The Dal-List: Jock Ewing’s 15 Greatest Moments

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing

We still miss you, Daddy

Last month, Dallas Decoder critiqued “The Search,” the episode where “Dallas” bids farewell to the great Jim Davis. Here’s a look at 15 memorable moments featuring the actor and his mighty character, Jock Ewing.

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, John Ewing III Part 2,

Naming rights

15. Naming John Ross. The Ewings are in a waiting room at Dallas Memorial Hospital, where Sue Ellen has gone into labor. A nurse enters and tells J.R. his wife has given birth to a son, prompting a beaming Jock to declare, “John Ross Ewing III!” Did it ever occur to the Ewing patriarch that J.R. and Sue Ellen might want to choose their child’s name themselves? Do you think it would’ve mattered to him if they did? (“John Ewing III, Part 2”)

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Lucy Ewing, Prodigal Mother

Grandaddy knows best

14. Advising Lucy. The Ewings didn’t always want to hear Jock’s opinion, but usually he was right. Example: When Lucy (Charlene Tilton) was brooding after a spat with Mitch, Jock told her, “He’s a nice enough boy [but] you can do a lot better.” Lucy ignored Jock’s advice – she and Mitch got hitched – but she probably should’ve heeded Granddaddy’s wisdom. After all, the marriage lasted just 12 episodes. (“The Prodigal Mother”)

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing,  Julie Grey, Julie's Return

Friends with no benefits

13. Leaving Julie. After Jock suffered a heart attack, the Ewings began treating him like an invalid, causing him to turn to flirty ex-secretary Julie (Tina Louise) for comfort. It looked like their relationship might become a full-fledged affair – but Jock knew his limits. “I appreciate your friendship,” he told Julie, adding that things couldn’t go further because it would “hurt Miss Ellie too much.” Smart man. (“Julie’s Return”)

Barbecue, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing

Family man

12. Comforting Pam. During her first few weeks as a Ewing, poor Pam (Victoria Principal) was bullied, blackmailed, offered a bribe and held hostage. By the time J.R. caused her miscarriage, Bobby and his bride were ready to get the hell off Southfork – until Jock persuaded them to stay. “I want to keep my family together,” he told Pam as he sat at her bedside. It was our first glimpse of the tough Texan’s tender side. (“Barbecue”)

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal, Reunion Part 2

Best. Screencap. Ever.

11. “Buying” Pam. Jock was chilling on the Southfork patio when drunk Digger roared into the driveway, demanding $10,000 for Pam. “Ten thousand! There’s a hundred,” Jock huffed as he tossed a C-note at his ex-partner, who eagerly scooped it up and pronounced his daughter “sold.” If Pam felt insulted, she shouldn’t have. When a Ewing is willing to negotiate your purchase price, you know they truly care. (“Reunion, Part 2”)

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Miss Ellie Ewing, No More Mr. Nice Guy Part 1

You were thinking it too, Mama

10. Scolding Sue Ellen. Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) has just arrived at Dallas Memorial, where the Ewings are keeping vigil after J.R.’s shooting. Surely Jock will comfort his frantic daughter-in-law, right? Um, no. He accuses Sue Ellen of “gallivanting” while her husband is dying, prompting Kristin to defend Big Sis. “Sue Ellen was sick,” she says. Snaps Jock: “Sick? You mean drunk!” Harsh, but not untrue. (“No More Mr. Nice Guy, Part 1”)

Dallas, Dove Hunt, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing

Stare master

9. Confronting Owens. On a hunting trip, the Ewing men were ambushed by Tom Owens (Richard J. Wilkie), a farmer who claimed Jock ruined him decades earlier. Owens cocked his gun and aimed it at his wounded enemy, who didn’t blink. “If you’re gonna do it, do it!” Jock shouted, moments before the defeated Owens lowered the weapon and declared, “I’m not a killer.” You’re also no match for Jock Ewing, mister. (“The Dove Hunt”)

Dallas, David Wayne, Digger Barnes, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing

Frenemies forever

8. Destroying Digger. When Bobby and Pam announced her pregnancy at the Ewing Barbecue, Jock and Digger (David Wayne) shook hands and called a truce – which lasted all of three minutes. Digger broke the peace by criticizing Jock’s parenting skills, which prompted the Ewing patriarch to deliver a devastating takedown of his ex-partner (“He’s been a loser every day of his life.”) Yeah, it was cruel, but remember: Digger started it. (“Barbecue”)

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Silent Killer

Guts and glory

7. Joshing J.R. Jock spent a lot of time chewing out J.R. (Larry Hagman), but they had nice moments too. During one cocktail hour, when J.R. joked baby John Ross was becoming a “little fatty,” Jock playfully patted his eldest son’s belly and said, “Just like his daddy.” It was a reminder: Not only was Jock the only Ewing capable of reigning in J.R. – he was also the only one who could get away with razzing him. (“The Silent Killer”)

Daddy Dearest, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Ghost writer

6. Inspiring J.R. Virtually every “Dallas” episode after Jim Davis’s death seems to depict one Ewing or another taking inspiration from Jock’s memory. In one instance, J.R. stands in front of his daddy’s portrait and reads one of his old letters, which offers classic bits of wisdom like, “Never let the bastards get you down.” This is what makes Jock so cool: He doesn’t need to be alive to keep his family in line. (“Daddy Dearest”)

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Survival

Call waiting

5. Dispatching Ray. Another glimpse of Jock’s softer side: When the Ewing plane went down in Louisiana swampland with J.R. and Bobby aboard, the Ewing patriarch sent ranch foreman Ray (Steve Kanaly) to find his sons. The family kept vigil at Southfork until Ray finally called with good news: J.R. and Bobby were alive. “Bring them home,” Jock said. Davis’s eyes were wet when he delivered the line. So were ours. (“Survival”)

Dallas, Fourth Son, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly

Daddy issues

4. Accepting Ray. In another beautiful performance from Davis, Jock tells Ray he just found out he’s his daddy. The humble cowboy offers to keep this a secret to spare Jock grief from his family, but instead Jock summons everyone to the living room and proudly announces Ray is his son. This was a hard truth for some to accept (cough, cough J.R.), but it demonstrates how Jock never took the easy way out. (“The Fourth Son”)

Dallas, Gary Ewing, Jock Ewing, Jim Davis, Return Engagements, Ted Shackelford

Hug it out, fellas

3. Celebrating Gary and Val. When Jock learned Gary and Val (Ted Shackelford, Joan Van Ark) were getting remarried, he declined to attend; there was too much bad blood between father and son. But moments before the ceremony began, in walked Jock. “I believe I have a son getting married here today,” he said. “I’d like to attend … if I’m welcome.” Awww. You’re always welcome, big guy. (“Return Engagements”)

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Executive Wife, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Patrick Duffy

Power tip

2. Teaching Bobby. When Bobby (Patrick Duffy) felt Jock was undermining his authority at Ewing Oil, he loudly reminded his daddy that Jock “gave” him the power to run the company. In one of the all-time great “Dallas” scenes, Jock set his “boy” straight: “Nobody gives you power. Real power is something you take!” With those 10 words, Jock established the creed that would define the Ewings for generations to come. (“Executive Wife”)

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Mastectomy Part 2, Miss Ellie Ewing

Jock the rock

1. Loving Ellie. Few things move me more than the way Jock stood by Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) when she had her mastectomy. While Ellie struggled to deal with the loss of her breast, Jock never left her side, offering her the support and comfort she needed. Jock may have been a rich oil baron and a stern father, but above all, he was a devoted husband and Ellie’s best friend. The way he loved her made us love him. Ellie never stopped missing him. Neither have we. (“Mastectomy, Part 2”)

What do you consider Jock Ewing’s greatest moments? Share your choices below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘I Owe You, That’s All’

Dallas, Dove Hunt, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Down and out in Land Down

In “The Dove Hunt,” a third-season “Dallas” episode, an injured Jock and J.R. (Jim Davis, Larry Hagman) come face to face with Tom Owens (Robert J. Wilke), the man who attacked their campsite, and Owens’ son Dan and friend Ben Masters (Thomas Callaway, Stefan Gierasch).

JOCK: What do you want?

OWENS: You still don’t remember, Ewing. You steal a man’s farm, wipe him out, you still don’t remember.

JOCK: Now you look, mister –

OWENS: Owens.

JOCK: Owens, I do business with a lot of people.

OWENS: Thirty-two years ago, you came to my farm, personally. We stood as close as we are right now. You tried to get me to sell. When I wouldn’t, you spread some money around – and suddenly, nobody would buy my crops.

JOCK: All right, maybe I did lean on you too hard. But it seems to me you’ve waited a hell of a long time to get revenge.

OWENS: I didn’t want revenge. I wanted to spit in your eye.

JOCK: Then what’s all this?

OWENS: You crushed me like a bug – and after 32 years, you don’t even remember my name. You’re gonna pay for that. [Cocks his gun] My boy and I had to start all over again from nothing in Land Down.

MASTERS: Mr. Owens has made a lot of friends around here, you –

JOCK: The kind of friends that ambush people.

DAN: They all know my father’s story and who ruined him in Texas. Nobody’s gonna feel sorry for whatever happens here.

JOCK: So that’s it? You’re gonna kill me in cold blood, huh?

J.R.: Maybe we could make a deal, sir.

JOCK: No, J.R. [Leans forward] All right, Owens. Come on. If you’re gonna do it, do it!

