• Poseidon-311 July 2002
    Best Western
    It's hard to believe that a mid-1960's western could be the favorite TV show of a preteen boy in the 1970's but it's true. This was in reruns at 4:00pm daily and I could not WAIT to get home and see it. My sister felt the same way. I know, based on www pages out there, that I am not alone in my love for "The Big Valley", but I have to admit that it's a strange thing to be addicted to. There's something about the camera-ready cast, the quality of the stories and guest stars, the majestic opening theme and background music in the episodes and the overall aura of "The Barkleys" that is just irresistible to me. The series was just one of many, many TV westerns, but what sets this apart is the female slant and the striking use of color. Was there ever a bluer shirt than Victoria Barkley's? Hair more golden than Audra's? Leather more black than Nick's? Watching reruns of "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza", they really look like dusty, brown, more authentic (especially with "Gunsmoke") presentations. "BV" started out that way, but soon progressed into an almost surreal blend of authentic locales mixed with '60's styles and colors. How else to describe Lee Majors' sideburns, the clean lines of the womens' riding gear or the ladies' false eyelashes? But I wouldn't change any of it for the world. The Barkleys' world is a world I'd want to live in. Everything is beautiful and they stand for truth, justice and the American way! They are defenders of right and will suffer to preserve integrity. (Kinda like The Super Friends, but with less wacky costumes...) The blend of types in the show is expert. You have scholarly, level-headed Jarrod, tough, explosive Nick, sensitive, handsome Heath, thoughtful, gloriously beautiful Audra and stern, fair, in charge Victoria (...oh, and then some poor kid who was let go right off the bat and never heard from again. That's the breaks, Eugene!) Together, in any combination, or separate, they are a captivating lot. Certain images burn the memory......Victoria cocking her rifle and ordering outlaws away, her croaking Audra's name when the girl has stumbled into trouble, Heath anytime he removed his shirt, Nick raging through the front door, Audra's black riding hat with chin string sitting atop her mane of the most beautiful hair in Hollywood...... Some of the stories were rehashes of other previous works (including Stanwyck's own movies! See "Jeopardy" some time!), but most of the time they were compelling and always they were filmed with skill and class. This is one of the best TV shows ever made.
  • disney536722 January 2005
    Why The Big Valley means so much to me.
    I began watching The Big Valley back when I was seven years old. That was thirty years ago. Little did I know then that the show would become something that would help me. I went through years of abuse through two different family members. If it weren't for the show The Big Valley I probably would have committed suicide at an early age. Instead of turning to drug or alcohol abuse, or other forms of hurting myself, I focused instead on the cast of this amazing show. The affection and love they had for each other made a big impression on me. I longed to be part of a family that cared for each other like the Barkley's did. They became so real to me at times that it blocked out how bad I was feeling about what I was going through and it gave me something positive to focus on instead of the pain and shame of living with what was happening to me. I am grateful to the entire cast of the show for giving me a way out of a bad situation and focusing on something good, something that wouldn't hurt me or anyone else. They mean a great deal to me and always will. I hope that sometime I will get to see one of them with my own eyes. I don't have to meet them personally. Just to see them will be enough. The show gave me a feeling of peace just to watch. It always made me laugh at times when I really needed it, and thrilled me at other times. The men on the show were the best looking men I have seen on any show (then or since) and I've yet to see a television show that shows a family that cares the way that they did on The Big Valley. It gave me such joy to be able to come home and watch the show. Certain episodes stayed with me from the time I first started watching it. One in particular showed what a caring man Nick was. In the episode "The Prize" where Heath brings home little Joey. The scene where Nick is trying to get to sleep but can't because Joey is teething and very fussy I still remember to this day, even though I haven't seen the episode in over twenty-five years. When he referred to himself as "Uncle Nick" and Audra was watching from the doorway I thought was one of the best scenes in that series. Another episode was "The Iron Box" where Nick and Heath were arrested for cattle theft and put in a chain gang I thought was incredible acting by Peter and Lee. I have hoped for years that someday a Big Valley reunion will be filmed. I know that Barbara and Richard are gone, but I think it would be great to see Peter, Lee and Linda reunited in a Big Valley reunion. This series will always hold a special place to me. It's been a part of me for as long as I can remember and will always remain a big part of me.
