Barbara Stanwyck didn't like people calling her ''Big Valley'' character ''Mrs. Ben Cartwright''

The actor wasn't fond of the comparison.

Let the record show that not all Westerns are the same simply because they portray the same general atmosphere and common themes. Shows like Bonanza and The Big Valley may share certain traits as a family-centric television series complete with action and adventure, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the two are identical.

Still, The Big Valley has been compared to Bonanza for much of its run, especially after the two shows went off the air and audiences were free to view both shows decades later in the form of reruns. The conversations didn't stop amongst the fans; Even the stars of The Big Valley got an earful. 

In fact, Peter Breck once told The Chicago Tribune, "The difference between Bonanza and The Big Valley is that when the Barkley boys get in trouble, they solve it. When the Cartwrights get in trouble, they run to Papa."

Barbara Stanwyck also had the opportunity to weigh in on the argument, this time to the Waco Tribune-Herald. Stanwyck was in a somewhat unique experience, because not only was her show being compared to The Big Valley, but her character, Mrs. Barkley, was being likened to a women's version of Lorne Greene's Bonanza character, Ben Cartwright. While there was nothing wrong with Ben Cartwright as a character, the actor clearly wasn't fond of the comparison.

Stanwyck said, "I get so tired of hearing people say that Mrs. Barkley is really Mrs. Ben Cartwright. It would be just as fair to say that Lorne Greene is Major Tom Barkley."

Frankly, equating or juxtaposing two Westerns to comment that one is worse than the other isn't a very productive use of one's time. In fact, a more optimistic viewpoint would be to see two incredibly entertaining Western programs led by two strong leads and just to be pleased that there's twice as much to enjoy.

Watch The Big Valley on MeTV!

Saturdays at 12 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

7 Comments

SalIanni 27 days ago
You could also say that she's like another Kate Bradley. That's who she reminds me of.
McGillahooala 28 days ago
The critics love to draw comparisons or anything else they can fill a page with. Its best to ignore them.
Andybandit 28 days ago
She is her own individual character on TBV.
Cougar90 Andybandit 28 days ago
They are two separate westerns. The Big Valley was The Big Valley because of Barbara Stanwyck
cperrynaples 28 days ago
Well, at least Lorne Greene wasn't called Mr. Audra Barkley...LOL!
harlow1313 cperrynaples 28 days ago
>"Mr. Audra Barkley...L"< Victoria, not Audra.
Runeshaper 28 days ago
I feel like most people try to find similarities or connections when they watch TV. However, most characters are individual and stand apart from one another.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?