J.R.'s friends, family, and business associates have had enough of his dirty dealings, and many of them vow revenge. Bobby is especially angry as he and Pam leave Southfork.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Krebbs (credit only)
Alan Beam (as Randolph Powell)
Ron Hayes ...
Hank Johnson
Jeff Cooper ...
Christopher Coffey ...


J.R.'s friends, family, and business associates have had enough of his dirty dealings, and many of them vow revenge. Bobby is especially angry as he and Pam leave Southfork.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cliffhanger | See All (1) »







Release Date:

21 March 1980 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title comes from the gospel of Mark and was used by Abraham Lincoln describing a country that is half free and half slave. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." See more »


All throughout this episode, J.R.'s office phone on his desk is a multi line business model, but the call he gets in the office before he is shot, he answers a regular 'home style' phone on his desk. See more »


Sue Ellen Ewing: [talking to Dr. Ellby about J.R] Don't you see? He's gotta be stopped. He's gonna teach my son to be just like he is and it's gonna go on and on and on!
See more »


Referenced in The Americans: Walter Taffet (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

J.R. At His Best (and Worst)
3 April 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"A House Divided" is, of course, known by the more familiar nickname "Who Shot J.R.?" In only its third season (and just its second full one as the first season was just a five-episode mini-series), "Dallas" had cemented itself as a top-rated fixture on American nighttime television. However, it needed just one more thing to get it to number one and that was a season cliffhanger that would keep viewers guessing until the following season debut.

This episode did that. J.R. (Larry Hagman, far removed from Major Nelson on "I Dream of Jeanie") is at his evil best, somehow managing to finally and fully alienate not just the Cartel, but Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), Bobby (Patrick Duffy), Kristin Shepard (Mary Crosby), Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) and Alan Beam (Randolph Powell), all in less than an hour. And he does it convincingly, unlike future rivals like "Dynasty" and "Falcon Crest."

The Cartel: Like idiots, they let their greed get the better of them and buy most of the Asian oil wells. Just about all of them, including Jordan Lee (Don Starr) lose their shirts and one commits suicide. The worst is Vaughn Leland, who loses everything but true to his nature, blames J.R. instead of himself.

Alan Beam: Thinking he can take on J.R., Alan is brought to J.R.'s office by Det. McSween (James L. Brown) and has a charge of rape of a woman to be named later hung over his head.

Kristin: Conspiring with Alan Beam, she tries to get J.R.'s right-hand man in SE Asia to send damaging documents directly to Kristin. Instead, Hank (Ron Hayes) calls J.R. Kristin then gets her own visit from Det. McSween, who has an arrest warrant in hand for prostitution unless Kristin gets out of town. Neither she nor Alan can agree who will kill J.R. first.

Cliff: He finds a document signed by Jock giving Digger and Digger's heirs half the profits from Ewing 23. J.R. acquiesces, then shuts down Ewing 23, so Cliff doesn't get a dime.

Bobby: Already disgusted at how J.R. treated the Cartel, Bobby completely breaks when he learns J.R. shut down Ewing 23. He seeks Jock's support but Jock backs J.R. Jock would never be in business with any Barnes. Bobby knows where he stands in the family. He tells Pam they're leaving Southfork. He's had it with J.R.'s schemes and Jock's lack of support.

Sue Ellen: She tells off J.R. in front of a distraught Miss Ellie. J.R. tells her he's calling the sanitarium in the morning and will personally have her committed.

End result: J.R. hides out in his office with shots of Jim Beam but, also gets two shots of hot lead.

Everyone manages to pull off their parts with aplomb and total believability. Jim Davis is especially effective at expressing equal parts ruthlessness and dismay as Jock. Barbara Bel Geddes as Miss Ellie makes naiveté completely believable.

Though we wonder what's taken Bobby so long to get a clue, when he finally does, it's heartbreaking. The only disappointment is Victoria Principal as Pam. She still seems to be sleepwalking through her role.

The rest of the cast is serviceable. Randolph Powell (Beam), Mary Crosby (Kristin), James L. Brown (McSween), Dennis Patrick (Leland) and Don Starr (Jordan Lee) only need a few words to communicate threats and they pull it off.

The most important part is they create enough reason that, when J.R. is finally shot down in his office late one night, we don't know who could have fired the shots.

And, with that, Lorimar Productions cemented the legends of J.R. and "Dallas."

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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