - never quite knowing what to expect.

 

The Barkleys often deal with difficult problems - like the one with Leslie Nielsen in which he seemed to want Audra as a "gift" for granting - generously? - a concession to the family.

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What often impresses me about the Western genre - is the lawlessness of the genre - never quite knowing what to expect.

 

The Barkleys often deal with difficult problems - like the one with Leslie Nielsen in which he seemed to want Audra as a "gift" for granting - generously? - a concession to the family.

 

Yes. Especially the violent gunplay that erupts at a moment's notice. However, because this program was produced by network television in the 1960s, Standards & Practices would not allow them to show gore on screen. So it's kind of funny to see a man get three bullets shot into him, he falls to the ground obviously dead, and not one ounce of blood anywhere.

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Season 2's Down Shadow Street

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-09-20%2Bat%2B12.22.

This is a noir-inspired installment of The Big Valley. It works because of Barbara Stanwyck in the main role, an actress who appeared in quite a few films with darker psychological themes.

 

Victoria Barkley is usually presented as a tough matriarch. But in this episode, she becomes a woman in peril after she witnesses her godson commit a murder. The young man's father (Robert Middleton) decides to have Victoria locked away inside a mental institution to prevent her from testifying. Realizing she's trapped with no way out, things quickly begin to look hopeless.

 

Of course, we know Jarrod will come to her rescue, but until he does-- she has to rely on her own survival instincts inside the loony bin. There's a great scene where she prevents the door to her room from locking, and she convinces another woman to come inside for a tea party and essentially take her place. Stanwyck seems like she had fun filming that. She probably also had fun escaping over the wrought-iron front gate.

 

Despite obvious stereotypes about mentally ill patients, the corrupt men who oversee such facilities and the depiction of a sinister Asian servant back at the killer's home, it moves along at breakneck speed and is thoroughly entertaining.

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I watched a few episodes from the beginning of season 3 and thought they were all remarkable. I will post a review for one of them tomorrow.

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I saw a superb episode of "The Big Valley" today on MeTV, which had a great deal of adult content.

 

Adam West guest-starred as an Army major who was interested in buying some land near the Barkleys for the Army's use.

 

He was accompanied by an Army sergeant, who seemed a little too familiar with him.

 

As it turned out, he was a badly disturbed man who, due to a childhood trauma, was fixated on killing "loose women".

 

His mother had run a boarding house that was known for her "favors".

 

Adam West's character became interested in Audra Barkley, because he saw her as a symbol of shining purity.

 

Gradually, the Barkleys began to realize that this man was a far cry from what he seemed.

 

Not surprisingly, Adam West's character saw Audra as the type of woman that his mother was and, quite suddenly, he went off the deep end and tried to kill her late at night.

 

Victoria and two of her sons managed to prevent him from murdering Audra.

 

Adam West and the man who played opposite him, Don Knight, were terrific in their roles.

 

And, of course, Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Long, Peter Breck and Linda Evans were equally fine.            

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I saw a superb episode of "The Big Valley" today on MeTV, which had a great deal of adult content.

 

Adam West guest-starred as an Army major who was interested in buying some land near the Barkleys for the Army's use.

 

He was accompanied by an Army sergeant, who seemed a little too familiar with him.

 

As it turned out, he was a badly disturbed man who, due to a childhood trauma, was fixated on killing "loose women".

 

His mother had run a boarding house that was known for her "favors".

 

Adam West's character became interested in Audra Barkley, because he saw her as a symbol of shining purity.

 

Gradually, the Barkleys began to realize that this man was a far cry from what he seemed.

 

Not surprisingly, Adam West's character saw Audra as the type of woman that his mother was and, quite suddenly, he went off the deep end and tried to kill her late at night.

 

Victoria and two of her sons managed to prevent him from murdering Audra.

 

Adam West and the man who played opposite him, Don Knight, were terrific in their roles.

 

And, of course, Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Long, Peter Breck and Linda Evans were equally fine.            

 

Thanks for mentioning the Adam West episode, Ray. It was the fourth season opener, called In Silent Battle.

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Season 3's Four Days to Furnace Hill

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-09-22%2Bat%2B7.22.3

In the previous season, Victoria Barkley was locked up in a mental institution and had to break out. This time, she's been abducted by guards transporting a wagonload of prisoners to a jail across the desert. A place that is like something out of the dark ages.

 

The reason for Victoria's abduction is clearly spelled out in the opening scenes. One of the drivers (Bruce Dern) has killed a young female prisoner who spurned his advances. When Victoria comes by in her buggy on the way to a meeting, they meet her and decide to use her as a replacement. Of course, Victoria is probably twenty years older than the woman who died and is not an identical substitute. But that doesn't matter-- a body is a body; and they get paid $100 for each one they bring to the jail.

