So, what was the the point of Eugene Barkley?

Yeah, I’m watching The Big Valley reruns.

He’s even more useless than Chuck Cunningham. At least Chuck served the purpose of making Richie a kid brother. Eugene serves no purpose whatsoever. He’s Jarrod-Lite with aspirations of being Nick-Extra-Extra-Lite. He’s a full fledged Barkley brother who never made the main credits. It’s like they knew he was useless from the get-go. What the hell were the writers thinking?

IMDB says he was only in nine episodes, maybe all in the first season. Was one of the other brothers absent during those episodes? Perhaps they had him as the emergency backup brother.

Crikey, that was a great show, and I loved it…and I have no memory of this guy at all.

ETA: Because of where I grew up, I was more of a High Chaparral fan. But I liked Big Valley a bit more than Bonanza. All were very, very good! Those were the days!

I found this in the trivia section of Charles Briles IMDB page.

Tough break for him. Maybe he would have shared a starring credit & his character developed if not for the draft.

In hindsight this would have been great, since he could have made a nice replacement after Jarrod left.

I don’t recall Richard Long (Jarrod) leaving the show.

Are you having Bonanza flashbacks?


Eugene went off to Berkeley and was never heard from again. Maybe that Cal hippie life attracted him much more than running a cattle ranch in Stockton did.

Eugene represented a transition between the old West and new scientific agricultural methods. He didn’t go off to Berkeley, he was studying there from the start of the show, which is why he only appeared occasionally, when he would come home from college on a break. The thing that seems strange from a 2014 perspective is that they made no effort whatsoever to explain his absence after he left the show, and that Victoria referred to her 3 sons as if he had never existed (and Heath entirely replaced him, although he wasn’t her biological child). These days the audience expects more of an explanation.