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Big Valley - Season 1

4.7 out of 5 stars 257 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Powerful Saga of One Family's Lives and Loves in the Old West!

Venture back to the days when the land was still untamed and the West was still wild with Season One of The Big Valley, the TV classic starring Barbara Stanwyck, Lee Majors, and Linda Evans.

The Barkleys are the wealthiest and most powerful family in California's San Joaquin Valley in the 1870s, owning and controlling cattle herds, gold mines, citrus groves, and logging camps. Follow and share the family's trials and tribulations as matriarch Victoria Barkley leads her brood through joys and heartache, adventure and danger, and laughter and pain in Season One of this seminal and timeless Western Soap!

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TV Westerns once ruled the primetime range, inspiring Jonathan Winters to joke at the time, "I like Westerns, I just don't like 15 of them in a row." The Big Valley came along near the end of the trail. Premiering in 1965, it ran for four seasons and earned an Emmy for "Miss Barbara Stanwyck," who stars as widowed matriarch Victoria Barkley. Her brood is a breed apart: Jarrod (Richard Long), the eldest son, who returns to the sprawling Barkley home in the San Joaquin Valley to practice law; excitable Nick (Peter Breck), who is in charge of the family enterprises, youngest son Eugene (Charles Briles), an inconsequential character who would ride off into the sunset by season two; and "shameful" and "spoiled" daughter Audra (Linda Evans), who, in the first episode, is a real kitten with a whip. As a family saga, The Big Valley is more Bonanza than Dallas with one groundbreaking, soap opera twist: the arrival of Heath (Lee Majors), the self-proclaimed "bastard son" of deceased community pillar Tom Barkley. This first season's most compelling dramatic arc is Heath's struggle to be accepted by his brothers (particularly the hot-headed Nick) and determination to stake his claim to "a name, heritage... what's mine."

The Big Valley rounded up a stable of great character actors, several at the beginnings of their careers. The episode "By Force and Violence" alone offers Bruce Dern as an escaped convict whom Victoria compels at gunpoint to help rescue Heath, who is trapped under a disabled wagon, and L.Q. Jones and Harry (Dean) Stanton as the bounty hunters on his trail. Several of the episodes cover some of the same ground: an old family friend is revealed to be less than trustworthy; Audra falls for the wrong guy; someone's got a grudge against the Barkleys. One of the season's most memorable episodes is a tale of redemption, "The Guilt of Matt Bentell," in which the man the Barkleys have hired to oversee their logging operations is the former warden of an apparently Abu Ghraib-like Civil War prison where Heath was incarcerated. Now that network television has put Westerns out to pasture, fans of the series and Western buffs who wouldn't be caught dead in Deadwood can enjoy The Big Valley's more traditional pleasures, including breathtaking cinematography (no painted Ponderosa backdrops), great Western action (the fight scenes pack a real punch), and involving stories. --Donald Liebenson


Special Features

  • 30 episodes on 5 discs

Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Long, Peter Breck, Lee Majors, Linda Evans, Barbara Stanwyck
  • Directors: Arnold Laven, Bernard McEveety, Joseph H. Lewis, Joseph M. Newman, Joseph Pevney
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 16, 2006
  • Run Time: 1532 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (257 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EHSVB4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,700 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Big Valley - Season 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Hornaday on February 10, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There were few TV shows that made a greater impression on me growing up than did this classic western, The Big Valley, which ran on ABC from 1965-1969. From its stellar cast featuring the incomparable Barbara Stanwyck as Victoria Barkley, (the matriarch of a close-knit, proud and prominent family in 1878 California,) well-written/action-packed scripts, to stirring music, The Big Valley remains a standout in the barren plains of TV mediocrity.

The first TV drama to feature a powerful female lead (a woman the commercials proudly proclaimed had "backbone and bite"), it also dealt realistically with situations formerly taboo for TV. It began by revealing that Victoria's husband, Tom Barkley, a prominent, wealthy cattle rancher now deceased, had been involved in a secret affair leading to the birth of an illegitimate son. In addition to the ranch, the family controlled gold and silver mines, citrus groves as well as logging camps.

