A classic Western that ran on ABC from 1965-1969, "The Big Valley" followed a family of ranchers, The Barkleys, as they faced life living in the Old West (namely, California) in the 1870's. The show featured Barbara Stanwyck as Victoria Barkley, the widowed mother of the family, who looked after her children: Audra (Linda Evans), illegitimate son Heath (Lee Majors), oldest son Jarrod (Richard Long) and Nick (Peter Breck).
It's easy to see why this series appealed, as it boasts excellent performances and a solid mixture of drama and action. The performances are excellent across the board, although Evans, Majors and Stanwyck and Breck are highlights. Guest stars this season include: Buddy Hackett, Rudy Solari, Dianne Foster, Ben Hoffman, Robert Adler, James Gregory, James Whitmore and others. Lovely scenery (filmed in California), fine cinematography and production design also give the series a more cinematic appearance than most TV fare. Overall, this is an entertaining Western that still remains engaging today.
31. 2- 1 12 Sep 66 Lost Treasure
- While a con man claims that he, not Tom Barkley, is Heath's real father, Heath becomes determined to discover the truth.
32. 2- 2 19 Sep 66 Legend of a General (Part I)
- Heathis hailed and held prisoner in Mexico in exchange for a Mexican general seeking refuge at the Barkley ranch.
33. 2- 3 26 Sep 66 Legend of a General (Part II)
- The Barkleys refuse to give up General Ruiz as they embark on a plan to save Heath.
34. 2- 4 3 Oct 66 Caesar's Wife
- Audra's relationship with a young man incurs the heated jealousy of his stepmother, who harbors strong feelings for him.
35. 2- 5 10 Oct 66 Pursuit
- Victoria races to stop a young Paiute Indian, contagious with measles, from returning to and infecting his tribe.
36. 2- 6 17 Oct 66 The Martyr
- Jarrod defends a basque sheepherder accused of murdering a cattleman.
37. 2- 7 31 Oct 66 Target
- A dishonest gubernatorial candidate comes to Stockton, spreading lies about the Barkleys and plotting murder.
38. 2- 8 7 Nov 66 The Velvet Trap
- Nick falls for a woman with a hidden secret and an ulterior motive.
39. 2- 9 14 Nov 66 The Man from Nowhere
- While away from the ranch to help mediate a land dispute, Jarrod is injured and rendered amnesic.
40. 2-10 21 Nov 66 The Great Safe Robbery
- Three inept thieves trying to crack a rail station safe hold Audra and Victoria hostage.
41. 2-11 28 Nov 66 The Iron Box
- Nick and Heath are wrongfully arrested by a crooked cheriff and sent to a road gang prison under the watchful eye of a warden with an evil plan.
42. 2-12 5 Dec 66 Last Stage to Salt Flats
- Stage robberies leave Victoria, Jarrod and Audra high and dry - stranded in the middle of the desert with no water and little hope.
43. 2-13 12 Dec 66 A Day of Terror
- Along with a Bible study class, Audra and Victoria are held captive in a church with a matronly outlaw and her dangerous brood.
44. 2-14 19 Dec 66 Hide The Children
- Nick falls for the bride-to-be and learns a lesson about intolerance when he escorts a gypsy dowry wagon to the wedding.
45. 2-15 26 Dec 66 Day of the Comet
- Audra falls for a stranger who cannot outrun his past.
VIDEO: "Big Valley" is presented by Fox in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The presentation never looks terrible, but it is certainly inconsistent. The best moments look pretty crisp and clear, with minimal grain and bright colors. However, other scenes can look grainier, show some mild specks and marks on the elements and show some fluttering or slightly smeary colors. No pixelation or edge enhancement was seen. These presentations were not bad for a show of this era, but some additional restoration work could have made them appear a bit fresher than they do here.
SOUND: The show's mono soundtrack sounded perfectly fine for a show of this era, with clear, undistorted dialogue. Audio quality is rather thin, but still decent.
EXTRAS: Unfortunately, none. A summary of the season would have been nice, or a reunion featurette.
Final Thoughts: Fox's second "Big Valley" release offers fine audio/video quality, but the lack of extras is disappointing. Recommended for fans.