  • willowgreen12 February 2003
    Boy Howdy!!
    I am really greatly relieved to read the previous reviews, knowing that I am not alone in being a huge fan of this great series!! There was just something about this show as a whole which really appealed to me - in a big way. I loved all the Barkley characters. Victoria was played to perfection by Stanwyck. The widow Barkley was a curious but convincing mixture of gracious elegance and guts: her Victoria Barkley is practically a cult figure of female characters of the Western genre. Richard Long was genuinely likeable as the level-headed eldest son, Jarrod, who provided a nice balance between the tough, egotistical Nick and the more sensitive half-brother Heath. Linda Evans was astonishingly beautiful as Audra (she alone kept many male baby boomers tuned in!). But there was so much else "right" with this show - artificial though it may have looked to those critical of Stanwyck being "Ben Cartwright in a skirt". The storylines were well-written & original and the shows were well-directed and well-acted. Most every episode was colourful, tasteful, upright & moral - but rarely dull, somehow: there was a larger-than-life quality to the series which appealed to its particular fans: the colour is beautiful to look at, and the score by George Duning is beautiful to hear. The series boasted many interesting guest stars: Julie Harris, Cloris Leachman, Colleen Dewhurst among many others. An embarrassing confession: as a kid, Heath Barkley was my sole hero: I thought Lee Major's playing of the half-breed illegitimate son of Tom Barkley was really inspired. Majors made Heath a really likeable character. Although Majors did many more successful TV roles, it is for his playing of Heath Barkley that I most fondly identify him with to this day.
  • phillindholm16 May 2005
    'What A Show''
    ''The Big Valley''has been my favorite TV show for over thirty years. Although I had seen it from time to time when it was running in prime time, it was'nt until 1973, when it was shown locally, that I really got into it. Barbara Stanwyck was one of those rare golden age actresses who grew more beautiful with the passage of time. As Victoria Barkley, she was playing a woman close to her heart, and mine. Linda Evans, Richard Long, Peter Breck and Lee Majors were perfect support. And those guest stars! to name a few, Anne Baxter,Julie Adams, Coleen Dewhurst, Bradford Dillman,Susan Strasberg,James Whitmore, Julie Harris, Andrew Duggan, John Anderson, Jeanne Cooper, Diane Baker, James Gregory..... I want so much to have the complete series on DVD. I haven't even seen the episodes in their complete and original form, thanks to the butchering they endured for more commercials. In any form, however, this show is the BEST!
  • Nancy E. Barr (nellen)28 August 2002
    Charles Briles - Eugene Barkley
    Having worked at ABC and "Saga of the Big Valley" was one of 'our shows' we coordinated between production companies, advertising agencies & network .. as I recall, Eugene's character was not brought back because the story lines worked well with the characters who were always in it .. Peter, Breck, Linda Evans, Richard Long, Barbara Stanwyck, etc. .. there was so much to do with their characters that 'Eugene' was not needed and perhaps there was a contract problem as well . I do not really remember .. it was so long ago . most enjoyable show .. Usually, when you have many 'stars' in a series .. each is set to do X# out of total shows for the year .. back then we were doing a lot more than 22 shows a year as they do now and took less time to make them as well.. sometimes it comes down to money too .. but it also cost a lot less to film shows back then and 'stars' did not get anywhere near the money they make today ... thus less episodes and more commercials today!
  • tforbes-221 November 2003
    Fascinating series!
    I was not a big fan of Westerns, but this one really stands out. I liked it back in the 1970s, and then again lately with its run on the Hallmark Channel.