 

On the way, the men find out Victoria's a wealthy woman. However, her attempts at bribing them to let her go quickly backfire. There's an interesting development where Victoria tries to run off, and they recapture her with a rope and drag her back to the wagon. (Stanwyck seems to be doing her own stuntwork in that scene.)

 

During the rest of the journey, she gets to know the man traveling in the back of the wagon with her. Friends of his plan to intercept the wagon and help him escape. For $5000, Victoria can escape with them. At the same time, Heath and Jarrod have learned Victoria is missing; and they take off to find their mother and save her. There is not much suspense, since we know how this will turn out (Victoria will be rescued in time). But Stanwyck does her usual good work, and it's worth watching.

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-09-22%2Bat%2B7.22.5

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Thanks for mentioning the Adam West episode, Ray. It was the fourth season opener, called In Silent Battle.

It was a terrific episode, Jarrod, the damage from a childhood trauma never looked so bad.

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Season 3's Four Days to Furnace Hill

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-09-22%2Bat%2B7.22.3

In the previous season, Victoria Barkley was locked up in a mental institution and had to break out. This time, she's been abducted by guards transporting a wagonload of prisoners to a jail across the desert. A place that is like something out of the dark ages.

 

The reason for Victoria's abduction is clearly spelled out in the opening scenes. One of the drivers (Bruce Dern) has killed a young female prisoner who spurned his advances. When Victoria comes by in her buggy on the way to a meeting, they meet her and decide to use her as a replacement. Of course, Victoria is probably twenty years older than the woman who died and is not an identical substitute. But that doesn't matter-- a body is a body; and they get paid $100 for each one they bring to the jail.

 

On the way, the men find out Victoria's a wealthy woman. However, her attempts at bribing them to let her go quickly backfire. There's an interesting development where Victoria tries to run off, and they recapture her with a rope and drag her back to the wagon. (Stanwyck seems to be doing her own stuntwork in that scene.)

 

During the rest of the journey, she gets to know the man traveling in the back of the wagon with her. Friends of his plan to intercept the wagon and help him escape. For $5000, Victoria can escape with them. At the same time, Heath and Jarrod have learned Victoria is missing; and they take off to find their mother and save her. There is not much suspense, since we know how this will turn out (Victoria will be rescued in time). But Stanwyck does her usual good work, and it's worth watching.

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-09-22%2Bat%2B7.22.5

Jarrod, this one sounds like a terrific big-screen Western.

 

It looks like one of my favorite actors was in this one, Fritz Weaver.

 

I saw him on Broadway in "Child's Play".

 

He did a lot of TV, I think.

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Jarrod, this one sounds like a terrific big-screen Western.

 

It looks like one of my favorite actors was in this one, Fritz Weaver.

 

I saw him on Broadway in "Child's Play".

 

He did a lot of TV, I think.

 

Yes, the story could easily have been adapted for a feature film. And you're right, it's Fritz Weaver who plays Victoria's fellow passenger in the wagon. I don't want to spoil the ending, but during the course of the episode Weaver's character evolves from a self-serving convict to someone who helps save Victoria in the final scenes.

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I much preferred The Big Valley to Bonanza.  This was a real family with women and men and the same parentage except for Heath.  Peter Breck and Lee Majors were a great comic relief team and the show dealt with real social issues of the time; Mormons and polygamy, the problems of Asians and Mexicans living in California, why the railroad was so hated and plots centered on points of law. 

 

In one Richard Long proves he could have played Jeckle and Hyde.  The usually calm and rational Jarrod falls for and marries a woman just as a man he prosecuted for murder-and who vowed revenge- is released.  When she's shot to death a few days later he becomes a madman determined to find and kill this man even though he claims innocence.  When Nick and Heath find him and the man he's at the door of insanity and nearly harms them.  The ending  

 

There was a "stock company" of actors who worked frequently during the run of the show.  Fritz Weaver was one; Richard Anderson and Kevin Hagen did more than I can count.  Douglas Kennedy went from guest shots to a regular role as Sheriff Fred Maddon.         

 

Two problems:  The Barkleys were supposedly staunch Unionists yet the house looked like anti-bellum plantation.  They also had an African-American servant, Silas, played by Napoleon Whiting, who they sometimes talked down to.  This was like Bonanza's  Chinese cook Hop-Sing-Victor Sen Yung-who was often a big part of the story but still an Asian stereotype.  The shows seemed to be trying to have it both ways.

 

I understand that the Barkleys were based on a real Northern California family who still have living members today.  If not, I will be taken to the woodshed by one of you.  The ending credits always cite gratitude to the California Historical Society for its input so perhaps the attempts to be realistic set it apart.    

