The Big Valley

1965 | United States

Starring four times Academy Award nominee Barbara Stanwyck as iron willed cattle rancher Victoria Berkley, a rich widow and mother of an illegitimate boy, three sons and a daughter, and set in California's San Joaquin Valley around the 1870's. Eldest son Jarrod (Richard Long who had previously appeared in Maverickand 77 Sunset Strip) was a successful San Franciscan lawyer, who handled the family's legal affairs; Nick Barkley (Peter Breck) ran the ranch whilst youngest son Eugene (Charles Briles) was something of a dreamer. Completing the family was former Disney girl Linda (Dynasty) Evans as daughter Audra and Lee (Six Million Dollar Man) Majors, making his TV debut as Heath. 

The series was created by Lou Edelman who had produced an earlier series for Stanwyck, and developed by A.I. Bezzerides, as an attempt to rival both Bonanza and The Virginian. However, it had a somewhat shorter television life than those other two series and finished after four seasons. The stirring theme tune was written by Lalo Schifrin. 

Published on November 29th, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.