    If this show was not an authentic Western, who cares? The show had enough chutzpah and special qualities to make it so likeable. One episode, "Miranda," which aired 15 January 1968, had one scene that made me take notice. The title character, a Mexican revolutionary played by Barbara Luna, asked Napoleon Whiting, who played the African-American servant Silas, if slavery had been outlawed. The exchange between those two characters was a sort of icebreak, because of the stereotypical roles African-Americans had played in the movies and television for so long. At last, this concept is being questioned! This is the same year that "Julia" (1968) debuted.

    The cast is fun. I liked Barbara Stanwyck, and I remember seeing Richard Long in 1970's "Nanny and the Professor." He is definitely missed. Peter Breck is also great, and I also like seeing Lee Majors in this role instead of "The Six Million Dollar Man." It is too bad that the series lasted only four years. It was such a fascinating series!
  • vkmcgee29 January 2005
    What did Eugene do?
    I read all the comments and no one answered the question. I don't remember him doing anything. He just went off to college and never came back. Didn't the actor get drafted? I think someone mentioned that. The Big Valley was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid. For me it was Barbara Stanwick, the strong woman and Lee Majors, the odd one out that brought me back. Heath and I had a lot in common and I wanted to grow up to be all that Barbara's character represented, strong, confident, admired and rich didn't hurt. I think I grew up with the characters on TV for my role models sense I found the adults in my world so sadly lacking. If she were alive today I would like to thank her for the strong woman she portrayed. In that time of of upheaval, when a woman's role was changing she showed me a woman could be strong and smart and still have a family to love and nurture. Thank you for Victoria, Jared, Nick and Heath. Thank you for the beautiful innocent Audra, and thank you for the forgotten Eugene. Thank you for Big Valley
  • bkoganbing27 August 2006
    Barbara Stanwyck's Own Western
    I just read a biography of Barbara Stanwyck and one thing that was made abundantly clear, the woman really liked westerns. She loved doing them from the earliest time in her career right up to her stint with The Big Valley. In fact one of the great disappointments in her life was not doing a film with John Wayne. Who knows why that didn't happen because the two of them were in sync politically.

    But she did a bunch of them with co-stars like Joel McCrea, Ronald Reagan, Walter Huston, Barry Sullivan, Ray Milland, etc. So when it came time to choose a television project, Barbara went west.

    The Big Valley cast her as Victoria Barkley, matriarch of the Barkley ranch with three sons and a daughter to hold the fort against all comers. The pilot of the show introduced her husband's illegitimate son into the household played by young Lee Majors. Her children were Richard Long, Peter Breck, Linda Evans, and Charles Briles.

    Briles got dropped after eight episodes as the youngest, Eugene. They just sent him off to college in the east and he wasn't heard from again. Reading the IMDb notes on him, I find he got himself drafted. All I can say is BUMMER.

    Richard Long as Jarrod was also college educated, an attorney, which was a good plot device allowing the show to get off the ranch and into town. Peter Breck was Nick, who was a tough son of a gun. I met Peter Breck a few years before The Big Valley. His family lived in Rochester, New York across from my grandparents house and he was visiting while starring in another shortlived series Black Saddle. My siblings and cousins got to meet him then. A very gracious and nice man.

    Of course Linda Evans and Lee Majors both had really great careers after the show. Linda as Audra was a sweet and innocent child, not anything like Crystal Carrington. And Lee Majors got to be The Fall Guy and The Six Million Dollar Man after he was Heath Barkley. I would love to have that man's residuals.

    Richard Long did Nanny and the Professor and tragically died right after the run of that show. He was always a player of great class and I enjoyed seeing him in anything he did.

    The Barkleys ran into all manner of people and were constantly helping them out of their various predicaments. They were pretty rich of course, as rich as Bonanza's Cartwrights. But I really think they outdid themselves even more than Ben and his sons. Every episode seemed to end with some financial assistance to help somebody get on their feet. I'm surprised Jarrod didn't run for office with all those potential voters available.

