The Big Valley

Season 1 Episode 26

By Force and Violence

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Mar 30, 1966 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
27 votes
  • A good episode, overcomes the pitfalls of the loud and over-earnest Barbara Stanwyck.

    Victoria Barkley must convince a fleeing criminal to help her trapped and dying step son.

    Probably one of the better character studies in "The Big Valley" series, even though its a good idea to look beyond the usual Barbara Stanwyck hysterics and blatent over-acting. Here, Victoria must summon the help of an escaped convict in shackles to help free Heath from an enormous wagon that has fallen on him. The story is quite remarkable for the mud, its everywhere, both on Stanwyck and on Lee Majors as he sinks farther into the soil and becomes more and more delirious as the weight of the wagon takes its toll. And a scene where the wagon falls back on Heath after a hoisting rope breaks is pretty visceral.

    Of all "The Big Valley" episodes that feature Bruce Dern, this is the best (much better than the improbable but memorable episode where he plays a prison guard who throws Victoria into a paddy wagon as a "replacement" for a woman prisoner who has died). He is a character worth redemption and undeserving of the fate that persuing bounty hunters want to inflict on him. Maybe he doesn't deserve Miss Stanwyck's righteous and unrelenting lecturing. A good overall entry for the series as a whole.