BIG VALLEY, THE: A FLOCK OF TROUBLE (TV)

Summary

One in this series of western dramas about the Barkleys, a wealthy California ranching family. In this episode, a man, Josiah Freeman, enters the saloon looking for "Barkley," and upon finding Nick and some other men playing poker, joins the game and quickly bets a large sum. He loses a hand to Nick and says he will have to pay him in livestock rather than cash, but when Nick signs the agreement, he is stunned to realize that he is not Jarrod, but his brother, especially when he hears that he is the less "reasonable" sibling. The next day, Nick is furious when Freeman arrives bringing not cattle, but sheep, which he considers "vermin." He finds that his contract with Freeman is valid, however, and his family members tease him about the bad deal. He declares his intentions to slaughter the herd the following day, especially because they are in the middle of a cattle "round-up." Carl, Audra's gentleman caller, confronts Nick about the troublesome sheep, pointing out that they ruin the grass needed for the community's cattle, and Nick retorts that they will soon be gone. Victoria advises Nick to get a sheepdog to help round them up, and Nick reluctantly agrees, realizing that he will have to deal with Freeman again. When he goes to Freeman's home, he meets his young niece Gayle, but Freeman tells him that he cannot sell him a dog and offers to combine their flocks and let him use his dog in exchange for room and board for himself and Gayle, and Nick refuses.

A bad-tempered Nick goes to the saloon and demands a drink, but Carl continues to hound him and the bartender says he cannot serve a "sheep man," and the other patrons mock him. A brawl soon breaks out, and Nick ends up knocked out, awakening at Freeman's home. Seeing no alternative, he agrees to Freeman's plan about the sheepdog, and Freeman tells him how he accidentally fell into the sheep business himself when Gayle's parents died, explaining that he took her in and is raising her as his own. He tells a parable about adapting to impossible situations, and Nick decides to herd the sheep through the center of town to make a point. His brothers object to the prideful stunt, with Heath saying it could escalate into "war," but Nick refuses to give in. Freeman talks with Victoria and learns that Nick's friends attacked him because of the sheep, and Freeman admits that he attempted to pawn the sheep off on a Barkley because he believed them "too powerful" to suffer for it, and Victoria admits that they all "crossed the line." Carl and Audra return from an evening out and he asks her to convince her brother to give up the flock, but Audra states that Nick is "his own man" and that she dislikes being used, and Carl ends things between them. He threatens to kill the flock, but Nick stands his ground, so Carl and the others ambush the sheep and begin shooting, beating up Freeman when he tries to defend them. Once he recovers, he talks to Gayle about finding her a proper home, clearly worried that he will soon be killed, but she states that she wants to stay with him no matter what.

Freeman admits to Nick that he lost the poker hand on purpose out of "desperation," thinking Jarrod would make a good business partner, and Nick decides to round the sheep by himself to keep Freeman out of danger. Freeman knocks him out and escapes, and when Jarrod is found by his brothers, he angrily heads off after Freeman, and Jarrod and Heath follow. Carl and the others attempt to stop Freeman, but the Barkleys arrive and assist him, and they force Carl to accept their compromise of keeping the sheep and cattle together. Later, having finally sold off the flock, Freeman leaves with Gayle, parting from Nick with words of gratitude and friendship. Commercials deleted.

Details

  • NETWORK: ABC
  • DATE: September 25, 1967 Monday 10:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:51:30
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T85:0678
  • GENRE: Drama, western
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Drama
  • SERIES RUN: ABC - TV series, 1965-1969
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Jules Levy … Executive Producer
    • Arthur Gardner … Executive Producer
    • Arnold Laven … Executive Producer
    • Lou Morheim … Producer
    • Michael Gleason … Writer
    • A.I. Bezzerides … Created by
    • Louis F. Edelman … Created by
    • Virgil W. Vogel … Director
    • Elmer Bernstein … Music by
    • George Duning … Theme Music by
    • Richard Long … Cast, Jarrod Barkley
    • Peter Breck … Cast, Nick Barkley
    • Lee Majors … Cast, Heath Barkley
    • Linda Evans … Cast, Audra Barkley
    • Barbara Stanwyck … Cast, Victoria Barkley
    • Milton Berle … Cast, Josiah Freeman
    • Robert Fuller … Cast, Carl Wheeler
    • Eileen Baral … Cast, Gayle
    • Robert Paumer … Cast, Chambers
    • Troy Melton … Cast, Macklin
    • Bing Russell … Cast, Kelsey