    With Lee Majors, Linda Evans, and Peter Breck still with us and even Charles Briles, I'm not sure why a Big Valley reunion hasn't been attempted. I'd like to see the Barkleys ride the range into the 20th century.
  • res315815 May 2004
    One of my all-time favorites!
    I've been watching Bonanza recently and don't like it as much as The Big Valley. It seems like Bonanza is shot in a small building. The background always seems to be painted on the walls and sound seems to echo. I'm unable to see BV anymore (can't get Hallmark) but I remember most outdoor scenes looking like they were indeed outdoors (probably because they were). I also loved their house and have often wondered where it's located, what it was originally used for and if it's still standing today.

    I liked the cast and the fact that most of them were in most episodes, although Audra seems to be missing from many episodes near the second half of the last season. I don't think Eugene was ever supposed to be part of the regular cast since he never appeared in the opening theme. Not sure why they had him in there to begin with.

    I'd love to find this on VHS or DVD but have never seen it out there anyplace.
  • lisvictoria14 January 2003
    Amazingly similar feelings
    After reading the comments of others who love The Big Valley, I feel less unusual for enjoying the old show so much. It totally captured my interest when I was a teenager, and I miss watching it, since I cannot locate it. It should have run longer, but I can understand the actors were afraid of typecasting, or had other plans. I love everything about the show, from the opening music, to the stars, to the clothes, and I really loved that house, especially the staircase. I dream of a house like that one. I was pleased to have Linda Evans go on to Dynasty, and to see Lee Majors as The Bionic Man. I hoped to see more of Peter Breck and the others.
  • powers_lily4 October 2007
    I'm just a kid and i'm in love with this show!
    i'm really a 10 year old girl and i absolutely love that show!I'v always wanted to look like Audra.my mom and watch the big valley all the time on encore westerns.we love watching it.we always try to think that Audra and heath really are not related so they can be together.we have the first season on DVD,and we are probably gonna get the rest of it on DVD too.i'm always searching for episodes where there are a lot of Audra/heath moments.my mom and i just watched the Caesar's wife episode.it was pretty good.and i just saw some recent pictures of Linda Evans and Lee Majors,and i felt depressed,but i always think of them in the 60's.

    Well thats all i have to write,now i think i'm gonna go watch an episode on DVD.bye!
  • mhrabovsky1-112 March 2006
    The Big Valley
    What a great western....know what I missed the most when I was drafted and sent to Vietnam in the summer of 1966, my family of course and my fiancé, but knowing I would not get to see "The Big Valley" for a whole year until I got back!! Great stories and watching the individual personalities of the Barkley's mesh together through all kinds of crises...Jarrod the cool, suave lawyer who used a lot of wisdom, Nick the brawler, ranch boss and tough guy, Heath the level headed version of Nick who used a little common sense when Nick wanted to use his fists, Audra, oh wow, what teenage boy was not in love with her on the show and the classy Barbara Stanwyck, the matriarch and cool head of the Barkley clan who used her wisdom and extraordinary ability to reason out any crisis. What kind of color film did they use in the series? I have been overjoyed to watch the BV on the western channel since it came back on in December 05 and every episode is crystal clear with brilliant color. Every episode has a lot of current and former Hollywood stars like Coleen Dewhurst, Richard Dreyfuss, Adam West, Julie Adams, James Gregory, William Shatner and many others.....the stories were well written and kept the viewers interest throughout the entire episode. Only thing I could not understand is how so many people came walking through the door of the front of the Barkley home without knocking! Also a couple episodes when they entered the side door and just showed up in the house!! Audra always seemed to get smitten with a lot of handsome men on the show who dumped her in the end...or their relationship had too many holes in it to last. Loved the episode when she loved Bradford Dillman and fell off a cliff and was hanging onto the proverbial tree stuck in the side of the mountain! Oh yes, he threw her a rope and all ended well, ha-ha!! Would love to see a BV reunion with Lee Majors, Linda Evans and Peter Breck reprising their roles.
  • ladybug2k6123 February 2006
    Big Valley inspires me still
    I as well have such a nostalgic love for "The Big Valley". Making sure homework was done so I could watch the 4:00 reruns. I also longed to identify with a loving, close-knit family. A family in the 1800's, wealthy, 3 strong protective " brother's" ( as I was always prone to dreaming about having!} Yes, I was very envious of Audra and took to writing stories with myself as the young female Barkley! I grew up with a love of writing, a strong sense of family unity and a desire for a household full of boys! While I now, at the age off 44, have a household full of GIRLS, I do have a successful journalism career and a very close-knit family unit!! Thanks Big Valley!!
  • cherwhit23 April 2008
    The Big Valley on Encore Westerns Channel
    I loved TBV as child. We got our first color TV right before it premiered and I was astounded by the vibrant colors that were everywhere.

