The Big Valley

Season 1 Episode 9


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Nov 10, 1965 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
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  • "Two paths diverged in an abandoned mine...and Charles Bronson took the one less kind"

    Between caring for a pregnant Indian woman on the verge of labor, dealing with a bitter, former employee who happens to be a drunk, and being buried alive in a caved-in church, Victoria Barkley has her hands full!

    The central plot of an earthquake causing a mission church to implode and Victoria being in the midst of it is a great suspense thriller, as are the two subplots running beneath the surface - an unwed mother-to-be who is in deep despair, and a hateful hired hand who manages to find a bottle of booze among the wreckage - both of whom happen to be Victoria's constant companions throughout the whole ordeal.

    The plot builds and does a fine job of keeping the audience hooked - but oh, the ending! The deplorable ending reduces the episode significantly. Bitter Tate gets killed off tidily in a mine implosion, so that takes care of him. Then, the depressed single mom dies in childbirth, so that takes care of her. But the unthinkable happens when the dude who got the girl pregnant in the first place, tried to sabotage the rescue, and who was pathologically cheating on his wife - walks away with a smile and a pat on the back of his betrayed wife, who decided she wanted to adopt the baby - and take her philandering husband who fathered the child back without so much more than presumably a stern lecture. And the sheriff and the Barkley's just stand there and kind of nod their approval.

  • Another great first season episode.

    With the exception of 'Jubal Tanner,' most of the episodes at the beginning of the series are spectacular. This one ranks high on the list, mostly because it's the first episode that focuses specifically on Victoria. The scene where she takes the bottle out of guest star Charles Bronson's hand and smashes it against a wall and uses the cut glass to make sure he keeps his distance is amazing. She's tough and powerful, and right away, we learn that VIctoria Barkley is not a lady you mess with or double cross. I love that about this character and Stanwyck just nails it.