|The Big Valley
The western series
THE BIG VALLEY/ABC/1965-69 starred Barbara Stanwyck as Victoria Barkley, the widowed matriarch of
the Barkley family who lived on the
Barkley ranch in the San Joaquin
Valley of the 1870s.
Located about four miles outside Stockton, California, the
Barkley ranch consists of 30,000 acres which includes horses, cattle, mining
operations, vineyards & orange groves.
Victoria Barkley was married for 25 years to Tom Barkley, who
died at the hands of railroad men who wanted to illegally procure
his land. A statue dedicated to his memory was built in town to
remind the citizens of his contributions to the community. To travel
about, Victoria uses a buggy or rides a horse name Misty Girl.
Audra, Nick, Victoria, Eugene, Jarrod, Heath Barkley
Residents on the Barkley ranch included:
- Richard Long as Jarrod Barkley, the first born and a lawyer
with offices in Stockton and San Francisco
- Peter Breck as Nick Barkley, the second born and the ranch foreman.
Nick is an expert horseman. He rides a cutting horse named Coco.
- Lee Majors as Heath Barkley,
an illegitimate half-son of Victoria's husband and ranch hand. Nick's father Tom
Barkley had an affair with Leah Simmons who nursed him back to
health after a vicious attack by two thugs in the town of
Strawberry. When Leah died, Heath learned about his father and
sought out Tom's family and his birthright.. For luck, Heath
carries a rattlesnake rattler.
- Charles Briles as Eugene Barkley, a shy 19-year-old and
youngest of the family, who later goes off to college.
- Linda Evans as Audra Barkley, the beautiful daughter with a
bad habit of falling for men with dubious backgrounds.
- Napoleon Whiting as Silas, the family's loyal black butler
The Barkley's wealth and status in the community afforded them the luxury of a pleasant existence but occasionally the dirt
of the outside world visited their pristine environment, including murderers, bank robbers, conmen, revolutionaries,
schemers, crazy drifters, and kidnappers. But such challenges were always overcome by the
strong-will and stamina of the Barkley clan.
Obituaries: Barbara Stanwyck - 01/20/1990; Richard
Long - 12/21/1974; Napoleon Whiting -10/22/1984
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