Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘You’re in Over Your Head, Barnes’

Mr. Curious

Mr. Curious

In “And the Winner Is …,” a seventh-season “Dallas” episode, Cliff (Ken Kercheval) is at the Oil Baron’s Club when he spots J.R. (Larry Hagman).

CLIFF: What are you doing here?

J.R.: Curiosity. I wanted to see if the biggest idiot in the oil business was really going to show his face here tonight.

CLIFF: Well, you are a sore loser.

J.R.: Yeah, maybe. But I’ve been in this business a long time, Cliff. And you’re just a rookie. You’re in over your head, Barnes. You’re not going to bring those wells in, so I’m going to give you a little piece of advice: Cut your losses. Forfeit that 20 percent deposit you had to give the government.

CLIFF: You suggesting I get out?

J.R.: Well, I’m telling you that a $32 million loss is a hell of a lot better for you than the loss of your whole company that your mother gave to you.

CLIFF: That’s a rich tract. There are millions of dollars worth of oil down there.

J.R.: You wouldn’t recognize oil if it was dripping out of your crankcase.

CLIFF: And you can’t stand the fact that Barnes-Wentworth is going to be bigger than Ewing ever dreamed of being.

J.R.: Barnes, you’re as dumb as your daddy used to be. You know the difference between your daddy and my daddy? My daddy knew how to invest in the right talent and the right tools. He knew how to pump oil out of the ground. But your daddy claimed that he could sniff oil out of the ground. Didn’t need anything but his nose. The only place his nose ever led him was skid row.

CLIFF: I’ll tell you where your mouth’s going to lead you.

J.R.: You were right about one thing, Cliff. There is oil in that tract. Millions and millions of dollars worth of oil. But you’re not going to get it. You’re going to bankrupt your mama’s company and wind up just like your daddy: a drunk and a bum.

CLIFF: I’ll show you who can find oil because I am drilling full out and there isn’t anybody who’s going to stop me. And when I hit, I’m going to buy and sell Ewing Oil.

J.R. chuckles and walks away.


  1. After Larry died, Ken and Patrick talked about what great friends Ken & Larry were & that their battles on screen were so ridiculously fun for them. I believe the adroit Chris of DALLAS Decoder fame has featured a commentary on this.

  2. I always liked the original Cliff character – he was always knocked down but still came back fighting for his Daddy’s honor.

  3. The lighting in this scene is just incredible.

  4. Ken Kercheval had a unique talent of selling over the top acting as plausible. If anybody else would attempt to play it the way he did, you’d likely accuse them of Shatner-ing it up too much. But Ken makes it feel natural.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: