The Big Valley

Season 1 Episode 5

The Odyssey of Jubal Tanner

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Oct 13, 1965 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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  • An old man learns that he's not much of a carpenter when angry neighbors come callin'

    Where to begin with this unfortunate episode. It starts out alright - Jubal is a likable, tough old crow and the scenery of his new property is positively breathtaking (but would anyone really pay five thousand dollars for acreage back in the 1870's? Seems a bit steep. Oh, well, California real estate, I guess). Jubal's land just happens to be exactly the site where the entire valley wants to place a dam, and Jubal won't budge because his wife and his heart are both embedded in the property.

    Jarrod has some decent scenes wrestling with the moral dilemma that surrounds him and his family, and I just love the way Nick comes around from being anti-Jubal to being ready to knock the lights out of anyone who shows him disrespect.

    But that's where the good points of this episode end.

    It's another property dispute and another lynch mob ready to take the land by force and another time that the region collectively hates the Barkley's. The fact that sly old Jubal lived that long only to be broadsided by a gunman and killed off in the last scene is annoying - really, did they have to do that?

    But it's the last scene that makes a mockery of the whole episode. Jubal's fresh in his grave, and Jarrod tells his orphaned grandson, smiling, that the dam will go on as planned and could they name it after his grandfather?! "Um, yeah - he just got murdered for something he stood up to, so now that he's gone and it's happening, let's insult his memory further by naming it after him!" Haha, and then Victoria makes a touching speech to said young'un about not being bitter, he changes his mind and says they can call it Jubal Dam, or Damn Jubal, or what have you. Jarrod gives him a bank draft and a train ticket, and they all go merrily off to the train station. Moral of the story: everyone is happy when an old codger gets knocked off for standing in the way of progress.

  • An old friend returns to claim the land that was promised to him by Tom years ago.He's not willing to give it up when the town wants the land to flood for a dam. The Barkleys must decide whether the rights of one are more important than the good of many.

    I absolutely hated this episode. The premise was touching and I liked watching the family conflict while they all tried to come to an agreement about which side they were on. It was also interesting to have the town for once against the Barkleys instead of worshipping them. However, I was totally disgusted when the old man was killed by the mob mentality of the town, THEN, the town got the dam anyway! It was like: Oh well, I guess he's dead anyway, so let's go on and flood his land, which is what we were helping him fight against! And then, what was with that kid? His grandfather was killed and he's just happy the dam is going to be named after his grandpa? No grief, just "Whoopee! the town that murdered grandpa's gonna honor him by naming the dam he was fighting against after him!"

    Horrible, horrible, horrible.
  • An old friend of Victoria and Tom's

    The concept for this episode is interesting. We get some backstory on Victoria and Tom's early days in the valley. Of course, Jubal's life and struggles mean more to Victoria than to her sons. The use of the grandson character shows the importance of preserving a legacy for the next generation. Probably what I dislike is that the focus seems too much on a guest character than on the Barkleys. Also, I think there are some implausible plot points and the ending is a bit tidy. But the episode does raise some interesting questions about the nature of progress and it is fairly entertaining.