Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘Was Sue Ellen That Woman?’

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Miss Ellie Ewing, Tangled Web

The other woman

In “Tangled Web,” a sixth-season “Dallas” episode, Miss Ellie and Clayton (Barbara Bel Geddes, Howard Keel) sit in the dining room at the Cattleman’s Club.

CLAYTON: I think what I ought to do is lease a place for awhile, don’t you? That way I can look around a little more leisurely. What do you think, Ellie?

ELLIE: If that’s what you want.

CLAYTON: Well, I think it’d be the wise thing to do. [Silence] Ellie, are you all right? Is something troubling you?

ELLIE: Clayton, tell me. Why did you leave San Angelo?

CLAYTON: [Chuckles] Well, I thought I told you. Don’t you remember?

ELLIE: You told me that you were running away from memories.

CLAYTON: That’s right. Memories that concerned Southern Cross. They had no place in my life anymore. I wanted to erase them from my mind.

ELLIE: Have you been successful in doing that?

CLAYTON: Not completely, but I’m trying. Why do you ask?

ELLIE: Well, when we, when we met at Galveston that time, you were very troubled over a woman. So much that you had to get away from her and go down to the gulf. Clayton, were you in love with this woman?

CLAYTON: Yes, I was. Or at least I thought I was.

ELLIE: Clayton, I’ve been thinking about you and Sue Ellen. And all the things she said. Your attitude toward each other. Clayton, was Sue Ellen that woman?

CLAYTON: Yes. [Ellie rubs her temples.] Ellie, try to understand. Sue Ellen came to my home. She was in love with my son. And that relationship didn’t work for her. She didn’t know which way to turn. She was desperately in need. And I felt that I had to comfort her some way. And before I knew it, I found myself in love with her.

ELLIE: Did you tell her that?

CLAYTON: No. She thought of me as a father. She never recognized my feelings.

ELLIE: Well, didn’t you tell her how you felt?

CLAYTON: Yes, I tried, but I just couldn’t seem to get through to her. [Silence] Ellie, that part of my life is over now.

ELLIE: [Looking down] Is it?

CLAYTON: Yes, it is. And the feelings that I had for Sue Ellen then are gone. [Grabs her hand] If it eases your mind, nothing happened between us. Nothing.


  1. I think it was a very interesting twist to have Clayton interested in Sue Ellen first. Not only did it bring him into the family seamlessly, but it was a clever way to convince the audience he was worthy to be Ellie’s husband. Usually, the older man choose a younger woman over the woman his on age, but with Clayton the older, more stable, stronger woman wins his heart. That had to go a long way with viewers.

  2. I’ve said it before, they should have had Sue Ellen and Clayton get married.


  1. […] easily this episode’s best moment, but it isn’t the only good one. I also like when Miss Ellie questions Clayton about his relationship with Sue Ellen. Barbara Bel Geddes stammers through her dialogue, […]

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