(clockwise from upper left:) Richard Long as Jarrod; the television series' original logo; Linda Evans as Audra; Lee Majors as Heath; Barbara Stanwyck as Victoria; and Peter Breck as Nick.

Welcome to the Barkley Ranch WikiEdit

Facts and trivia about The Big Valley, originally an American television series in the 1960's, which followed the lives of the Barkley family of late nineteenth-century Stockton, California. This Wiki is meant to include information about the series and the movie it inspired.

The Big ValleyEdit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Big Valley is an American television Western which ran on ABC from September 15, 1965, to May 19, 1969, which starred Barbara Stanwyck, as a California widowed mother. It was created by A.I. Bezzerides and Louis F. Edelman. The producer was Levy-Gardner-Laven. The series depicts the lives of the Barkley family as they lived in the late 1870's.

Historical backgroundEdit

The TV series was based loosely on the Hill Ranch located at the western edge of Calaveras County, not far from Stockton (one episode places the Barkley Ranch a few hours' ride from town while another has Jarrod riding past a Calaveras County sign on his way to the TV series' ranch). The Hill Ranch existed from 1855 until 1931, exceeded 1,000 acres (4.0 km2), and had the Mokelumne River running through it. Lawson Hill ran the ranch until he was murdered in 1861. His wife Euphemia (aka "Auntie Hill") then became the matriarch. During their marriage they had four children, one daughter and three sons. Today, the location of the ranch is covered by the waters of Lake Camanche. A California state historical marker standing at Camanche South Shore Park mentions the historic ranch. The set used to film the exterior of the Barkley Mansion stood on the backlot of Republic Studios from 1947 until 1975. Although the exterior had been used in other productions, it was not (contrary to popular rumor) the set used for Tara in Gone With the Wind.

[edit] Regular Characters of the TV SeriesEdit

  • Victoria Barkley, portrayed by Barbara Stanwyck, was the widow of the wealthy, influential Barkley family living in 19th century Stockton in California's Central Valley (specifically the San Joaquin Valley,) who was also the main character of the series. Victoria Barkley was the undisputed master of the Barkley ranch. In fact, Stanwyck's refusal to portray Barkley as fragile was controversial at the time. Barkley's husband, Thomas, had been killed six years prior in the universe of the series. Victoria Barkley loved and was proud of all her children, including her late husband's illegitimate son, Heath, who she would refer to as "my son." Stanwyck appeared in the most episodes for a total of 103 of the 112 episodes.
  • Jarrod Barkley, the eldest son, was a respected attorney. Richard Long played the role of the educated, refined and calmer of the Barkley sons who handled all of the family's legal and business affairs. While Jarrod preferred the law to settle disputes, he was known to resort to frontier justice and violence when necessary. He was briefly married in one episode (Episode 3-17 Days of Wrath.) Long appeared in 96 of the 112 episodes.
  • Hot-tempered brawling second son Nick Barkley, who managed the family ranch, was portrayed by Peter Breck. Nick's personality was much less restrained than Jarrod's, and--at the start of the series--he was the only son who actively ran the family ranch full-time. Nick was engaged to be married in one episode (Episode 1-17 By Fires Unseen.) Breck appeared in 101 of the 112 episodes.
  • Heath Barkley was the illegitimate son of Victoria's late husband, and he literally had to fight his way into the Barkley home (Episode 1-1 Palms of Glory.) Lee Majors portrayed even-tempered but rough and tumble Heath, whose previous years away from the Barkley family gave him a lot of various experiences to draw on once he was living on the ranch as an accepted member of the family. Majors appeared in 95 of the 112 episodes.
  • Linda Evans played beautiful Audra, Victoria's only daughter. Audra was a tad self-absorbed, bold, and forward. Far from demure, she performed daring stunts and rode astride, like her brothers. During the show's final two seasons, Evans' appearances were reduced because she wanted to spend more time with her (then) husband, John Derek.
  • The youngest Barkley son was Eugene, played by Charles Briles. Although he was as studious and contemplative as Jarrod, Gene was not above letting his own emotions sway him, much like his brother Nick. Briles only appeared in the first season of the series, in a total of eight episodes.
  • The Barkley family's majordomo Silas was portrayed by Napoleon Whiting during all four seasons of the series.
  • James Gavin played the Sheriff (alternately called "Steve" and "Fred") from 1966 to 1967; Douglas Kennedy appeared as Sheriff Fred Madden from 1967 to 1969.
  • Mike de Anda played Ciego, the stablemaster/head groom for the Barkley ranch. (Add the number of episodes & seasons the character appeared in.)

Production notesEdit

While The Big Valley is set primarily in and near the city of Stockton, the filming of the series took place in Southern California.

[edit] CrewEdit

The theme music was composed by George Duning. Paul Henreid, of Casablanca fame, directed a number of episodes. Four Star Television produced the series.

Wilfred M. Cline, A.S.C., Technicolor Associate Cinematographer on Gone with the Wind (1939), was director of photography of several Big Valley episodes, together with Chas E. Burke, A.S.C.

[edit] AdaptationsEdit

[edit] Comic bookEdit

Dell Comics published a short-lived comic book for six issues in 1966-69. (the last issue reprinted the first, and came out two years after issue #5). All issues had photo covers.

[edit] FilmEdit

Film columnist Patrick Goldstein reported in the Los Angeles Times in July 2009 that filmmakers Daniel Adams and #redirect Kate Edelman Johnson are producing a feature film version of The Big Valley with production to begin in April 2010 in New Mexico and Michigan.[1] The film seems to have been shelved as of 2012.

[edit] ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The Remake Watch: 'Big Valley' edition". Los Angeles Times. 2009-07-15. Retrieved 2009-07-26.

[edit] External linksEdit

Latest activityEdit

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