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I much preferred The Big Valley to Bonanza.  This was a real family with women and men and the same parentage except for Heath.  Peter Breck and Lee Majors were a great comic relief team and the show dealt with real social issues of the time; Mormons and polygamy, the problems of Asians and Mexicans living in California, why the railroad was so hated and plots centered on points of law. 

 

In one Richard Long proves he could have played Jeckle and Hyde.  The usually calm and rational Jarrod falls for and marries a woman just as a man he prosecuted for murder-and who vowed revenge- is released.  When she's shot to death a few days later he becomes a madman determined to find and kill this man even though he claims innocence.  When Nick and Heath find him and the man he's at the door of insanity and nearly harms them.  The ending  

 

There was a "stock company" of actors who worked frequently during the run of the show.  Fritz Weaver was one; Richard Anderson and Kevin Hagen did more than I can count.  Douglas Kennedy went from guest shots to a regular role as Sheriff Fred Maddon.         

 

Two problems:  The Barkleys were supposedly staunch Unionists yet the house looked like anti-bellum plantation.  They also had an African-American servant, Silas, played by Napoleon Whiting, who they sometimes talked down to.  This was like Bonanza's  Chinese cook Hop-Sing-Victor Sen Yung-who was often a big part of the story but still an Asian stereotype.  The shows seemed to be trying to have it both ways.

 

I understand that the Barkleys were based on a real Northern California family who still have living members today.  If not, I will be taken to the woodshed by one of you.  The ending credits always cite gratitude to the California Historical Society for its input so perhaps the attempts to be realistic set it apart.    

 

Other 'stock company' players included Bruce Dern, Royal Dano and James Whitmore.

 

It's interesting you mention the episode where Jarrod marries, because I just watched it earlier this afternoon. I will post my review of it on this thread tomorrow.

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Season 3's Days of Wrath

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-09-23%2Bat%2B5.47.0

A lot has already been written about this episode by other people. I think it would have worked just as well if Jarrod's love interest in the story was simply a fiancée and not yet his wife. The main point is she was someone he had become very close to, and in the blink of an eye, she was taken from him. He becomes vengeful when she's killed because love has been ripped away from him-- so it's more than her having become his wife or a member of his family. However, the writer probably thought the stakes would be higher if she was Mrs. Jarrod Barkley. So within record time Jarrod meets the gal on a train, falls in love with her and marries her. The marriage itself is a very quick plot development and actually occurs off-screen.

 

The newlyweds have barely had time to settle into their life together at the ranch, when an outside threat wipes away their happiness. We're told the outsider is a man Jarrod helped send to jail, and he has vowed to get even. He's been pardoned, is now back in Stockton and meets the couple one day in town. A thought I had was this-- Jarrod is not a prosecutor-- he's a defense attorney. So unless he had defended the man, which doesn't seem likely, he probably wouldn't have had anything directly to do with the man's conviction. That aside, there is also no mention as to how the governor came to issue the pardon. If the man's conviction had been overturned, there must have been some evidence of his innocence. But the story ignores those points, because it's been decided he must be a villain, a killer on the loose who will murder Jarrod's wife and send Jarrod over the edge.

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-09-23%2Bat%2B6.01.3

After they get back from town, there's a beautiful scene where Jarrod takes his bride to the spot where he intends to build a house for them to raise their children. But the moment is interrupted when shots are fired. The wife has been hit and down she goes. The sudden and unexpected nature of her death, following the whirlwind courtship, indicates how much the writer was trying to cram into the beginning portion of a 48-minute episode. It might have worked better as a two-parter. As it is, we don't really get enough time to know the wife, and therefore we cannot feel her loss too deeply. Victoria seems to be speaking for the viewers in a scene after the death has occurred where she admits she didn't know Beth Barkley very well, except that the young woman loved Jarrod.

 

The rest of the plot kicks into high gear. Against the advice of his mother and brother Nick, Jarrod goes off hellbent to instill his own vigilante justice. He doesn't even know if the man the governor had pardoned, whom he suspects to be his wife's murderer, is the actual culprit. All he has is a hunch. The search soon leads to a nearby town called Rimfire, and after an altercation where Jarrod is left for dead, the suspect winds up in jail on another unrelated charge. This causes Jarrod to have a long meaningful conversation with the sheriff who had experienced the death of his own wife years earlier. Jarrod and the sheriff then toy with the idea of making a Faustian bargain that will set the man free, so Jarrod can kill him out on the street. And that's what begins to happen. Of course, the final showdown is halted by the arrival of Nick and Heath but not before we see how far Jarrod is willing to go on such a scant amount of evidence.

