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"The Big Valley" Run of the Cat (1968)

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Someone tried to combine two poor scripts to make one show

4/10
Author: kfo9494 from United States
15 November 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For some reason this episode never did make for an interesting story once it was printed on film. The story may have been nice but the plot did not seem to go together between the cat attack and the gambling for a woman. It seemed like two poor scripts that was combined to try to make one interesting show. I think it failed.

During the first part of the show Nick and Heath are out looking for stolen cattle. Nick comes across what he thinks is a dead calf when a cougar attacks and mauls him. Right after the attack Nick goes into some type of shocking fit that was most unbecoming to the character of Nick Barkley.

The Barkleys then hire a professional hunter named Ed Tanner (Pernell Roberts) to find and kill the cougar. When Nick hears that a professional hunter has been hired he stumbles from his bedridden wounds and demands to travel with the hunter.

While searching for the cougar Nick falls off his horse making for more injuries. Ed takes Nick to a near shack so he can recover. Here is when the story gets off track. While Nick is sleeping Ed plays the owner of the shack for his so-called and mistreated wife. When Ed wins there is still hard feelings. A fight breaks out (with a very obvious stunt double for Pernell Roberts) until Ed is the last standing. But when Ed leaves the shack he again runs into the owner of the shack this time at the end of a rifle barrel. But thanks to a remarkable recovery by Nick, he intervenes and puts a end to the stand off.

Now back to the cougar where Nick again meets face to face with the large cat. Fighting his fears Nick does anything in his power to avoid a repeat of the earlier mauling.

Again this seemed like two different stories from two different scripts. Neither story play well. The only bright spot of the entire episode was the performance by Pernell Roberts. Other than Roberts there is not much remarkable about this episode.

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The big game hunter

9/10
Author: jarrodmcdonald-1 from United States
25 September 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When Nick Barkley is riding the range one day with his brother Heath, he gets viciously attacked by a cougar. The animal runs off, and Nick's injuries are so severe, he requires three days of bed rest. In the meantime, their older brother Jarrod has hired a big game hunter (Pernell Roberts) to chase down the cat and kill it. Of course, not only has Nick been clawed and terrorized, his manhood has taken a blow. He figures he should be the one to go after the cat to prove a point to himself and his family. So he winds up tagging along with Roberts, even though he is still not in the best of health.

While they are tracking the cat, the men get to know each other. It's quite evident these two have a unique view of their own masculinity. But much of it is played humorously, especially when they take refuge at a cabin where a couple lives. The entire business about the woman not really being the man's wife and the way she is won and lost during a poker game is fairly tongue-in-cheek.

Many of the stories that feature Nick are more than a bit amusing, and this one is no exception. Perhaps it's because Peter Breck puts all kinds of extra flourishes into his performance. I wouldn't say he's hamming it up, but he likes to make Nick vibrant and colorful. Earlier in this episode, Nick thinks he sees the cat on a rock while they're sleeping outdoors, but he's obviously hallucinating and the intensity of it is almost funny.

Roberts reacts with little wry asides, and since he knows there's no real danger at that point, we as viewers don't sense danger either. It's all in Nick's head. When they both finally meet up with the cougar and start shooting, there's some ambiguity as to which one of them actually killed the animal. And the story ends with a big laugh.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

One Hardy Man

5/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
3 October 2015

This episode of The Big Valley belongs to Peter Breck. There's a mountain lion in the area who is feasting on Barkley cattle and Peter Breck has one nasty encounter with him. That would shake up just about anyone who survived and even someone as tough as Nick Barkley, but even Peter Breck is hardly 100% physically and mentally he's having understandable issues.

Which is why his brother Richard Long has hired a professional hunter played by Pernell Roberts to get the cat. But Breck claims him for his own and no one is going to stop him.

Roberts and Breck have some interesting rivalry brought out by the dialog between them. In between his days in the office which he considers his hunts Roberts takes his pleasures where he finds them, be it wine, women, or song, especially women.

I do agree with the other reviewer here though, Nick Barkley is a tough man, but no one on planet earth could make the remarkable recovery he does.

For fans of Peter Breck and Pernell Roberts.

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