Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘J.R. Ewing Doesn’t Get Ulcers’

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Strange Alliance

Guts and glory

In “Strange Alliance,” a seventh-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) is sitting with his boots propped up on his office desk, eating pizza, when Vaughn (Dennis Patrick) enters.


J.R.: [Chewing] Picked up some pizza. You want some?

VAUGHN: Oh, no thanks. I think my ulcer’s been acting up lately. [Sits]

J.R.: Oh, hell, that’s a shame. But I guess a high-pressure job like you’ve got, ulcers aren’t so unusual, are they?

VAUGHN: No. Don’t you ever have trouble with your stomach, J.R.?

J.R.: [Chewing] Only when there’s too much of it. I once did business with a man who said, “J.R. Ewing doesn’t get ulcers. He gives ’em.” [Chuckles] Well, now, have you heard from Cliff Barnes lately?

VAUGHN: Not for a while.

J.R.: Well, you will soon. My sources tell me that he’s drilled down two miles already and you know he hasn’t hit a thing. And he’s starting to complain about how much food his crews eat. So I figure he’s just about out of his own money right now.

VAUGHN: I thought it wouldn’t take too long. I heard he paid premium time and a bonus to get that exploration rig out there in a hurry.

J.R.: [Sips a glass of beer] Mm-hmm. Yeah, I expect he’s going to be knocking on your door, wanting to tap in on that next hundred million.

VAUGHN: Do I give him some?

J.R.: Sure. We don’t want to pull the plug on him yet, do we? [Snickers]

VAUGHN: How much?

J.R.: Well, not as much as he’s going to ask for, which I figure is going to be around 30 million or so. No, you persuade him to take 20 million, providing of course he has acceptable collateral.

VAUGHN: [Opens his suitcase, retrieves a piece of paper] Well, he’s already put up Barnes-Wentworth. Now, these holdings are the rest of his collateral. [Hands the paper to J.R., who studies it]

J.R.: Well, these are kind of shaky holdings, aren’t they? Well, you just tell him that acceptable collateral is everything on this list — except for the two on the bottom. [Hands the paper back to Vaughn, who looks at it]

VAUGHN: Muprhy land and the Kesey field. Why these two?

J.R.: [Serious] Well, that’s personal, Vaughn. [A beat] Oh, well, he swiped those properties right from underneath my nose. And if he wants money bad enough, he just might sell for 25 cents on the dollar.

VAUGHN: [Smiling] No, he’d never sell them to you, no matter how much he needed the money.

J.R.: [Snickers] No. Not if he knows I’m the buyer. But he won’t. Just like he won’t know that I’m going to take over his precious Gold Canyon 340. And then it’ll all be over. And it’ll all be mine. And the Barnes family — Cliff and that little sister of his — will be just be bad memories. [Chuckles]


  1. This was the J.R. Ewing I loved. Scheming and plotting, and so at ease and sure of himself while doing it.

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