Victoria Barkley heads her adult brood on the Barkley Ranch in California's San Joaquin Valley, near Stockton, in the 1870s. Heath is the illegitimate son of Victoria's husband, Tom (who is dead at the time of the series). Bank robbers, horse thieves, revolutionaries, and land grabbers keep the Barkleys hopping. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
With the February 6, 2012 death of Peter Breck (Nick Barkley), there are only two regular or recurring cast members with more than twenty appearances on the show, Lee Majors (Heath) and Linda Evans (Audra Barkley), plus Charles Briles (Eugene, only eight appearances during the first season) still living. See more »
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.
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