Dallas: War of the Ewings

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Dallas: War of the Ewings
Dallas War of the Ewings.jpg
Based on Characters created by David Jacobs
Written by Arthur Bernard Lewis
Julie Sayres
Story by Arthur Bernard Lewis
Directed by Michael Preece
Starring Patrick Duffy
Linda Gray
Larry Hagman
Michelle Johnson
Steve Kanaly
George Kennedy
Tracy Scoggins
Theme music composer Jerrold Immel
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Larry Hagman
Patrick Duffy
Producer(s) Elliot Friedgen
Cinematography Karl Kases
Editor(s) Bud Friedgen
Running time 120 minutes
Production company(s) Warner Bros. Television
Lakeside Productions
Distributor CBS
Original network CBS
Original release April 24, 1998 (1998-04-24)
Preceded by Dallas: J.R. Returns
Followed by Dallas (2012 TV series)

Dallas: War of the Ewings is a 1998 made-for-television film and is the second of two Dallas reunion films, following on from the weekly series that ran from 1978–91 and Dallas: J.R. Returns from 1996.[1] It aired on CBS on April 24, 1998, two decades after the original series premiere.

Plot summary[edit]

The opening scene is reminiscent of the shower scene with Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and Pamela Barnes Ewing from the original series, but with Sue Ellen Ewing (Linda Gray) entering and kissing Bobby. Again, this is a dream of J.R. Ewing's (Larry Hagman). Bobby and Sue Ellen now own Ewing Oil, and J.R., who seized control of West Star Oil from Carter McKay (George Kennedy) in J.R. Returns wants to regain the company. This would give him control of the top two independent oil companies in Texas. He applies for a loan to use in a hostile takeover, but is declined because he doesn't have enough assets to cover the loan.

Oil is discovered on Ray Krebbs's (Steve Kanaly) ranch. J.R. tries to use it as collateral for his loan. J.R. is unaware that the Krebbs ranch is in serious trouble. Ray has been living in Switzerland with his wife Jenna for several years, but is crippled by debt and has mortgaged his ranch several times. J.R. sets up a barroom brawl which is Ray's entrance into the movie. Ray doesn't tell J.R. of his troubles, but Bobby finds out and repeatedly tried to offer assistance. Ray stubbornly refuses, preferring to "clean up his own mess."

Unsuccessful at obtaining his loan, J.R. attempts to divide and conquer by destroying Bobby's and Sue Ellen's partnership. This tactic backfires when Sue Ellen tells him Carter McKay (who lost Westar to J.R), and his business associate Peter Ellington (Philip Anglim), has pitched a tip to Ewing Oil about a vast quantity of untapped oil. They refused to give more information until they strike a deal. Bobby doesn't trust McKay or want to do business with him because of their prior history. Sue Ellen thinks it's a fantastic way to overtake Weststar and is eager to make the deal.

Back at Southfork, J.R. sets up a cattle rustling, which fails when Bobby and his ranch hands force the rustlers to surrender to the police.

J.R. enlists the help of Jennifer Jantzen (Michelle Johnson) of Jantzen Oil to con a sale for Ewing Oil out of Bobby. The plan backfires when she slips and reveals her knowledge of McKay. Bobby smells his brother all over the deal and steams back to Southfork, where J.R. and Ray are arguing about his plans to buy the ranch from him.

J.R., busy keeping one eye over his shoulder, narrowly escapes death when a limo assigned for him explodes. Fortunately he was using Sue Ellen's limo, but she dismisses this as a setup because J.R. has faked his own death this way before. This time, though, it was the real thing. J.R. cheats death again when a mystery assailant attempts to shoot him but misses. He hires a private detective to find out who is behind this and continues to plot his takeover of Ewing Oil.

Jennifer Jantzen's conscience attacks, and she decides to start over with Bobby. The business and personal relationship between Sue Ellen and Bobby begins to crumble as Sue Ellen's aggressive, ambitious ownership style clashes with his cautiousness and pragmatism. Bobby's effort and enthusiasm at Ewing Oil is always half-hearted at best anyway as he is much happier running Southfork.

McKay reveals to Sue Ellen that the oil reserves are under Ray's ranch, and that as of that business day, he and J.R. were in the running to bid on them. Sue Ellen refuses to take advantage of Ray's misfortune or sanction McKay's entrance to Ewing Oil as a means of revenge upon J.R.

The day of the auction arrives, and McKay's associate Ellington takes Sue Ellen hostage at gunpoint. He demands that McKay win the bid for Ray's ranch. After bidding reaches $50 million, J.R. backs off, but not before revealing the hostage situation to Ray and Bobby, who save Sue Ellen. Ellington then reveals that the kidnapping was his doing, not McKay's. Ellington was responsible for the previous attempts on J.R.'s life, and shoots him when J.R. confronts him after Sue Ellen is held hostage. Sue Ellen, horrified, rips off J.R.'s shirt to reveal a bulletproof vest. J.R. says he's worn it since Ellington's first attempt.

McKay's victory is incomplete. He owns the ranch, but J.R. reminds him that J.R.'s father Jock Ewing ensured the Ewing family owned exclusive drilling rights on it. McKay can never profit from oil drilled on the land, and owns only the property. He is most unhappy at his expense of $50 million for land worth only $10 million.

Bobby leaves with Jennifer for a break in Europe....after punching J.R. for setting up a cattle rustling at Southfork. J.R. didn't tell the rustlers to use guns, but they did, and Bobby is furious. Someone might have been killed. Ray found out from a rustler in a bar that J.R. set it up.

Ray happily heads back to Europe $50 million richer. He thanks J.R. for unwittingly assisting him, aware that J.R. rigged the bidding to set up McKay rather than help him. He facetiously calls J.R. his second favorite brother. Sue Ellen slugs J.R. for trying to talk his way out of his dirty deeds. He flashes a huge grin.....as usual.


Dallas: War of the Ewings ranked 42nd for the week it was shown with a 7.8 rating.[2] By comparison, the previous Dallas TV movie J.R. Returns (shown in November 1996) ranked 14th for the week it was shown with a 13.4 rating.


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


Starring in alphabetical order
Guest Star
  • Mark Dalton as Rustler
  • Sean Hennigan as John Savory
  • Sonny Franks as Cowboy
  • Brad Leland as Deputy Sheriff
  • Amanda Welles as J.R.'s Secretary
  • Jerry Cotton as Detective Murphy
  • Constance Jones as TV Reporter
  • John William Hoge as Ratagan
  • Paul Pender as J.R.'s Body Guard
  • Matthew Tompkins as Stunt Drunk
  • Jerry Jones as Himself
  • Vernon Grote as Foreman
  • Zach Hope as Bellman
  • Alfred Biernat as Doorman
  • Russell Towery as Stunt Coordinator

DVD release[edit]

  • Warner Home Video released Dallas: War of the Ewings on DVD April 12, 2011 as part of the Dallas: The Movie Collection 2-disc set.[3]


  1. ^ Gates, Anita (24 April 1998). "TV WEEKEND; To Recap, J. R. Is Older; Pam's Still Dead". New York Times. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Curran, Barbara A. (2003). 25 Years of Dallas. United States: VBW Publishing. p. 372. ISBN 1-58939-583-2. 
  3. ^ Lambert, David (8 February 2011). "Dallas - Package Art - Front and Rear - Finally Arrives for 'The Movie Collection' DVDs". TVShowsOnDVD.Com. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 

External links[edit]