Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘It’s Your Choice, Pam’

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Long Goodbye, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Choose or lose, honey

In “The Long Goodbye,” a seventh-season “Dallas” episode, Pam (Victoria Principal) answers the door in her hotel suite and finds J.R. (Larry Hagman) on the other side.

PAM: What are you doing here?

J.R.: I want to talk. I think it’s important for both of us.

PAM: Nothing you have to say is important to me.

J.R.: Are you afraid of me?

PAM: I dislike you intensely. But I’m not afraid of you.

J.R.: Well, then why don’t you let me in? It won’t take long. I promise. [She opens the door. He enters.] Well, it must be kind of difficult, living in a hotel.

PAM: Do you really care?

J.R.: No. No, I don’t. You know how I feel about you. I’ve despised you ever since Bobby first brought you home.

PAM: Is that what you came here to tell me?

J.R.: No, I said that so that you’ll know that what I’m about to say is the truth. Now you might find that hard to believe, but I think I can convince you.

PAM: All right, J.R. What’s this all about?

J.R.: [Begins to circle her] Well, I’m talking about the two people you love most in life: Bobby and Cliff.

PAM: [Turns to face him] And Christopher.

J.R.: Oh, yes. Yes, of course. Christopher. He figures into this too. Pam, I know how close you and Bobby are to a divorce, and I’m sure it must be very painful for you. And when you do get that divorce, it’s gonna hurt. [Circles her again] Believe me, I know. But eventually, you’ll pull yourselves together and find happiness of another kind. I know you will.

PAM: How nice! You’re concerned about my happiness.

J.R.: Oh, no. I don’t give a damn about you or your happiness, honey. But I do care about what’s good for me.

PAM: Well, that I believe.

J.R.: Well, then try to believe this: If you divorce Bobby, I’m going to do certain things. [Circling] For instance, I think he and I could live in peace. Now, it might not be an easy peace, but I know that he and I could work together at Ewing Oil in harmony. And with you out of the picture, I think his natural instincts would lead him out of Ewing Oil and into something else. He never cared for it as much as I did anyhow.

PAM: I certainly hope that’s true.

J.R.: And as far as your brother goes, if you divorce Bobby, I’ll leave him alone. If he wants to become the biggest independent oilman in Texas, I won’t stand in his way. And to all intents and purposes, the Barnes-Ewing feud will cease to exist.

PAM: [Snickers] I find that hard to believe.

J.R.: Well, then try this one on for size: If you return to Bobby, all hell is going to break loose. I’ll call off this truce that exists between him and me. We’ll be in a dogfight that will make what went on before look like a love match. And as for your brother, I’ll use every penny at my disposal — and Ewing Oil’s disposal — to destroy him. I’ll bring Mr. Cliff Barnes down for good. And whoever goes down with him, so be it. Now, you’ve known me long enough to know I don’t make idle threats. So I promise you, what I have just said will happen — if you return to Bob. It’s your choice, Pam.

[He exits, leaving Pam looking unnerved.]


  1. the_lost_son says:

    This is a such a breath-taking scene and probably one of the best scenes during the whole show. The dialogue, acting, camera movement – excellent. I love how JR is circling his siter-in-law. Dallas’ history captured in a few minutes. A Barnes and a Ewing in a room, what do you need more?

  2. JR vs Pam is Dallas at its most fundamental – the basic good vs evil setup from the earliest episodes, but now with a budget/production values to do it justice and with Dallas at the absolute peak of its global popularity.
    A pity Pam’s character became a bit wet in the intervening years – but she becomes interesting again when she divorces Bobby and strikes out on her own.
    By the way, is it true that on the first day of shooting the pilot episode of Dallas, Victoria P. said to Larry H. ” Hi Larry, welcome to my show.” or is that urban myth?

  3. Dan in WI says:

    When Chris did the 35 year anniversary Dal-List I mentioned episode 186’s JR/Pam scene where JR actually asks Pam to go back to Bobby. What I’d forgotten was how much that scene parrallels this one in flow. It even starts out the same with JR leveling with Pam so that “you’ll know that what I’m about to say is the truth.” The only real difference is the ending where this time JR tells Pam to stay away from Bobby but the next time he tells her to go back to him.


  1. […] final scene in “The Long Goodbye” draws upon all of this subtext, resulting in one of the all-time great […]

  2. […] A classic clash. During Bobby and Pam’s separation, J.R. tells her if she doesn’t go through with the divorce, he’ll destroy Bobby, Cliff and everyone else […]

  3. […] with him, J.R. knew he needed to act fast. He showed up on Pam’s doorstep and tried to persuade her that a divorce was in her best interest. “How nice! You’re concerned about my […]

  4. […] maybe it was the time J.R. threatened Pam’s life if she took John Ross? How about the time J.R. warned Pam not to call off her divorce from […]

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