    Now that Encore Westerns shows the episodes uncut and without commercials, it is even better. An an adult now, I can see what a high quality production it is and how hard the cast and crew must have worked to bring it to the viewing audience.

    I have always enjoyed Barbara Stanwyck, especially in The Violent Men. It was a western with Glenn Ford and Edward G. Robinson. She played the matriarch of a ranch, but the complete opposite of Victoria Barkley.
  • edwagreen6 December 2007
    The Barkleys of the West and Not Broadway ****
    Barbara Stanwyck on television?

    After a lengthy memorable film career, Ms. Stanwyck embarked on a television series, a western, known as "The Big Valley."

    As matriarch Victoria Barkley, Stanwyck etched still another unforgettable character.

    With a wonderful supporting cast who made up her "children," each week brought a new exciting episode with a great host of guest stars.

    There were times that Stanwyck looked her age, if not older, but her acting was her usual great self.

    Another rousing theme back this show.
  • Brian Washington28 October 2007
    ABC'S Bonanza
    When I first began looking at this show seriously, I couldn't help but compare it to "Bonanza", which was far more superior and successful. This is due to the fact that it deals with a powerful family in the Old West as they deal with the various people that cross their paths whether its bank robbers, Indians, desperadoes, Mexican revolutionaries or just the average person. Of course, the big differences are that the lead was not a man, but a woman in the character of Victoria Barkley, played by the incomparable Barbara Stanwyck and the fact that one of her children is a daughter named Audra, played by a young Linda Evans. However, this show is still one of the better character driven western series and has become a classic in its own right.
  • Janet Harbison12 September 2007
    The Big Valley
    This was a wonderful show that had an all star cast. The writing and directing were also well done and that made the show a western classic. Barbara Stanwyck was perfect as the head of the Barkley family. She was petite but she could be mean when she had to be. Richard Long was her oldest son Jarrod. He was an attorney as well as being more citified. You could see that he didn't care that much for the day to day workings of the ranch. Peter Breck was her younger son Nick. He could brawl with the best of them. He and Jarrod could argue and never stop but if something happened to one of them the other one knew it. Lee Majors was Tom's son. He made the show interesting in exploring unfaithfulness in a television show. Linda Evans was her daughter Audra. She didn't seem to have very good luck with men. Charles Briles was the baby Eugene. He only appeared in a very few episodes and was eventually dropped. I wish he had been kept. He could have been a vital part of the family. The show was a super western and I hope that the remaining seasons of it are released on DVD.
  • WilliamJDeal6 October 2006
    The Big Valley was a major part of my life!
    My husband recently gave me the 1st season on DVD for my 50th birthday present. What a surprise and a treasure! I grew up on a small farm in Pennsylvania and The Big Valley came into my life around my 9th birthday. It never left me! I always loved horses but loving the show opened up a wholesome, healthy world of pretend and play. Our big old barn was transformed (in my mind) into the gorgeous Barkley home, and I usually played Nick on Coco. When I look back to how much time I spent playing with my horses, and bringing my friends and siblings into my Barkley world, I'm so thankful. I remember creating new story lines and acting them out. I often recruited other kids to be the rest of the Barkleys, and also Fred the Sheriff, Silas, and other neighbors. Those who wouldn't ride were usually Audra and Victoria. When some kids went on to become interested in not-so-safe ventures, I began writing screenplays and stories, some of which I used as reports for English Comp. class in High School. I have so many good memories of this wonderful show. I believe my own kids watch it out of kindness to me, but I know the underlying moral issues of the stories may take root in their minds too and someday they will appreciate it too. How thankful I am to everyone responsible for bringing this wonderful piece of my personal history to life, and a special thanks to Victoria, Jarod, Nick, Heath, and Audra. And thank you to so many folks, just like me, who take the time to write such positive messages about such wonderful entertainment, and to share your memories too.
  • bubba2081 May 2003
    Still on today.
    I do not know if you can get it but "The Big Valley" is still being shown daily on the Hallmark Channel. I believe it's noon 'til 1 pm Eastern (9 am til 10 am Pacific). I do not know if it is on other times or not.

