The Big Valley

Season 1 Episode 22

The Death Merchant

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Feb 23, 1966 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
22 votes
  • A man shoots at Audra after she knits him the wrong colored muff

    This a-typical, A+ episode of The Big Valley starts out with scenes of miles of orange groves, and a bumbling, seemingly likable old-timer riding along them on his donkey. Why the sudden citrusy setting, and who's this goofy interloper? These questions draw the viewer in, and set the stage for an hour of grim drama juxtaposed with the humorous ways the stranger has about him, including his dialogues with his mule.

    The history recounted by Heath (by the way, how many wars, misadventures, mining towns, and sweethearts has this young man seen in his young life?) of his disdain for Random is creepy, as is the way that Random coldly chooses his ammunition (buckshot is up in price; fill 'em up with gravel instead!). Sour-faced Royal Dano reprises his western stereotype well as the slightly wacko, uber-religious neighbor who's frustrating the Barkleys' peaceful lifestyle. But James Whitmore positively steals the show in the dichotomy of his role as a comical and affable, yet truly heartless and bloodthirsty killer.

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