Home Television Drama Big Valley, The

Big Valley, The

1 9 6 5 – 1 9 6 9 (USA)
112 x 50 minute episodes

Rich but hard-headed widow Victoria Barkley (Barbara Stanwyck) ran a huge 30,000-acre ranch in California’s San Joaquin Valley in the 1870’s, with the help of her four sons (a bashful youngest son, Eugene, was seen in early episodes) and her daughter.

Eldest son Jarrod (Richard Long) was a successful San Franciscan lawyer, who handled the family’s legal affairs, and Nick Barkley (Peter Breck) ran the ranch.


Heath (Lee Majors) was the illegitimate son of Victoria’s late husband Tom and an Indian squaw and threatened to leave the family home regularly. Ultimately iron-willed Victoria would calm him down by reassuring him that he was indeed a Barkley, and then he’d stay.

Heath was Majors’ first acting job after only six weeks of drama school.

Completing the family was Linda Evans (in her pre-Dynasty days) as Victoria’s beautiful but impetuous daughter Audra. Napoleon Whiting played Silas, the Barkley’s loyal black retainer.


The Barkley’s were a feisty group who were determined to hold on to their sprawling spread of land no matter what the cost. They constantly battled crooked bankers, murderers, outlaws, and even Mexican revolutionaries to hold on to what was theirs.

The Big Valley was created as an attempt to rival both Bonanza and The Virginian but unfortunately only lasted four seasons.

Victoria Barkley 
Barbara Stanwyck
Jarrod Barkley

Richard Long
Nick Barkley

Peter Breck
Heath Barkley

Lee Majors
Audra Barkley

Linda Evans

Napoleon Whiting
Sheriff Fred Madden

Douglas Kennedy
Eugene Barkley

Charles Briles