The Dallas Decoder Guide to the McKay Family

Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy

Big kahuna

The McKays are back! The family that feuded with the Ewings during the original “Dallas’s” later years is slowly creeping back into TNT’s sequel series: Hunter, a McKay grandson, was introduced earlier this year, while this week’s episode, “Victims of Love,” will bring back Tracey, who’s now played by Melinda Clarke. Need a refresher on the McKays and where they fit into the Ewing-verse? Read on.

Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy

Devil next door

Carter, the meanest McKay. When Dreadful Jenna Wade™ forced our beloved Ray Krebbs to move with her to “Europe,” he sold his Southfork-adjacent ranch to Carter McKay (George Kennedy), who turned out to be the crummiest neighbor a Ewing could ask for. Carter constantly threw loud parties and borrowed Miss Ellie’s tools without returning them. Kidding! The real reason Carter sucked was because he started a range war with the Ewings in a convoluted scheme to seize control of Section 40, the oil-drenched Southfork parcel that everyone on “Dallas” tries to seize at one point or another. Although the Ewings won the war and kept their land, Carter had the last laugh: In “Dallas’s” final episodes, he sold his ranch and saddled the Ewings with an even worse next-door neighbor — Michelle Stevens.

Bobby Ewing, Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Big fish, little fish

… And also the sharpest. When Carter wasn’t bringing down the Braddock County property values, he was shaking up the oil biz. Carter was revealed as the brains behind Westar, Ewing Oil’s biggest rival, and the puppeteer who had been pulling Jeremy Wendell’s strings for years. (All together, “Dallas” diehards: Yeah, right!) Actually, Carter really did display solid business acumen. For example, when J.R. and Bobby (Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy) backed out of a deal to supply the Soviets with Texas crude — citing patriotism! — Carter stole the deal and schooled the brothers on how the world really worked, delivering a prophetic, Chayefskian speech (“Whatever America used to be, it isn’t anymore. …”). Carter’s biggest coup: Tricking J.R. into giving up control of Ewing Oil in “Dallas’s” penultimate episode!

Beth Toussaint, Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, Tracey McKay Lawton

Do the hustle

Tracey, the sexiest McKay. Bobby and Cliff were chillin’ at a pool hall one night in ’88 — because that’s how the Barneses and the Ewings rolled that year — when jean-skirted Tracey Lawton caught the eye of the recently divorced Bob. Back then, Tracey was played by Beth Toussaint, who looked a lot like “Terminator” heroine Linda Hamilton, but with poutier lips and punier biceps. Tracey turned out to be a pool shark, but that wasn’t her only secret: She was also a recent divorcee (hence the “Lawton”) and Carter’s estranged daughter. Once again, Bobby found himself playing Romeo, but his romance with this Juliet dimmed pretty quickly and Tracey soon departed Dallas. She didn’t leave in bandages like Bobby’s first Juliet, although somewhere along the way, Tracey — like Pamdid pick up a new face.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, J. Eddie Peck, Patrick Duffy, Tommy McKay


Tommy, the nuttiest McKay. Oh, this guy was a total whack job. Tommy, Carter’s drug-dealing son, arrived at the McKay ranch after serving a jail sentence in “South America,” and when Tommy wasn’t making a quick buck by spying for J.R. or screaming in the rain, he was hitting on every woman on the show. In April’s case, Tommy hit on her literally, which prompted Bobby to beat the j. eddie peck out of him. Tommy tried to get revenge by blowing up Bobby, and when that failed, the gun-wielding loon was accidentally shot and killed during a struggle with dear old dad. Tracey told Bobby she didn’t blame him for Tommy’s death, but warned him about Carter: “Stay out of his way, Bobby. I don’t want to come to your funeral.” (Silly Tracey. The show already did that storyline!)

