On her way back to Dodge after a short trip, Kitty shares a stagecoach ride with Blaine Copperton, a gentlemanly but uncertain man who seems to be far less mature than his age. Suddenly, ... See full summary »



(teleplay), (teleplay) | 2 more credits »


Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Doc (credit only)
Blaine Copperton
Jessie Copperton
David McLean ...
Nora Marlowe ...
Ma Dagget
Lisa Gerritsen ...
Tracey Copperton
Conlan Carter ...
Logan Dagget
Charles Kuenstle ...
Elan Dagget
Richard O'Brien ...
Joshua Bryant ...
Steve Raines ...
Driver #1
James Nusser ...


On her way back to Dodge after a short trip, Kitty shares a stagecoach ride with Blaine Copperton, a gentlemanly but uncertain man who seems to be far less mature than his age. Suddenly, two armed bandits attack the stage, killing the driver and seriously wounding Copperton. Copperton manages to grab a shotgun and kill the bandits, but then collapses unconscious. Kitty drives the stage to Copperton's ranch, where she finds a family of squatters living in a shack. The squatters, who have a long-running feud with the powerful Copperton family, refuse to give any help. When Kitty gets to the ranch headquarters and finds Copperton's mother, she finds a powerful matriarch who treats her son like a child, her granddaughter (copperton's daughter) as barely legitimate and everyone else like so many servants. The mother soon finds out about the squatters. She goes to their shack, burns it to the ground, and shoots a squatter in the leg. Kitty calls for help before things get way out of hand, ... Written by Peter Harris

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Release Date:

6 January 1969 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Kitty meets the //real// Barkleys
15 September 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If you have time, please read my vicious, wholly unwarranted attack on the most-wonderful TV series ever -- past, present, and future -- "Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman". Its title is "Science fiction in reverse".

As a liberal, I deeply resent the way "historical" TV series attempt to whitewash the past. In "Bonanza" and "The Big Valley" (two of the most-idiotic examples), the Cartwrights and Barkleys are portrayed as good, really good, even sickeningly good, people. Sure, they might occasionally turn a sharp business deal, but they treat their employees * decently and pay them fair wages. They are quick to defend minorities (including r******s, c****s, k***s, and n*****s), never hesitating to help the downtrodden -- why, each family employs a person from one of these groups!

"Never is heard a discouraging word" about these praiseworthy families who settled the West and made it the golden land it became. Oh, there's the occasional "bad person", but the Cartwrights and Barkleys quickly send him/her to jail -- or an early grave.

What's conveniently overlooked is that the Cartwrights and Barkleys //were// the bad people. If anyone raped and pillaged the countryside and/or oppressed the downtrodden, it was the wealthy. How do you think they got their wealth? Mailing in boxtops? **

"Twisted Heritage" //appears// to be a conscious attempt to give "The Big Valley" the cow-pie in the face it so richly deserves. Jessie Copperton (note her implicitly male first name) rules the family with an iron hand, unintentionally "emasculating" her son Blaine and alienating his daughter Tracey.

The Daggets are one of the thorns in the Coppertons' metaphorical side. After having found they could extract a pitiful living from the tailings of an abandoned mine (enough for an occasional jug of corn squeezin's ***), the Coppertons want it back. When Blaine is shot by one of the Daggets, Jessie burns them out and cripples one of the sons. They, in turn, kidnap Kitty and Tracey. They won't free the hostages until Blaine shows up, so he can be crippled the same way.

There is no attempt at reconciliation (as would likely occur in other series). It ends with the Daggets getting the worst of it, simply because they have no meaningful legal recourse for their problems. When they stand up to defend themselves, they're cut down by the law. It's indeed strange to see Matt shooting the victims. But.. "They brought it on themselves." Of course. Being poor is the worst crime of all.

This is all done in proper "Gunsmoke" style. Character relationships are shown mostly by subtle interaction and facial expression, rather than by expository dialog. (This episode is an excellent example of how this is done.) There's plenty of violence, and some issues remain unresolved. There's no cute epilog (which "Gunsmoke" generally avoided).

Nevertheless, "Twisted Heritage" skirts dangerously close to campy parody. Ma Dagget wears a Maude Frickert wig (they might just as well have cast Jonathan Winters), and her boys are stereotypical hillbilly hicks. (Nolan Dagget even wears wire-rimmed glasses!) One suspects the director was trying to underline the satire. Levy-Gardner-Laven could not have been pleased.

"Twisted Heritage" gets high marks for its generally successful attempt at satirizing bad Westerns. It's very much worth watching.

* We hardly ever see them. If the families' offspring deign to perform manual labor, it's mostly off-camera.

** That's a Rocky & Bullwinkle joke.

*** This is not a nutritional vegan beverage. The container is resealable and recyclable, however.wever.

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