    It's still one of my all time favorite TV series. I'm glad to know I'm not alone.
  • Ramar26 November 1998
    What Unspeakable Act Did Eugene Do?
    The Barkley family led by Victoria were a close loving family sons Jarrod the well respected lawyer, Nick who ran their large ranch and daughter Audra. So understanding was Victoria that she let her late husband's son , Heath, from an illegitimate affair into the family as full son. In the first season son Eugene was seen as a college student who would be home for a few shows, but didn't return for second season. What did he do that was so terrible? Fail a course? Embezzle faternity funds?
  • vsdennis23 August 2005
    I loved this show
    I really loved The Big Valley when I was growing up. I admired Victoria Barkley's spunk and strength, and over the years I had crushes on each of the Barkley brothers, finally settling on Nick (Peter Breck). Some of the plot lines were formulaic and laughable - you always knew that anyone that any of the "kids" fell in love with was either going to die tragically or end up being a con artist.

    Probably the best ever episode, in my opinion, was the one where Victoria was declared insane and placed in an asylum - getting her out of the way so that some nefarious plot line could advance. Barbara Stanwyck did an excellent job of playing a frantic, hysterical woman who is sane - but who is so frantic and hysterical that even someone well-intended might wonder about her sanity.

    Lee Majors as Heath Barkley really grew in the role - starting out as the bastard son of Victoria's deceased husband, but becoming an accepted member of the Barkley clan.

    But Peter Breck was the best of the actors portraying Victoria's younger son, Nick. Linda Evans as Audra was colossally annoying and whiny, and a perennial victim. Although Richard Long was OK as Jarrod, I always felt like someone else with a little more charisma might have done a lot more with that role.
  • big-rich-122 April 2005
    People I Just Love Big Valley
    I Watch It Every Saturday At 5&6 O'Clock On The Hallmark Channel I Sort Of Had A Crush On Heath When I Was Younger I'm Sure A Lot Of Young Girls Did. But My All time Favorite Part Of The Shows Was When Nick Showed Love Toward Heath. Like On The Episode Called "The Night Of The Wolf" Where Nick Got Bitten By A Rapid Wolf And When Heath Went To Find him Nick Gave Him A Big Hug. But I Also Loved The Way Heath Was So Sensitive If Someone Said The Tinyest Wrong Thing To Him He Would Be All Hurt Inside But Nick Was Always There To Hold Him And Make It Better. Although I Only Seem To Recall Hearing Nick Tell Heath That He Loved Him Once. But I Remember That It Was The Most adorable Thing You Ever Wanted To See. Because They Ended Up Cuddling In Heath's Room. Well I Really Have Nothing More To Say About Big Valley Except That It's A Really Great Show And Will Continue To Watch It As Long As They Keep Airing It

    Well So Long Big Valley Fans. From Anonymous in Amarillo TX.
  • louiepatti3 February 2006
    A Step Forward In The 60's Western Genre
    Warning: Spoilers
    Are there spoilers in here? Perhaps, I guess, though I'll try to keep them small. . . . With the decade of the sixties awash in westerns of virtually every stripe, it was easy to find the good, the bad and the ugly, as well as the overrated ones like Gunsmoke and Bonanza/Ponderosa. This entry into the genre was more daring and original than most. Set in the era immediately following the American Civil War, it featured a matriarch instead of a patriarch and a lead character that was illegitimate, which back when this show aired was a big deal. The Big Valley started out with so much promise; it was well-cast, well-acted and well-directed. Though it lacked the authenticity of the later series The High Chaparral, this show had heart.

