The Big Valley

Season 1 Episode 13

The Guilt of Matt Bentell

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Dec 08, 1965 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
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  • An episode with great human depth

    Next, Heath will reveal that he was part of the Pony Express.

    In addition to all of Heath's other past exploits, we find out that he was in a Civil War prison camp for seven months. While the timing and credibility of this are weak points, the rest of the episode is surprisingly well done. When the Barkley's hire a man as foreman of a major project who was notorious for commanding a prison camp, the decision causes an uproar, both within the family and within the greater Stockton region.

    John Anderson is stellar as the former prison warden, haunted by his past and denied a present due to the reputation that follows him everywhere. His no-nonsense approach to a task, as well as the strained understanding between him and a vengeful Heath, play out well against the beautiful backdrop of the forest and the streams of The Big Valley. Equally compelling is his side of the story, told to Heath by his wife, the convincing Martine Bartlett.

    Propelling the drama and tension is the smirking Anthony Zerbe, who shares a history with Bartlett and Heath. And, best of all *SPOILER*, the guest star isn't killed off in the final scene, but is around to sip brandy in the Barkley's parlor.