Category Archives: The Men From Shiloh

Peter Breck (1929-2012)

Late last year I was very pleased to learn that cable station INSP were broadcasting all four seasons of The Big Valley (1965-69). As a long time fan of the show and its wonderful theme music I began watching episodes and became a fan all over again. Wonderful location photography, fine acting and thoughtful scripts plus some fine work from The Virginian’s L. Q. Jones who appeared in five episodes.

Of course the Barkley family was the backbone of the show. Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Long, Lee Majors (The Men From Shiloh), Linda Evans and Peter Breck as Nick Barkley. The hot tempered member of the family always ready for a fight but also willing to listen to reason. He was a sucker for a pretty girl and more often than not they led him into trouble.  The romantic life of a TV Western character was never easy.  Breck’s strong personality and personal integrity shone through the character of Nick Barkley. You symapthized with him. He stood up for himself and his family and wouldn’t tolerate fools gladly.

Peter Breck guest starred with James Drury in an episode of Black Saddle (1959) and also appeared in The Virginian episode “Rope of Lies” (2:25) and The Men From Shiloh episode “Hannah” (9:13). James Drury has recorded a wonderful tribute to Peter Breck which you can view on Peter Breck’s official website.

After watching The Big Valley re-reuns it was my intention to begin work on a book on the series. I contacted Peter Breck’s wife before his sad passing. She told me the company who owns the rights are very protective of their property and charge high fees for permission to publish photographs from the show. So I placed my project on hold. I would love to write a book on the series but for now fans can watch the TV show on DVD and INSP weekdays (three episodes per day).

Although Peter Breck is no longer here with us in the flesh his spirit lives on in his fine screen performances. Rest in Peace.

The Men From Shiloh : The Virginian Season 9 Missing From Encore Westerns

I originally posted this November 15, 2009 little knowing one year later Encore Westerns would disappoint fans by excluding it from their broadcasts of The Virginian. To exclude the final season is selling the fans short. For those who missed my post first time around or who haven’t located it in my archives here it is again. I’m only sorry loyal fans aren’t able to watch this season on Encore Westerns and judge the merits of the season for themselves..

Was the choice of ditching Percy Faith’s distinctive theme and the familiar ride-in sequence in favor of Ennio Morriconne’s Spaghetti Western influenced theme and tinted images a mistake?  It’s a matter of opinion.  I like the new theme and graphics but feel they belong to a spin-off show and not the 9th season.  The departure is too radical and feels alien to the original concept of The Virginian TV series.

The definite mistake was Trampas’ new outfit and his mustache.  And a dry stoical ‘batman’ replacing any female regular at Shiloh Ranch.

The new format never had time to grow on audiences before the cancellation of The Men From Shiloh in 1971.  An era was at an end.

The Virginian – The Men From Shiloh

Was the choice of ditching Percy Faith’s distinctive theme and the familiar ride-in sequence in favor of Ennio Morriconne’s Spaghetti Western influenced theme and tinted images a mistake?  It’s a matter of opinion.  I like the new theme and graphics but feel they belong to a spin-off show and not the 9th season.  The departure is too radical and feels alien to the original concept of The Virginian TV series.

The definite mistake was Trampas’ new outfit and his mustache.  And a dry stoical ‘batman’ replacing any female regular at Shiloh Ranch.

The new format never had time to grow on audiences before the cancellation of The Men From Shiloh in 1971.  An era was at an end.