    Barbara Stanwyck lit up the screen as Victoria Barkley, the clan's motherly leader. She was a starchy actress wearing her role like a second skin and was convincing as a woman who could be both feminine and tough as nails. Eldest son Jarrod, the calm and suave lawyer, was wonderfully portrayed by Richard Long. The thankless role of hotheaded middle son Nick went to Peter Breck, who handled it well and made the flawed character likable. The third and most sensitive son, the bastard Heath, was acted by the normally wooden Lee Majors, who actually managed to convey some real feelings. Beautiful and high-strung daughter Audra was played perfectly by young and lovely Linda Evans. (The actor playing the youngest son Eugene vanished after only one season---turns out he was drafted, too bad.) With a great cast, good music(especially the theme song), solid direction and production, all that remained to keep The Big Valley great was the writing. At first fine, the scripts began to decline in quality, becoming too formulaic. Victoria soon became more of a prop than a person, what with her constantly being kidnapped or vanishing somehow. Audra's spirited character was watered down to wimpish, as if a girl couldn't be both pretty and strong. Nick and Heath's initial friction wore down too fast and too soon. It would've been nice to see a more gradual growth in their relationship from strained to brotherly, since their early clashes provided the conflict needed for good drama. Jarrod remained generally unchanged and didn't seem to grow much as a character. The youngest boy Eugene left without much fanfare, regret or explanation, which was a pity, because he was good for the show and perhaps deserved a better send-off.

    The stories' decline was gradual and there were some good episodes that dealt with racial issues, mental illness, the trauma and horror of war, and day-to-day problems of living in the only partly settled American West. Many fine guest stars abounded, such as Barabra Luna, Marty Allen and Martin Landau, though the regular cast was strong enough to carry the show without much outside help. Unfortunately, the writing's weakness was The Big Valley's Achilles' heel. Even when handled by such a solidly professional cast, the scripts were becoming increasingly lame and the great feeling of angst that had been part of the original show evaporated. Still, decline aside, this program remains one of my favorite Westerns in rerun land. Though not as strongly crafted or consistently good as its later cousin The High Chaparral, The Big Valley was superior to Bonanza/Ponderosa and had far more energy than that venerable dinosaur Gunsmoke. On a scale of one to ten, I'd give this show a seven.
  • cqui20041 August 2010
    update on the Character Nick!
    Peter Breck has recently become very ill. His wife wrote a complete synopsis on his health in his web site. Please read it and go to the bottom of the home page. Write to him and tell him how much you enjoyed the adventure. He can still read and his wife prints out his emails for him to read. They could both use the love right now! They live in Vancouver British Colombia. They have stood together through thick and thin and really appreciate his fans. All you have to do is Google Peter Breck and you find his web site, which I only found in 2009 through Wikipedia. Even if you don't read the site first just tell him why you enjoyed his character, Nick.
  • keelhaul-8085613 September 2017
    Awesome, but why did Linda ruin her good looks with plastic surgery?
    Warning: Spoilers
    This show was a good western, and perhaps more serious, if not as fun, as Bonanza and other shows.

    Nick was always taking on 30 people in a bar fight, and ready to rumble in every situation, even stupid ones.

    Heath was the bastard son who had actually had to earn his keep and find his place in the world. The lady's man, yet rugged, with a hidden past.

    Jared was the stuffy lawyer, available for whatever trials and tribulations the family faced. He always looked like he had been in a tanning bed for 50 hrs. and could almost match George Hamilton.

    Audra was a stunning blonde beauty. Why the hell did she get plastic surgery? She was ruined after that. Really made me sick to see her looks wasted like this.

    Victoria was still a good-looking woman, and a Hollywood royalty actress, who played her part well enough.

    I think Eugene, the little brother, actually left the show to serve in Vietnam or something, so we never developed him much.

    Good show overall, and never got as ridiculous and long-winded as some of its counterparts.
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