Saturday, August 30, 2014


Yesterday we took a look at the presence of Big Mike McComb on board that riverboat near the end of the movie "Maverick".  And I mentioned that Bret Maverick's other associates - Dandy Jim Buckley, Gentleman Jack Darby, and Miss Samantha Crawford - were not seen among the crowd of players and/or spectators.  (We already know the sad reason why Bart Maverick didn't make an appearance.)

But what happened to those other three "friends" of Bret?  Here are my suggestions.....

[played by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.]

You'll notice that I put "friends" in quotation marks earlier.  These three were more con men than they were professional poker players like Bret.  As such they could never be fully trusted.  (All except for Big Mike, I think; his loyalty was never in question.)

But of them all, Dandy Jim was the most untrustworthy.  He had no compunction in the past to leave Bret behind in jail, charged with a murder for which Dandy Jim had been accused.  It's almost surprising that he came to Maverick's defense at all when they pulled that "Shady Deal At Sunny Acres".

So I think Bret sided with caution and never offered an invite to Dandy Jim to give him a hand in this riverboat gamble.

[played by Richard Long]

Although Gentleman Jack Darby helped out Bret with that "Shady Deal At Sunny Acres", he was better known to Bart Maverick.  You can't exactly call them friends, not when Jack got Bart arrested as the "real" Jack Darby when they first met.  But as long as Bart didn't ease his guard around Jack, they got along fine.

However, Gentleman Jack Darby pulled a long con on not only Bret and Bart Maverick, but on everyone who knew him... as Jack Darby.  That wasn't his real name.

It is the belief of the Toobworld Central committee that "Gentleman Jack Darby" was the alias used by Jarrod Barkley ('The Big Valley') during the years he sowed his wild oats after graduating with a law degree.  It was during this time that he met Bart Maverick in three episodes of 'Maverick': 

- Alias Bart Maverick (1958)

- The Spanish Dancer (1958) 

- The Goose-Drownder (1959)

(The broadcast order of 'Maverick' episodes is not that same as the order established for the Toobworld Timeline.  Chronologically, 'Maverick' jumped all over the map.  Sometimes they even overlapped.)

He may have been Jarrod here,
But that's a Gentleman Jack smile!
But Jarrod AKA Gentleman Jack soon returned home to Stockton, California, to begin practice as a lawyer and to help run the family ranch after the death of his father Tom Barkley.

But at one point during the 1870s, Jarrod felt it necessary to leave the ranch and pick up his old habits as "Gentleman Jack Darby".  This occurred after the death of Jarrod's wife Beth and Jarrod went nearly berserk with rage, nearly killing the man whom Jarrod believed was the murderer.  Becoming Gentleman Jack Darby again was one way to escape his true self.  

What gave him the idea was a message he received from Bart Maverick, asking for Gentleman Jack Darby's assistance in a scheme to help out his brother Bret.  (I suspect Jarrod used his law office in Stockton as a forwarding address for any mail he might receive as Gentleman Jack.)  Taking part in that "Shady Deal At Sunny Acres" was the tonic needed for Jarrod to restore his equilibrium and he was able to return to his mother's side to once again run the ranch with his brothers Nick and Heath and to watch over Audra, his younger sister*.  

Jarrod arrives back in Stockton,
Met at the train station by his mother, Victoria Barkley
I'd like to think that Jarrod Barkley lived far longer than the actor who played him, Richard Long.  (Usually I don't like to let a character well-established with one particular actor having a lifespan longer that that actor - Archie Bunker, and now Bret Maverick/Jim Rockford being good examples of that.  But in this case, if they recast Jarrod, they'd also be recasting the entire Barkley family, so any new production of 'The Big Valley' might as well be placed in an alternate TV dimension.)

Richard Long died of a heart attack just four days after his 47th birthday.  But I think we can assume Jarrod lived to a ripe old age, perhaps marrying again and starting his own branch of the Barkley family tree.  And who knows?  Maybe in the early part of the 20th Century, Bret Maverick Senior did send out a message for help from Gentleman Jack Darby once more.  But Jarrod would be too set in his ways as the patriarch of the Barkley family in Stockton to take up the call.....

[as played by Diane Brewster]

I saved the lady for last because her Toobworld story has more resonance for the "Maverick" movie......

Samantha Crawford was a confidence trickster and when necessary, a thief.  When we first met her on our TV screens, it wasn't even in an episode of 'Maverick'!  She teamed up with 'Cheyenne Bodie' during a cattle drive in the episode "Dark River".  (Roy Huggins, who created the character, would say that they were two different women, but if that had been the case, Toobworld Central might have felt compelled to move her appearance on 'Cheyenne' - and perhaps that entire series! - over to an alternate dimension, probably Pre-Toobworld.  And because of Cheyenne's connection to so many other TV Westerns and a TV movie, that would become problematic.  So this is one time when I have to ignore the Creator's vision.) 

Samantha Crawford appeared with Bret in the following episodes of 'Maverick'
  • "According To Hoyle"
  • "Shady Deal At Sunny Acres"
  • "The Seventh Hand"

(She was also in "The Savage Hills" with Bart.)  

But even though there would be plenty of other women in Bret's life afterwards - Modesty Blaine, Melody Blake, and Ellen Johnson among them - it would be Samantha Crawford who won his heart despite her being so untrustworthy.  Although not seen onscreen during the run of the show, Bret and Samantha eventually married and settled down - as best they could - to a life of normalcy.  (This would be the Toobworld splainin as to why we didn't see Bret in the last two seasons of the series.  Remember - the real world splainin about the contract dispute plays no part in Toobworld's "reality".)

Bret and Samantha had a son, Bret Junior.  But when Bret Maverick once again showed up on our TV screens - first with his nephew Ben Maverick, and then in the town of Sweetwater - there was no sign of nor any mention of Samantha or Bret Junior.  

I'm afraid the answer has to be that Samantha eventually died.  As for Bret Junior, Bret probably put him into a private school - and one where he could hone the family traits for gambling and gun play.

And that's why Samantha wasn't there on the riverboat - at least physically.  I'm sure she was still there in the hearts of her husband and her son.....

Happy Trails To You!

*By this point in time, brother Eugene Barkley had severed ties with the family and even changed his last name to "Barclay".  He established a newspaper in the Los Angeles area and began his own financial dynasty.  See the "Sins Of The Father" two-parter of 'Diagnosis Murder'.

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