Peter Breck once took a shot at Bonanza
Apparently, this town wasn't big enough for the two of them.
We all love a good Western standoff, right? There's nothing quite like the tension between two gunmen as they stare at each other from across the town square, ten spaces apart, hands slowly inching toward their holsters.
Well, in an interview with The Chicago Tribune, Peter Breck gave us the closest we'd ever come to a standoff between two Western television series when he took a shot at the series Bonanza. First, some context: In the interview, Breck explained the dynamic that he felt existed in the show, and took offense at the assumption that his show, The Big Valley, was simply "a matriarchal Bonanza."
Breck explained, "Barbara is the Madonna — the one you go to for your pain — but the ranch is run by the three sons and not by Barbara." It was then that Breck revealed what he felt to be what really set his show apart from Bonanza. He said, "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."
In contrast, Lorne Greene mentioned the familial dynamic between the Cartwright boys in an interview with The New York Post. There, he said, "A big reason for the show's popularity is the strength and warmth of the family. The father-son relationship is the strongest there is." David Dortort, the creator of Bonanza also spoke on the relationships of the show in an interview with The Oshkosh Northwestern. He said, "We practically invented family values for television." He continued, "It wasn't easy to get out West, but, once you got out there and could sink your roots...you could still preserve the tradition of a family by a father who cared about his sons and sons who cared about their father."
It's not clear who's gotten the best of who in this standoff, so we'll let you decide. Does Peter Breck have a point, or would the Cartwright men blow The Big Valley out of the water?