If you’re going to turn a classic, television western into a movie, shouldn’t it be Bonanza? And if not Bonanza, Gunsmoke? And if not Gunsmoke, then Little House on the Prairie? I’m not sure where The Big Valley falls in the TV westerns which should be turned into movies pecking order, but I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere below Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Yet here we are. And here it is. A movie version of Big Valley.

THR says Big Valley is happening and Susan Sarandon is negotiating to play the family matriarch, Victoria Barkley. The show was set in 1870s California and originally Barbara Stanwyck played Victoria. The series told the story of the richest, most powerful family in the San Joaquin Valley. It was kind of like Dallas, except without all those horseless carriages. The Barkley family lived together managing their vast holdings in ranching, mining, growing, and logging. At no point was there any basketball playing.

It sounds like a pretty boring idea for a movie, particularly with the general disinterest out there in Westerns. When the show debuted on ABC in the 60s, people were cowboy crazy and they’d watch literally anything if you made the lead character wear spurs. Everything was better with a ten-gallon hat. Big Valley was a product of a time when cowboys were the modern-day equivalent of vampires. Now make this movie about a family of ranching vampires, and you’ll sell tickets. Cowboy soap operas, though, seem long past their expiration date. Here’s hoping they surprise us. Getting Sarandon is a step in the right direction.

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