I read somewhere that Barbara Stanwyck was quoted as stating (I'm paraphrasing) that the show would have been even more interesting if it had been Victoria--not Tom Barkley--who had had the extramarital affair that produced a baby(!)
This show was about a family who lived in San Joaquin Valley, in California. It starred Victoria Barkley (Barbara Stanwyck, who starred in many westerns movies), who was clan matriarch. It also starred her son's Jarrod (Richard Long), a lawyer from San Francisco, Nick Barkley (Peter Breck), the hot-headed, and very kind and caring at times, ranch foreman, Heath Barkley (Lee Majors who starred in the Six Million Dollar man and later the Fall Guy), who was the illegitimate son of Victoria's late husband Tom and was also at first not accepted (especially by Nick) but later become a major part of the family,Audra (Linda Evans of Dynasty fame), their head strong sister and and another son Eugene who left after the first season never to return or be spoke of again. They fought everything from being shangiaied to rustlers, sand storms to rabies (Nick got it in one episode by getting bit by a wolf). Even though they would fight each other, like in the first episode when Heath shows up claming to be a Barkley and Nick almost kills him, but in the end they all loved each other and if one was in trouble they stood by him or her. This was a very good western series.
The Big Valley was about Victoria, Audra, Nick, Jarrod, and Heath Barkley. They lived on their own ranch in westren days. They dealed with thieves, love, and loss. I started watching the show with my mom when she wouldn\'t let me turn to something I liked. I actually have come to like it more than Bonanza. I liked how it had that they were a family and that they always stuck together. Now I even watch it reguraly. Its a good a show that everybody can watch and more people should watch it. Big Valley is a great show and I\'m glad they made it.
The best episodes of this series are the first ones. Before the family got too lovey dovey and the episodes became too cut and paste. My favorite character is Heath. He started off an angry young man. He came to the Barcleys with something to proove and a manner that suited what he thought had happened to his mother. My favorite episode is "Boots with My Father's Name" where Victoria travels to Heath's hometown to find out the truth. Once that story line panned out and Heath truely became one of the family the show lost some of its flow for me. There are still great episodes with daring rescues and mysterious strangers, but I think the best times were when the family drama was stirred up again. Brother against brother.... I love it :)
Another classic show and is one of the best westerns to ever appear on television. Even beyond that, it is one of the better shows on television period. The writing was so good that it still holds up to today's standards. The regular cast was outstanding. The guest starts were absolutely fantastic. In this time period of television many famous actors would make appearances on great television shows such as this. Then there were the up and coming actors that would go on to become huge stars and used this as a springboard of sorts. All in all a great show that can still be watched today without missing a beat. I loved Lee Majors in this show. It really gave his carrer a boost.
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