Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘You Can’t Lose’

Dack Rambo, Dallas, Jack Ewing, Terms of Estrangement

True Ewing

In “Terms of Estrangement,” an eighth-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) meets a stranger (Dack Rambo) at the Oil Baron’s Club, unaware that it’s his cousin, Jack.

JACK: Well, Mr. Ewing, I’m glad you could find time to make this meeting. I think you’ll find it time well spent.

J.R.: Well, I certainly hope so. I haven’t got a hell of a lot left.

JACK: First, I’d like to discuss the terms of our agreement.

J.R.: All right, shoot.

Cassie (Anne C. Lucas) approaches with J.R.’s drink.

CASSIE: Here you are, Mr. Ewing.

J.R.: Thank you, thank you, Cassie.

JACK: If I could stop Jason Ewing’s daughter and Digger Barnes’s son from stealing two-thirds of Ewing Oil, I think maybe a fair compensation would be 10 percent of Ewing Oil for myself.

J.R.: Oh, really? Well, I can give you a lot of money, but nobody but a Ewing is ever going to own Ewing Oil.

JACK: Cliff Barnes is not a Ewing. Unless you make a deal with me, Cliff Barnes is going to be sitting in your office.

J.R.: No way, and I’m not going to give you a piece of my company.

JACK: [Chuckles] Mr. Ewing, I’m saving you 66 percent and asking for 10 in return. Now I could ask for 20, 30, it’d still be a good deal for you. I’m just trying to be reasonable. [Sips his drink]

J.R.: And if I say no?

JACK: You lose control of Ewing Oil to Barnes.

J.R.: And you lose too.

JACK: [Chuckles] Not quite. No, I’ll sell my silence to Barnes. Let him destroy the information that proves he has no legal claim on Ewing Oil.

J.R.: Well, I could go to trial and win.

JACK: No, you could go to trial and gamble away your inheritance.

J.R.: Are you telling me that the papers Barnes has are not real?

JACK: Oh, no, they’re very real. But I think I’ve got something better. Look at it this way. If what I’m selling doesn’t hold up in court, you don’t owe me a dime. You can’t lose.

J.R.: Who are you?

JACK: Well, who I am doesn’t really matter. What does matter is whether or not we have a deal. [Reaches inside his jacket pocket, takes out a pin, scribbles on a napkin] Now, here is my number. If I don’t hear from you real soon, Cliff Barnes will hear from me. [Hands J.R. the napkin] See you.

Watch this scene in “Terms of Estrangement,” available on DVD and at Amazon and iTunes, and share your comments below.