Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘… One Man at the Helm’

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Jock's Will

Daddy’s decree

In “Jock’s Will,” a sixth-season “Dallas” episode, Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes), J.R. (Larry Hagman), Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and the other Ewings gather near Jock’s portrait in the Southfork living room, where Harv (George O. Petrie) sits at a desk and reads the codicil the Ewing patriarch added to his will.

HARV: “I, John Ross Ewing Sr., being of sound mind and body, do hereby add the following provisions to my last will and testament. It is no secret that the company I built — some call it an empire — is precious to me. Precious beyond anything in my life, save my dear wife Ellie and my sons. It is, however, that very preciousness that makes the choice of my successors an agonizing one. Gary and Ray, although your place in my heart is just as large and shines just as bright as the place set aside for your brothers, neither of you has shown any aptitude — or inclination for that matter — for business. Therefore, my choice of successor is narrowed to Bobby and J.R. Sons, this is addressed to you: It’s been my cherished hope that one day the two of you might run Ewing Oil as a team. That was my hope. Ewing Oil can only have one man at the helm, and that’s got to be the man that wants it the most.”

ELLIE: [Softly] Oh, Jock. No.

HARV: “Therefore, upon my death, I want an independent audit conducted of all the company’s holdings. I want everything divided upon paper so that J.R. and Bobby each have control over exactly 50 percent of the total assets. Punk Anderson, a fine oilman and an even finer friend, has agreed to act as administrator of my estate. After one year, Punk will conduct a second audit. Whichever son has managed to create the greatest gain for his half share of Ewing Oil will win 51 percent of the stock of the entire company and will be able to run it any way he sees fit. The loser in this contest will get 19 percent and the remaining 30 percent I want divided equally between Gary, Ray and Miss Ellie to make sure they’ll never be without a share of the profits of the company I created, which incidentally, must never be owned by anyone other than a Ewing. One final thing: In the unfortunate event that before this year is up, one son predeceases the other, the remaining son will automatically inherit his shares and he will take over the company.”

The Ewings look at each other with stunned expressions.

J.R.: Well, Bobby, to your good health and very long life. [Raises a glass, smiles]

The brothers clink glasses.


  1. I know its for dramatic purpose and to create drama but I would imagine that in reality, Jock would have given Ewing Oil to JR his eldest who was groomed to one day run the company so of course JR would have been given it with everyone given non voting shares in it.

    It did make for good storylines though.

    • Dan in WI says:

      I disagree Jock would have given the company to JR “in real life.” After all it was well documented how Bobby was his favorite son. This really was the only way he could avoid a decision between the son who spent more of his life wanting Ewing Oil and the son he favored.
      Yes JR was groomed for the job but only because Bobby went through a lenghty playboy phase where business wasn’t nearly as important to him.

    • Hmmm. I’m not sure I agree, LBF. It’s true that Jock groomed J.R. to one day run the company, although by the time Jock died, Bobby had become a major player at Ewing Oil (even running the company for a time after J.R. was shot). I don’t think Jock would have — or should have — given the company to J.R. outright.


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