Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘No Deal, J.R.’

Don't box him in

Don’t box him in

In “Dallas’s” fifth-season episode “Blocked,” Clayton (Howard Keel) arrives in a hotel suite for a meeting with J.R. (Larry Hagman).

J.R.: Well, I was beginning to think that you had changed your mind.

CLAYTON: I heard a lot of stories about you, J.R. I heard you were a snake – but I never realized just how low you’d sink.

J.R.: [Smiles] Did you come here to give me an evaluation of my character?

CLAYTON: No, J.R., I didn’t. I just want to know why you bought up all my crude – what your terms are so I can get back into business.

J.R.: Why don’t you have a little eye-opener. We can discuss this in a civilized manner.

CLAYTON: No, thank you. [Walks closer] And this is not a civilized situation. How much do you want for the oil?

J.R.: Oh, I think you’ll find my terms acceptable.

CLAYTON: You paid over market price. Otherwise you wouldn’t have got it. Now why would I find that acceptable?

J.R.: You have no choice. [Sits, smiles] See, I happen to know that you’re shutting down your refineries.

CLAYTON: You’ve invested a fortune trying to box me in. Why? Is it vengeance because I protected Sue Ellen?

J.R.: It’s business. Before I sell you a drop of my oil, I want Sue Ellen and John Ross off the Southern Cross ranch – away from you and your son.

CLAYTON: You’re holding my oil hostage in return for Sue Ellen?

J.R.: I don’t give a damn for Sue Ellen. I want my son back. And I’m willing to sell you that oil at the going market price – if you send those two packing.

CLAYTON: Then what? You think Sue Ellen’s going to return to Southfork? [Chuckles] She hates you so much she’d never do that.

J.R.: Well, Mr. Farlow, I know that woman a lot better than you do. She can’t make it on her own. Every time she runs away, it’s to another man. And what do you care anyway? [Rises, walks toward Clayton] With this deal you can keep your refineries open, your employees employed and not suffer any loss.

CLAYTON: No deal, J.R.

J.R.: Just how long do you think you’re going to be able to keep open?

CLAYTON: The terms you just offered me? Forever.

J.R.: She means nothing to you.

CLAYTON: You’re wrong. I respect her. And she means everything to my son. And the child belongs with her. [Turns and heads for the door]

J.R.: I’ll break you.

CLAYTON: Better men than you have tried it. No, J.R., you’re the one who’s going broke. I was late getting here because I stopped to find out the latest report on oil prices. Down almost a dollar a barrel and still falling. And you’re sitting on five million barrels. Now, your bankers are not going to be patient forever. [Reaches the door, stops, turns] By the time your daddy gets back from South America, there just might not be a Ewing Oil.

He exits, leaving J.R. looking worried.


  1. […] course, Clayton may be kind, but he’s no pushover. In the final scene, J.R. tells Clayton he’ll release his crude – if Clayton kicks Sue Ellen and John Ross off the […]

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