What Is The Dallas TV Show About?

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What Is The Dallas TV Show About?

Dallas is an American prime time television soap opera that consists of 357 episodes that aired from 1978-1991. Dallas is all about the saga of the wealthy and feuding Ewing family. The Ewing family owns the cattle-ranching land of Southfork and the independent oil company, Ewing Oil and the TV show follows their lives and what happens to that family while they are living near Dallas. 

In the series, the patriarch, Jock, has three sons, J.R. (being the eldest and the ambitious CEO of Ewing Oil), Bobby, and Gary.

The series follows the story of J.R’s father, Jock Ewing, who had allegedly cheated his one-time partner, Digger Barnes, of his share of the Ewing Oil company. He had also married the love of Digger's life, Miss Ellie. For these reasons, a long-lasting feud is created between the two men. Their sons, J.R Ewing and Cliff Barnes grow up and inherit this anger towards each other. It is this anger that fuels the plot of the series. 

Through the course of the show, the Ewing and Barnes families go through a quagmire of interpersonal fights and conflicts. Love, betrayal, greed, pride and an intense desire in the warring parties to bring each other down are a constant theme throughout the story. J.R., being a cunning and ruthless man, is willing to go to any length to have his way. Cliff, on the other hand, constantly plots to bring J.R. and the Ewing family down.

In the midst of theis, Bobby Ewing (J.R.'s brother) and Pamela Barnes (Cliff's sister) fall in love and get married. The marriage between Bobby and Pamela, both respective members of the feuding families, is one of the main storylines of the series.

Dallas is a wild tale of power, wealth, intriguing schemes, and definitely entertaining feuds. There's an unending saga of gunfights, accidents, secret affairs, and people backstabbing one another both in their personal and business lives.

This show quite resembled the 1980s T.V. show, Dynasty, but had a more modest presentation with the characters wearing just jeans to breakfast. This is as opposed to the characters in Dynasty who dressed up for breakfast. Plus, Southfork, which was the home of Dallas's characters, was big but not a mansion.

If you are interested in reading some of the reviews of the show or seeing the complete series on DVD you can find it on our website by clicking here. 

Some major characters in Dallas

Jock Ewing

Jock is the patriarch of the Ewing family and founder/ chairman of Ewing Oil. He is father to 3 sons in the series; J.R, Bobby, and Gary. The oil company he builds causes a lot of jealousy in his friend, Digger Barnes. Jock made his first son J.R. the ruthless and cunning oil baron he becomes. Having given J.R. an obsession for big business, he doesn't teach him when to stop. He spoils his youngest son, Bobby, and when he retires as president of Ewing Oil, he puts J.R. in charge. He presumably died in a helicopter crash, and even though his body was never found, he was declared dead in 1982.

J.R Ewing

The show's most famous character, J.R, is a manipulative, egocentric, and covetous oil baron who has no morals. He has psychopathic tendencies and is always plotting to plunder the wealth of his enemies. He is seen as the 'bad man' and even takes pride in his villainous nature, not thinking twice about blackmailing and resorting to bribes to get his way. J.R., however, has emotional sides, which the viewers get to see how he loves his family.

Miss Ellie Ewing

She is the Ewing family matriarch, married to Jock Ewing. She marries Jock to save the ranch, Southfork but grows to love him truly. A loving and strong mother, her character is central to that of Jock till his death in a 1981 episode.

Bobby Ewing

He is Jock Ewing's youngest son, who is more interested in enjoying the benefits of being an Ewing. He marries Pamela Barnes, who's from the family of the rival oil tycoon, Cliff. Unlike J.R., he has a deep desire to do the right thing and often challenges J.R., even physically. In spite of this, they always remember they are brothers.

Pamela Barnes Ewing

She falls in love with and marries Bobby Ewing even though he's from the rival family of the Ewing's. She has to also endure suspicion and hostility from the Ewing family as a member of the rival family. The love relationship that Bobby has with her is very central to the entire plot of Dallas, which has a lot to do with family feuds.

Cliff Barnes

He is the son of 'Digger' Barnes and brother to Pamela Barnes. With J.R, Cliff continues the feud that existed between their fathers Jock and Digger. Working as an investigator of corruption in oil companies, it's not surprising that he targets Ewing Oil. He eventually takes over Ewing Oil, getting something over J.R. after a very long feud.

Was Dallas shot in Southfork?

The entire pilot season was shot on location in Dallas, Texas, as well as at the Cloyce Box Ranch in Frisco, Texas. Subsequently, many interiors for the show would be filmed at the MGM Studios in Culver City, California. Some exteriors were also shot at the Southfork Ranch in Parker, Texas, alongside other parts of Dallas.

By the time of filming season 13, production costs had risen. For this reason, the entire shoot was relocated to and shot in California. The members of the cast and crew normally spent between 6-8 weeks shooting on-location sequences during summer in the Dallas area, and then they would shoot the remaining parts of the film in Los Angeles.

Not up to half of the episodes in a particular season had on-location sequences that were shot in Dallas. Instead, a full-size replica of the backyard and pool at the Southfork Ranch had been built to make it possible to film 'location' shots in the subsequent parts of the season.

Dallas's Spin-off

Dallas also had a spin-off called Knots Landing, which would gain much popularity following the widespread popularity of Dallas. The show had already been made before the creation of Dallas, but the producers couldn't sell it. When Dallas became a hit, and a spin-off was required, Knots Landing came in handy.


Dallas has many twists and turns in the plot over its 14 seasons. Dallas was really a popular show because of these plot twists. Many people credit Dallas as introducing soap opera type drama to the United States and with the incredible popularity of Dallas many soap operas were born. 

On top of the 14 seasons Dallas also had 3 movies that were produced that were: 

  • The Early Years
  • J.R. Returns
  • The Return to Southfork

We currently carry the complete series of all 357 episodes as well as all 3 movies for only $147.99. You can find that box set by clicking here. 

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