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The Big Valley

The Big Valley is an American television Western which ran on ABC from 1965 to 1969. It was created by A.I. Bezzerides and Louis F. Edelman.  The producer was Levy-Gardner-Laven.  The stirring theme music was composed by George Duning.  Four Star Television produced the series.

What do you know about The Big Valley?  Try this Alan's TV Westerns Trivia quiz.  You'll find the answers at the bottom of the page.

The Big Valley1) The TV series was based loosely on the Hill Ranch located at the western edge of Calaveras County, not far from Stockton.  The Hill Ranch existed from 1855 until 1931, exceeded 1,000 acres, 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.
Where is the ranch today?

  1. Lake Camanche.

  2. Euphemia

  3. Palms of Glory

2) Victoria Barkley was the widowed matriarch of the wealthy, influential Barkley family living in 19th century Stockton in California's central valley.  Victoria Barkley was the undisputed master of the Barkley ranch. Barkley's husband, Thomas, had been killed several years prior in the universe of the series.
Who played Victoria Barley?

  1. Jean Arthur

  2. Bea Benedarett

  3. Barbara Stanwyck

3) Jarrod Thomas Barkley, the eldest son, was a respected attorney. Richard Long played the role as the more intelligent and calmer of the Barkley sons. While Jarrod preferred the law to settle disputes, he was known to resort to frontier justice and violence when necessary. Jarrod was briefly married in one episode only to see his new wife killed off almost immediately.

  • True or False?

4) Hot-tempered younger son Nick Barkley, who managed the family ranch.  Nick was well-known for his leather vests and large black hat.  He was also notorious for getting into fist fights.  At times, he would fight with his brothers as well.
Who played Nick Barkley?

  1. Peter Breck

  2. Chad Mitchell

  3. Morgan Morgan

5) Sally Field played Audra, Victoria's only daughter.  Much like her mother, Audra was no wall flower and often was involved in daring stunts and did not ride side-saddled.

  • True or False?

6) Heath Barkley was the illegitimate son of Victoria's late husband.  He gradually gained acceptance from the rest of the Barkley clan.  Although Nick initially detested Heath, they eventually became close.  In fact, Nick eventually became closer to Heath than Jarrod.
Who played Heath?

  1. Peter Drury

  2. Lee Majors

  3. Doug McClure

7) Eugene Barkley was the central character in The Big Valley.

  • True or False?

8) Both Long and Breck had been regulars for a short time on another classic Western series.
What was the series?

  1. Cheyenne

  2. The Lawman

  3. Maverick

9) What was the date The Big Valley began its run on ABC?

  1. February 6, 1965

  2. June 1, 1965

  3. September 15, 1965

10) This show marks the debut of new actors Lee Majors and Linda Evans, who both went on to fame on other shows.  Majors, went on to have a successful acting career:  Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, The Six Million Dollar Man and The Fall Guy.  Evans went on to work on the popular 1980s prime-time soap opera. 
What was the series?

  1. Dallas

  2. Dynasty

  3. Empire

The Big Valley (Answers)

1) A. 2) C. 3) True 4) A. 5) False. Linda Evans played Audra. 6) B. 7) False.  The youngest Barkley son was Eugene, a medical student studying at Berkeley, played by Charles Briles.  He was seen sporadically in only five first season episodes and then written out.  Only once was his name ever mentioned again.  8) C. 9) C. 10) B.

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