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-09-23%2Bat%2B5.48.0

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Season 3's Days of Wrath

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-09-23%2Bat%2B5.47.0

A lot has already been written about this episode by other people. I think it would have worked just as well if Jarrod's love interest in the story was simply a fiancée and not yet his wife. The main point is she was someone he had become very close to, and in the blink of an eye, she was taken from him. He becomes vengeful when she's killed because love has been ripped away from him-- so it's more than her having become his wife or a member of his family. However, the writer probably thought the stakes would be higher if she was Mrs. Jarrod Barkley. So within record time Jarrod meets the gal on a train, falls in love with her and marries her. The marriage itself is a very quick plot development and actually occurs off-screen.

 

The newlyweds have barely had time to settle into their life together at the ranch, when an outside threat wipes away their happiness. We're told the outsider is a man Jarrod helped send to jail, and he has vowed to get even. He's been pardoned, is now back in Stockton and meets the couple one day in town. A thought I had was this-- Jarrod is not a prosecutor-- he's a defense attorney. So unless he had defended the man, which doesn't seem likely, he probably wouldn't have had anything directly to do with the man's conviction. That aside, there is also no mention as to how the governor came to issue the pardon. If the man's conviction had been overturned, there must have been some evidence of his innocence. But the story ignores those points, because it's been decided he must be a villain, a killer on the loose who will murder Jarrod's wife and send Jarrod over the edge.

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-09-23%2Bat%2B6.01.3

After they get back from town, there's a beautiful scene where Jarrod takes his bride to the spot where he intends to build a house for them to raise their children. But the moment is interrupted when shots are fired. The wife has been hit and down she goes. The sudden and unexpected nature of her death, following the whirlwind courtship, indicates how much the writer was trying to cram into the beginning portion of a 48-minute episode. It might have worked better as a two-parter. As it is, we don't really get enough time to know the wife, and therefore we cannot feel her loss too deeply. Victoria seems to be speaking for the viewers in a scene after the death has occurred where she admits she didn't know Beth Barkley very well, except that the young woman loved Jarrod.

 

The rest of the plot kicks into high gear. Against the advice of his mother and brother Nick, Jarrod goes off hellbent to instill his own vigilante justice. He doesn't even know if the man the governor had pardoned, whom he suspects to be his wife's murderer, is the actual culprit. All he has is a hunch. The search soon leads to a nearby town called Rimfire, and after an altercation where Jarrod is left for dead, the suspect winds up in jail on another unrelated charge. This causes Jarrod to have a long meaningful conversation with the sheriff who had experienced the death of his own wife years earlier. Jarrod and the sheriff then toy with the idea of making a Faustian bargain that will set the man free, so Jarrod can kill him out on the street. And that's what begins to happen. Of course, the final showdown is halted by the arrival of Nick and Heath but not before we see how far Jarrod is willing to go on such a scant amount of evidence.

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-09-23%2Bat%2B5.48.0

This one was a gripping episode, I saw it a few weeks ago.

 

It should have been a two-parter,

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This one was a gripping episode, I saw it a few weeks ago.

 

It should have been a two-parter,

 

Yeah, I think there needed to be more time for the courtship. Her character should have been a little more established before getting killed off. I would have had her death occur at the end of part 1, then make the following episode about his tracking down the killer.

 

We also did not know anything about her background, except she had come west to be a teacher. It would have been interesting if there was a possibility that someone from back east had followed her and might have been the real killer, not the person Jarrod automatically assumed was guilty.

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I'm a huge fan of this series and have seen every episode several times.  It's good to see so much discussion of the episode where Jarrod married.  This has to be Richard Long's supreme acting job.  He is so believable and the last scene where he sees her face in the blaze in the fireplace is so touching.

 

Also, someone recently commented on what looked like Stanwyck doing her own stunts.  She actually did a lot of her own so that the camera could get more realistic shots.   She loved doing this series  and she made sure that all the actors treated each other as real families do.  Another actor that was used in several different episodes is James Gregory.  And he was always great.

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I'm a huge fan of this series and have seen every episode several times.  It's good to see so much discussion of the episode where Jarrod married.  This has to be Richard Long's supreme acting job.  He is so believable and the last scene where he sees her face in the blaze in the fireplace is so touching.

 

Also, someone recently commented on what looked like Stanwyck doing her own stunts.  She actually did a lot of her own so that the camera could get more realistic shots.   She loved doing this series  and she made sure that all the actors treated each other as real families do.  Another actor that was used in several different episodes is James Gregory.  And he was always great.

 

Yes, the episode has one of the most memorable endings of any Big Valley story. Long was excellent throughout.

 

As for Stanwyck's stuntwork, it was obvious that she was really being dragged across the sand with the rope around her-- because she made a point of looking towards the camera. Like it was her way of telling us there wasn't any stunt woman, it was her actually doing the whole scene. It adds to the show's realism.

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