This five-disc (episodes on "A" and "B" sides) boxed set contains all 30 of the show's first season episodes, including its pilot. A few of these episodes were available years ago on poor quality VHS tapes, but this fantastic release represents the first time that the entire first season of the series has been available to the public in ANY format! As such, most of these episodes have not been seen uncut since the show aired more than 35 years ago.

The pilot, which introduces the powerful and proud Barkley family, depicts the conflict when the illegitimate son, Heath, abruptly arrives at the huge Barkley Ranch in the San Joaquin Valley, near Stockton, Calif., in the midst of a range war and claims his birthright.

After the recent death of his mother, Heath had learned his father's identify.
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*Note: This series looks fantastic on DVD and what's better is that they are all unedited. There are scenes here that I've not seen in years!

I've had most of the Big Valley episodes on tape from television. Most of them are obviously edited, due to the commercials. This is my favorite western series. I am so glad they are releasing this!

While I didn't grow up when the Big Valley was originally aired, I still watched it most mornings during the 70s-80s. I tried Bonanza a few times, but found the Big Valley more appealing. Barbara Stanwyck had even said, "Our show is grittier and more realistic than Bonanza. Our stories have to do with hardships and dangers of living in the west." Plus, the Barkley ranch is a cattle ranch...for real cowboys!

Okay, first I have to mention my favorite western character. I know Lee Majors (Heath) and Linda Evans (Audra) received much attention, but to my mind the "perfect" cowboy will always be Nick Barkley (Peter Breck). It took most of Season 1 for them to really get his outfit down. He first wears a small hat and not too-colorful outfit before changing to the large hat, brown shirts and black leather vest and gloves which will mark him as the ever-tempermental tough cowboy of the west.

The series is about a matriarchal family living in Stockton, California. While the famous Ponderosa may boast more land, the Barkley ranch, overall, probably boasted more wealth in all its business ventures from cattle to peach groves to mines and land. The Barkley's were also renowned not only by the California government, but even in Mexico and other states.

There is first son Jarrod, who prefers his law practice to sweating out in the hot sun taking care of the ranch.
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Here's a great SPECIAL FEATURE to include in a future BIG VALLEY set: The 50 minute TV special titled "Portrait: Barbara Stanwyck" filmed on the set of The Big Valley. It's a fascinating behind-the-scenes view of Miss Stanwyck,

Peter Breck, Richard Long and others as they film an episode (and kid around a bit). Exerpts from it can be seen in the TNT Stanwyck biography "Fire and Desire".

It's owned by the sons of the producer Rick Spalla (Cinesconic Records, Los Angeles, 323-469-3146). PLEASE RESCUE IT from their vault before it's lost to posterity!!!!
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Format: DVD
Always loved this classic.However there is a problem with this set.Insert this gem into your DVD player at your own risk.Once you watch one of the episodes you'll find yourself unable to stop.Just like potato chips you can't watch just one.The Barkley family will captivate you with stories rich in emotion and suspense.Not to put the other westerns of the time down but what set this "Horse Opera" from the rest was the relationships between the characters.The tension between Nick and Heath at first which develops into respect for each other later will keep you coming back for more.The strength of Victoria as she fights to keep the Barkley name one to be held in honor and respect.Jarrod who can fight equally well with a gun or a law book.Audra who...well....she looks great (Thats enough,isn't it?).

Bonanza,great...Gunsmoke,great...but The Big Valley is in a class by itself.Buy it, watch it and hold it in reverence.
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Format: DVD
It took a long time, but finally The Big Valley is out on DVD. Season one introduces Lee Majors as "Heath Barkley", who comes on scene and wants to claim his rightful heritage as a Barkley.

This was a superb western drama with great action, scripts, and guest stars. It also had it's comic light hearted moments and stressed the importance of family and family values in the Wild West. Linda Evan's, who plays Audra Barkley, is absolutely stunning, and Barbara Stanwick is perfect as the head of the family.

Everyone thinks of Bonanza as the all time best western, but the Big Valley was truely unique, and no one will be disappointed with the high quality of the DVD's. Don't miss out on this classic western and let's hope Season Two isn't to far behind.
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