Dallas, Jeri Gaile, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Rose McKay

Desk job

Rose, the awesomest McKay. Although Carter was sweet on Sue Ellen, he married Rose Daniels (Jeri Gaile), an Iowa farm-girl-turned-beautician with a penchant for bold print dresses and shoulder-brushing earrings. Rose loved “Mac” and did almost anything he asked, including sleeping with Cliff Barnes so Carter could videotape the encounter and use it to derail Cliff’s resurgent political career. Poor judgment aside, Rose was a hoot because she spent most of her time sashaying around the house in heels and lingerie with a drink in her hand, and Gaile brought a lot of heart to the role, making Rose one of the brighter lights during “Dallas’s” later years. Best of all, when Rose finally got fed up with Carter, she knew how to teach him a lesson: by having sex with J.R. on her husband’s desk! Good going, darlin’.

Carter McKay, Dallas, George Kennedy, Linda Gray, Peter Ellington, Philip Anglim, Sue Ellen Ewing

Aiding the enemy

Ellington, the adopted McKay. When Carter wasn’t siring nutjobs like Tommy, he was putting them on his payroll. First there was snarlin’ Fred Hughes, Carter’s right-hand man during the range war, whose solution to every problem was to shoot a Ewing. Miss Ellie once referred to Hughes as Carter’s “pet dog,” which tells you everything you need to know about what a jerk he was. Then there was Peter Ellington (Philip Anglim), McKay’s sidekick during the “War of the Ewings” reunion movie. Ellington was super enthused about pushing through his boss’s latest deal with the Ewings — to the point of trying to blow up J.R. and taking Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) hostage. Is it me, or was Ellington a little too — what’s the expression I’m looking for here? — into Carter McKay? Did Rose know about this?

Dallas, Fran Kranz, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Nicolas Trevino, TNT

Splitting heirs

Hunter, the mystery McKay. John Ross (Josh Henderson) mentioned playing basketball with “the McKay brothers” during TNT’s first season of “Dallas,” but we didn’t meet one of them until this year, when Hunter showed up and told John Ross how he made a killing by taking his video game company public. Later, we learned Hunter has revenge on his mind and is secretly helping Nicolas and the drug cartel take over Ewing Global. If Hunter is Carter’s grandson, does that make him Tommy’s son? If so, does he hold a grudge against the Ewings because he blames them for his father’s death? Most importantly: Now that Hunter’s here and Tracey’s back, will more McKays show up? No matter how it all turns out, just remember: Whatever trouble the McKays cause next, their arrival in Dallas can be traced back to one person — that awful Jenna Wade. Everything is always her fault, isn’t it?

What do you remember about the McKays? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Decoder Guides.”


  1. As Mac would say… “DON’T YOU GIVE ME THAT CRAP!”

  2. I’m afraid it is time for negative Dan in WI to reappear. I’m dreading this Tracey McKay appearance. I’m dreading it for two reasons which I’ve already mentioned:
    A) Clarke simply looks to young to be a Tracey McKay of 2014.
    B) I just don’t have any confidence they’ll get the continuity right on this one. I still maintain Hunter McKay isn’t possible. There should be no McKay (let alone brothers) old enough to grow up playing basketball with John Ross and Christopher. And let’s face it this show just doesn’t have a great track record with continuity in general.

    That doesn’t bother everybody but it does bother me. I’ve said it before, it appears this show is struggling for numbers and it needs me to get renewed. And it’s not like doing better continuity research will cost the show any viewers in its attempt to please people in my camp. I just can’t see those who aren’t as concerned about continuity suddenly swearing off the show if more up front research is done…
    But now we are getting to the point were there are certain number of viewers who are lost and may not give the show another chance even if the continuity suddenly improved. How deep do they want to dig the hole?

    • I totally agree. Nothing screams louder that Cynthia Cidre doesn’t “get it” than bringing back the unpopular McKays and then recasting and rewriting history again. No one cares about the McKays!!!

      And no one cares about the Ramoses.

      We do care about vets getting screen time. The OIL Barron’s Ball…epic fail with Cattle Barrrons Ball. We also care about the real Sourhforj floor plan. I could go on and on with Cidre’s missteps. Sad.