OWENS: [Aims his rifle at Jock, holds it for several seconds, then lowers it] I can’t. I’m not a killer. When I thought you were gonna shoot my boy, I was gonna kill you. You got away with it. Give the devil his due.

Bobby and Ray (Patrick Duffy, Steve Kanaly) arrive and aim their guns at Owens’ group.

BOBBY: All right, drop your guns! We’ll blow you away! [The other men lower their guns; Bobby and Ray run toward them.]

RAY: Back up, both of you. Come on!

BOBBY: You all right, Daddy?

JOCK: I’m OK, Bobby.

J.R.: You bring a sheriff?

BOBBY: There’s no law in Land Down – and damn little help.

RAY: Forget that two-bit town. Let’s run these jokers down to state police.

JOCK: No need to involve the law here. I’m not bringing any charges.

BOBBY: Daddy, they tried to kills us.

J.R.: They should be put away, Dad.

JOCK: Just a hunting accident. Happens all the time.

OWENS: What are you trying to pull?

JOCK: Nothing. I owe you, that’s all. Back in those days, I ran roughshod over a lot of people. I don’t remember you, Owens. But I should have. Because you got a lot of pride. And when you get right down to it, that’s all a man can take to his grave. You made me think, Owens. Maybe this business has become too impersonal. J.R., we get back to town, there’s some records we’re going to go over. There might be some housecleaning we’ve got to do.

J.R.: Dad, you’re gonna need some rest, after you’ve been tended to. You lost a lot of blood.

JOCK: I’ll manage, J.R. Ray, Bobby, give them back their guns.

OWENS: This ain’t gonna buy you a place in heaven, Ewing.

Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 35 – ‘The Dove Hunt’

Dallas, Dove Hunt, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing

Facing his past

“The Dove Hunt” is a western, plain and true. It drops the Ewing men into the Louisiana wilderness, but it might as well transport them to the 18th-century frontier. The themes scriptwriters D.C. and Richard Fontana explore here – honor, justice, redemption – are timeless.

Throughout “The Dove Hunt,” we don’t know why craggy-faced Tom Owens is stalking the Ewings’ hunting party. In the next-to-last scene, Owens finally comes face to face with Jock and reveals he wants to avenge events from 32 years earlier, when Jock forced Owens to sell him his farmland, ruining him.

The tense confrontation climaxes when Owens points his rifle at Jock, who doesn’t flinch. “Come on,” Jock huffs. “If you’re gonna do it, do it.”

While composer John Parker builds a drumbeat in the background, director Leonard Katzman zooms in for tight close-ups of Jim Davis and Robert J. Wilke, the veteran villain-of-the-week (“Bonanza,” “Gunsmoke”) who plays Owens.

Finally, Owens lowers his gun. “I can’t. I’m not a killer,” he says.

What a great scene. We watch it knowing Owens isn’t really going to kill Jock – after all, this is 1970s episodic television, where the hero never dies – but the confrontation is still dramatic.

Much of the credit goes to Davis and Wilke. Both actors did a ton of westerns before “Dallas,” and they know exactly what a scene like this calls for. Wilke makes Owens menacing, while Davis’s steely courage has us rooting for Jock, even though we never doubt for a minute the Ewing patriarch wronged Owens when they were younger.

I also love the Fontanas’ beautiful dialogue at the end of the scene, when Owens asks Jock why he isn’t pressing charges against him.

“I owe you, that’s all,” Jock says. “Back in those days, I ran roughshod over a lot of people. I don’t remember you, Owens, but I should have – because you got a lot of pride. When you get right down to it, that’s all a man can take to his grave.”

Ultimately, this is what makes “The Dove Hunt” so good. There are no white hats and black hats here. Owens isn’t seeking revenge as much as he’s seeking justice, the only way he knows how; Jock’s redemptive impulses allow us to forgive him for strong-arming Owens all those years ago.

This is a western, but a morally ambiguous one. With “Dallas,” would we expect anything less?

Grade: A


Dallas, Dove Hunt, Robert J. Wilke, Tom Owens

Not a killer


Season 3, Episode 6

Airdate: October 26, 1979

Audience: 20.1 million homes, ranking 6th in the weekly ratings

Writers: D.C. Fontana and Richard Fontana

Director: Leonard Katzman

Synopsis: On a hunting trip, Jock and J.R. are ambushed by a farmer Jock once strong-armed in business. While awaiting rescue, Jock confesses to J.R. he was married briefly before Miss Ellie and later vows to make amends with people he treated unfairly while building Ewing Oil. Ellie has a lump in her breast examined.

Cast: Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Thomas Callaway (Dan Owens), Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepard), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Stefan Gierasch (Ben Masters), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Robert J. Wilke (Tom Owens), John Zaremba (Dr. Harlan Danvers)

“The Dove Hunt” is available on DVD and at and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.