On March 22nd, 1986, CBS aired the 150-minute miniseries entitled DALLAS: THE EARLY YEARS. In this telemovie DAVID JACOBS, creator of the EWING SAGA, narrated the beginning of the love-hate relationship between both families. The plot covered an over 20-year period to develop the secrets of the rivalry between the EWINGS and the BARNESES. The story includes an introduction by old J.R., who starts a conversation with a reporter around those early years...SOUTHFORK RANCH, november 1951. The EWINGS and the SOUTHWORTHES are holding their annual barbecue to honor the war veterans, when comes over WILLARD "DIGGER" BARNES with a bottle in one hand and a pistol in the other. He is going to try to kill JOCK EWING...WHY...? What ever happened 15 years before that caused that crazy, desperate gesture...?
Back in 1933, the SOUTHFORK RANCH, owned by AARON and BARBARA SOUTHWORTH, is the background to a traditional annual party in which takes place the romantic encounter between the beautiful daughter of the SOUTHWORTH marriage, 15-year-old ELLIE, and the 17-year-old WILLARD BARNES. She thinks she is in love with him and hopes to share her future with him. The planned marriage will mean the ultimate union of the SOUTHFORK lands that partly belong to WILLARD, who inherited them from his deceased father. The boyīs drinking habit and the entry of an ambitious and determined JOCK EWING, will radically change the things and that future planned by ELLIE and WILLARD, who has met JOCK and his brother JASON (future father of JACK and JAMIEīs) with whom he has created a little company to drill oil in REGAL, TEXAS.
WILLARD has the ability to detect the "black gold", while JOCK has the strenght and determination to strike it out and merchandise it. It seems to be the ideal combination, but things get entangled again due to WILLARDīs drinking, who soon feels attracted to gambling, above all when, after introducing his best friend JOCK and the woman who represents everything to him, ELLIE, discovers that a great love has blossomed between them and ELLIE canīt feel anything for him but a brotherly love. ELLIE, whose father has a very bad health condition, is forced to get married in order to save the ranch. One night, she prefers to choose JOCK over DIGGER...This disappointment ultimately sinks DIGGER down and, during one of his drinking blackouts, resigns to his share of the ranch ownership when AARON and JOCK propose him to sell it to them. DIGGER doesnīt pay attention, but JOCK signs the check that closes the deal.
20 years have passed by. BARNES is ready to leave DALLAS forever and visits the land he used to own for last time. As he gets there, a familiar expression appears in his face: there is OIL in that ground. That is too much for DIGGER, who, with an angry gesture, leads to SOUTHFORK with vengeance in his mind...WILLARD gets his pistol out of his jacket pocket and points at JOCK EWING, who is watching him from the house balcony. But he missed the shot, indeed. Itīs 1951. Hatred is definitely sewed among the EWINGS and the BARNESES, in presence of 5 children: 16-year-old J.R., who takes every sex advance; shy BOBBY, naughty GARY, grumpy CLIFF and charming PAM, whose ages oscillate between 3 and 7. The story ends with the image of 2 kids playing, until a moody little boy called CLIFF takes his sister apart from the youngest EWING, and away from SOUTHFORK, as the main title rises. The rest is HISTORY.