The Big Valley tells the tale of the heroic Barkley clan of northern California. Each character, depending on the storyline, fulfills all or part of the monomyth and also functions as an archetype, or representation, of an ideal hero. Widow and matriarch Victoria Barkley is the moral center of the show. She rules with an iron hand of equal parts justice and mercy. Oldest son Jared represents the intellectual, level-headed rational hero. Son Nick is all emotion and fire and passion, with equal attributes and flaws aplenty. Daughter Audra is the impetuous youth who yearns for a place of importance and struggles with her blossoming independence. Younger son Heath is the strong, silent hero who is capable of both cold, cunning feats and tender, loving acts. He is an amalgamation of Jared and Nick.
Campbell’s monomyth, and a typical Big Valley episode, is comprised of 4 parts:
1) The hero receives a call to adventure. A Barkley, often more than one, is thrown into unusual, challenging circumstances and an opportunity to be a hero arises.
2) The hero faces trials and tribulations. Unfathomable, near-impossible dangers develop and a Barkley is taken to the brink of death, insanity, insolvency or disgrace. Often, the hero enlists help from people he has impressed or influenced in the early stages of facing the challenge.
3) The hero overcomes the challenge and is given a priceless gift, sometimes in the form of a new friend or relationship and most often in the discovery of certain self-knowledge.
4) The hero returns and applies the gift. A Barkley imparts the lessons learned in acquiring the gift and improves the family, the ranch, or the community.
4 seasons, 112 episodes, countless gifts. Watch the Barkley heroes personify the monomyth, and share in their gift.
From September 2010, http://raising-a-man.tumblr.com