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Barbara Stanwyck is in full form in this strange episode.
kfo949416 October 2012
Victoria and Audra arrive in a town that is in full celebration. This is a cattle town and cattle-buyers are in town paying top dollar. The two women check into the hotel and with one women in each room. When Victoria awakes from a nap she goes to check on Audra. When she enters her room there is no sign of anyone being in the room. When Victoria asked the hotel clerk about Audra, he states that she arrived alone.

This set off a series of strange events where everyone in town claims to have never seen Audra. Only one older sheriff believes some of what Victoria is telling. All the others are hiding something which leaves Victoria alone trying to find Audra.

Barbara Stanwyck's performance had a wide range of emotions. From weak to insane. I thought she played her part well as the entire story focused on her character, as a mother, losing her child. But it was the ending that caused problems for this episode.

Without giving the poor ending away, from the beginning we all knew that the town actually was holding Audra. But wait till you find out the reason Audra is being held and why Victoria was not told.. After such a good seven-eighths of the show, the ending had much to be desired. But it was a show that was interesting the entire time.
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Her abducted daughter
bkoganbing2 May 2015
If this story from The Big Valley seems familiar to you it is probably because you recall the film So Long At The Fair from the United Kingdom. In that one brother and sister David Tomlinson and Jean Simmons go on holiday to the Paris Exposition and Tomlinson goes missing. Simmons spends the rest of the film looking for her brother and trying to convince everyone else there really is a brother.

When Barbara Stanwyck and Linda Evans stop at a town and Evans goes to her hotel room feeling tired from the trip things seem as they should be. Except that everyone in the town after a spell tells Stanwyck she traveled to their fair metropolis by herself. Stanwyck spends the rest of the episode proving she's not in the Twilight Zone and looking for her abducted daughter.

If you've seen So Long At The Fair you know how this comes out. Of course Linda Evans is back for next week's episode. This is one of Barbara Stanwyck's best acted episodes from The Big Valley. She gets some able assistance from another big screen legend Lew Ayres playing an old and somewhat dissolute sheriff who develops a conscience about what's going on.
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Victoria Barkley Out of Character and Lame Ending
uber_geek16 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This is an episode that only showcases Victoria and Audra--mostly Victoria. They're taking a stage through and stop in a town that's brimming with people for a cattle sale. They check into a hotel. Victoria asks Audra if she's OK; Audra says she's tired from the trip. Victoria says she's going to lay down for an hour nap. When she wakes up--it's already dark and goes to Audra's room only to find it completely empty of her and her belongings. When she checks with the hotel clerk, he claims she checked in alone.

So this becomes a "gaslight" episode. No one in town will admit to seeing Audra. Victoria goes way out of character and becomes hysterical in her search. Angry, I could see, but not hysterical, which just makes her out to be someone as crazy as they want to portray her.

Victoria teams up with the older sheriff who has his doubts, but is willing to help. Pretty soon it's obvious the younger deputy who is the muscle and the cattle baron are up to something.

Victoria is able to convince the sheriff when she realizes she has two stagecoach tickets, not just one. They put pressure on the hotel clerk who runs and gets shot by the bad deputy.

They end up showing Victoria a telegram allegedly from Jarod saying that Audra was home and okay. Of course she knows it's a ruse, but feels the sheriff has been taken in and tells him Audra has run away before and that she will go home. But she stays in town (why she doesn't just go to the next town and wire for her sons is unknown). She finds out were Audra is being held and goes in to rescue her.

I have to give Stanwyck some props for doing her own stunt of crawling though the basement window and dropping to the ground. That was a pretty good drop at her age. She finds Audra who looks drugged and tries to help her out. But instead of hiding with her when the bad guys come downstairs to move Audra out of the basement and waiting until they leave, she tries to get her out and they get caught.

But this is when it gets really stupid. You think Audra's been kidnapped for the cattle Barron or some white slavery market. No--all of this is because Audra had come down with anthrax. It's not contagious to the cattle, but the town is afraid if it gets out no one will buy their cattle. The sheriff ends up killing the cattle Barron and the deputy when they try to kill him and the Barkley women.

What's stupid is they didn't just tell Victoria in the first place and keep her and Victoria (who could also get sick) quarantined--which was routinely done back then when people were contagious or thought to be contagious.
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Barbara's bravura performance
gary-6465910 November 2017
Barbara Stanwyck puts in what they used to call a "bravura performance" when actresses went way over the top. I don't know who passed the scene for inclusion after Audra (Linda Evans) has gone missing and the sheriff calls in the hotel staff for questioning -- It's way too bravura in the way that both Joan Crawford and her friend Barbara Stanwyck played in "grand guignol" b&w horror movies of the 1960s. The normally stalwart, decisive, whip-cracking Victoria who has everyone jumping to her tune turns to mush when the staff lie and say they've never seen Audra at all and that Victoria checked in by herself. In less than 30 seconds of screen time she turns from normal to a hysterical, pleading mess, collapsing in a heap, and then reappears in the next scene looking catatonic. This was so unbelievably out of character I couldn't watch the rest. Lew Ayres is the absent-minded sheriff -- not quite as abstracted as he usually played on sixties TV, though younger than Stanwyck here at about 58.
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