The Big Valley

Season 3 Episode 8

The Disappearance

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Nov 06, 1967 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • The lady vanishes

    I've coined a new phrase - "Stan-tics" - to describe particularly creepy Barbara Stanwyck acting moments. This episode, which steals a plot line from Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes, ensures plenty of Stan-tics.

    Victoria and Audra stop in a rowdy, cattle-transacting town and check into the noisy hotel. They get separate but adjoining rooms, and agree to meet in an hour for dinner. Victoria falls asleep and wakes up to find that Audra is missing. Her clothing is gone without a trace, and no one in the town acknowledges that they even saw her. Victoria is treated like a mental case, and she has to convince a wishy-washy sheriff that she does indeed have a missing daughter, and that corrupt townsfolk are behind the disappearance.

    This episode may have been edited from its original version by INSP; if it wasn't, it didn't make much sense. The version I saw never established what Victoria and Audra were doing in the town, cut a scene in which Audra supposedly danced with a cowboy, and offers a confusing and loopy ending.

    But whatever shortcomings it may have, its most uncomfortable fault is Barbara Stanwyck's Stan-tics. Kicking over a table, screaming at bar patrons and clutching her hair, and then bellowing and flying into walls a good three seconds after taking a punch to the mouth . . . it is no secret I think Stanwyck one of the most overrated actors of all time, but in this episode, she really makes you writhe.