Harman Patil (Editor)

Dallas: J.R. Returns

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Written by  Arthur Bernard Lewis
Directed by  Leonard Katzman
Screenplay by  Leonard Katzman
Theme music composer  Jerrold Immel
Based on  Characters created by David Jacobs
Starring  Rosalind Allen Christopher Demetral Patrick Duffy Linda Gray Larry Hagman Omri Katz Deborah Kellner George Kennedy Ken Kercheval Audrey Landers Tracy Scoggins

Dallas: J.R. Returns is a 1996 made-for-television film and is the first of two Dallas reunion films, produced after the series went off the air in 1991. It originally aired on CBS on November 15, 1996, and was rerun as part of TV Land's salute to 50 years of Warner Bros. Television.


Plot summary

The cliffhanger ending of the 1991 Dallas series finale is resolved 26 minutes into the movie. The gunshot J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) fired was at the mirror, not himself. (despite there being no sound of shattered glass when he pulled the trigger)

Several years later, J.R. is in Europe, while Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) lives at Southfork alone with his son Christopher (Christopher Demetral), happily out of the oil business, and Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) now owns Ewing Oil, relishing the fact that he finally beat J.R.

However, things aren't as cheery as they may seem. Bobby, conscious of the fact that Southfork is now almost empty, considers selling it. Meanwhile, Cliff, weary of the oil business, decides that after all the trouble he and J.R. went through during their rivalry, he wants to try to regain whatever he lost in it. Cliff concludes that the best way to do so is to sell Ewing Oil to Weststar Oil, a giant Oil conglomerate headed by J.R.'s other nemesis, Carter McKay (George Kennedy). McKay promises that Weststar will incorporate Ewing Oil's assets into his company, and Ewing Oil will cease to exist. J.R. hears this and decides to try to regain his position. He appeals to Bobby to get back in business together and buy Ewing Oil back but is rebuffed. J.R. arranges for Afton (Audrey Landers) to be put in a sanitarium so Cliff can't find her.

After a surprise trip to Ewing Oil where he taunts a rattled Cliff, J.R. learns of a provision in Jock Ewing's will where Jock left J.R.'s son, John Ross (Omri Katz), stock in the computer company Cyberbyte, which now has a value of $200,000,000. The provision states that John Ross is only to receive this stock upon the death of his father. However, since John Ross is living in Europe and is unaware of his inheritance, J.R. decides to sell some of this stock and buy shares to take over Weststar. He sells the stock portfolio and buys a controlling stake in Weststar Oil. To cover his tracks, J.R. rebuys the stock and reinstates the provision, saying that if anyone finds out about the incident, he will claim that they were released to John Ross Ewing, Jr. (J.R.) instead of his son (full name John Ross Ewing III) in a clerical error.

To set this in motion, he fakes his death in a car accident and has his attorney "accidentally" put the shares in his name instead of his son's. Thinking that J.R. has died, Bobby holds a memorial service, with John Ross and Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) attending and Cliff in quiet celebration, believing he's won the ultimate victory over J.R....until J.R. returns to Southfork. He claims to have been kidnapped and escaped. Sly is disgusted and resigns as J.R's assistant.

In the final moments of the show, J.R. is the majority shareholder in Weststar, and he uses that clout to force McKay to back out of buying Ewing Oil. McKay says that Cliff sold Ewing Oil to someone else already. After being sent a letter notifying him of his daughter's whereabouts, Cliff decided that finding his family is more important than beating J.R., but Bobby figured out a way that Cliff can have both, and he bought Ewing Oil. Bobby later realizes that he was tricked back into the oil business by J.R. who knew getting Bobby off Southfork would force him not to sell. J.R. maneuvered the board to remove McKay as Chairman of Weststar and for himself to take his place.

An unhappy Bobby sells half of the company to his new partner, Sue Ellen Ewing. J.R. appears shocked and crushed. Bobby, Sue Ellen, and Cliff believe they pulled one more over on J.R. A drunken and bitter Sly (Deborah Rennard) had tipped off Sue Ellen that J.R. faked his own death. Sue Ellen suspected this all along and was neither surprised or even that angry but felt that J.R needed to be taught a lesson. Cliff, meanwhile, greets Afton and their daughter Pamela (Deborah Kellner) outside the sanitarium after Afton is released and they leave to be a family.

In the last scene, John Ross asks J.R. why he is smiling even though he lost Ewing Oil to Bobby and Sue Ellen. J.R. points out that Bobby is back in the oil business and is no longer going to sell Southfork. Ewing Oil is back in Ewing hands while J.R. is now Chairman of the Board at Weststar Oil. Sue Ellen is back at Southfork to stay, and John Ross will remain in Dallas to learn the oil business from J.R. John Ross realizes that his father planned everything to work out this way. JR's last words are, "You see, John Ross? You're learning already."


Dallas: J.R. Returns was a ratings success for the CBS Network, and ranked 14th place for the week it was shown, with a 13.4 rating. Its success prompted Warner Bros. to produce a reunion miniseries for the Dallas spin-off series Knots Landing (entitled Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac) in 1997. A second Dallas TV movie, War of the Ewings, was produced in 1998.


As with War of the Ewings (1998), the events depicted in J.R. Returns are ignored for the revival series, which premiered on TNT in 2012.


Starring in alphabetical order
  • Rosalind Allen as Julia Cunningham
  • Christopher Demetral as Christopher Ewing
  • Patrick Duffy as Bobby Ewing
  • Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing
  • Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing
  • Omri Katz as John Ross Ewing III
  • Deborah Kellner as Pamela Rebecca Cooper
  • George Kennedy as Carter McKay
  • Ken Kercheval as Cliff Barnes
  • Audrey Landers as Afton Cooper
  • Tracy Scoggins as Anita Smithfield
  • Guest Stars
  • Deborah Rennard as Sly Lovegren
  • Buck Taylor as Steve Grisham
  • George O. Petrie as Harv Smithfield
  • DVD release

    Warner Home Video released Dallas: J.R. Returns on DVD April 12, 2011 as part of the Dallas: The Movie Collection 2-disc set.


    Dallas: J.R. Returns Wikipedia