The Big Valley
(left to right: Jarrod, Heath, Audra,
Victoria and Nick)
Text and photos courtesy of Sierra
The Big Valley portrayed the adventures of the Barkleys, a wealthy ranch family in California's Central Valley in the 1870s. The Barkley holdings, all 30,000 acres, included mines, vineyards, orchards, cattle, and property in Mexico. "The Big Valley" was the first and only Western TV series built around a strong female character. Another important plot device in the series was the presence of Heath, the illegitimate son of the dead patriarch Tom Barkley. His life experiences, which contrasted so sharply from the other family members, were the source of many story lines. The series debuted on ABC on September 22, 1965, with a total of 112 episodes; it was cancelled in 1969 from the producer's choice, not because of ratings.
Barbara Stanwyck - Victoria Barkley, widow of Tom, and who was nobody's fool.
Napoleon Whiting - Silas - The Barkleys hard-working butler
(where were those other servants???)
Charles Briles - Eugene Barkley - youngest, college-aged son who appeared in the first half year of the series, then disappeared. (We now know that the draft board had something to do with this. Remember it was 1965!)
Douglas Kennedy - Sheriff Fred Madden - appeared frequently during the last two years.
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