      • “I totally agree. Nothing screams louder that Cynthia Cidre doesn’t “get it” than bringing back the unpopular McKays and then recasting and rewriting history again. No one cares about the McKays!!! And no one cares about the Ramoses.”

        Wrong. Don’t assume your opinion is “everyone’s” opinion, or that no one cares. You’re dead wrong. I loved the past. I’m not a slave to it.

      • I stand by my original post. No one cares about the McKays. The Tracey recast was unnecessary. There are too many other creative opportunities for the show. Poor writing.

    • Well, I thought last episode did explain the existence of Hunter McKay pretty well. And it made several good references to previous continuity, including Bobby and Tracy (I agree, this actress looks too young, but we can just assume she had some work done) reminiscing about playing pool together, and Hunter taunting John Ross by pointing out that Carter tricked J.R. into giving up Ewing Oil.

      Frankly, I wish they’d brought in the McKay’s earlier, and had them as the main antagonists on this show (maybe “Rebecca” could’ve been Carter’s granddaughter). That would have at least made more sense. I could believe Carter still hated the Ewings and was willing to use his grandchildren against them a lot better than Cliff still hating the Ewings and using his own daughter like that.

      • Last I remember (and I’d have to check before I say for sure) Bobby and Carter and buried the hatchet (literally and figuratively) at Bobby’s bachelor’s party prior to his April wedding. I don’t recall Carter ever turning on Bobby again after that. I’m sure he hated JR to the last though.

      • But Carter’s hatred of J.R., especially at the very end, would be more believable to explain why he’d be going after “The Ewings” all these years later, even if he didn’t have anything personal against Bobby or the rest, he’d just consider them “collateral damage” in his bid to get J.R.

        Cliff, on the other hand, makes absolutely no sense, since he had not only forgiven Jock after discovering that Jock didn’t really cheat Digger, but had become good friends with Bobby and was a loving uncle to his nephew Christopher. And he had definitively beaten J.R. in the end, so even that feud was done. Overall I still say the portrayal of Cliff Barnes is the greatest outrage of this new series.

    • And now I just checked IMBD, and Melinda Clarke is only 7 years younger than Beth Toussaint, so I guess it’s not that bad.

      • Actually I thought Melinda Clarke looked a bunch older in last nights episode than she did in those publicity photoes that came with the casting announcment. Makeup did a good job and she was believable as a Bobby ex.

  3. I am not to familiar with Mackay family on Dallas, I am excited to see how this will all play out tonight and I am ready to get this drug deal story line wrapped up. I will say I have really enjoyed Dallas since it has come back this summer/fall program, I was against the split at first but now I see the benefit of doing it this way, I just hope it gets another shot on another night next season

  4. Thanks for refreshing my memory on the MacKay family. Looking so forward to tonight, to see what happens with this Tracey.

  5. It was scary & awe inspiring to see Tommy scream drunk from the booze when he was fighting alcohol’s demons. It was definitely a different way of channelling his rage that booze had over him than Miss Texas has done & continues to do in this sublime reboot.

  6. joesiegler says:

    A thought.

    If Ray sold his land to McKay and then later on to Michelle Stevens… That eventually ended up with Barnes, when he bought out JR’s half of Ewing Oil in the very last episodes?

    Also, while I know the events of “War of the Ewings” are now non canon, but at the time, what the heck was Ray selling then – if he sold off his land to Carter McKay?

    • If Barnes does own the Krebs/McKay ranch it is because he married Michelle right near the end. Not because he bought out Ewing Oil. That piece of land was seperate from Southfork ever since Jock gifted it to Ray and it never passed back into Ewing hands on screen.

  7. Very helpful! The McKays sound like a bunch of trouble. Despite what happened to Hunter, I hope they aren’t out of the picture yet.

    • Killing Hunter like that was so stupid. I guess we still have the mysterious brother that we haven’t seen yet, but they should have kept Hunter around. We barely got to know the character, and now he’s dead.

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