How Did Cliff Barnes Get Ewing Oil?

The long-running feud between J.R. Ewing and Cliff Barnes over control of Ewing Oil is the stuff of Dallas legend. Their epic power struggles kept viewers glued to their TV screens throughout the original series and the 2012 revival.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Cliff Barnes took over Ewing Oil after J.R.’s suicide when ownership transferred to his rival per the terms of J.R.’s will.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the full history documenting Cliff’s mission to get Ewing Oil including key events like:

– The original battle over Ewing Oil that drove the Barnes-Ewing rivalry

– Jock Ewing willing control of Ewing Oil to J.R., cutting Cliff out

– Cliff teaming up with Jamie Ewing and later Sue Ellen to undermine J.R.

– Cliff finally gaining control after J.R.’s death

The Origins of the Barnes-Ewing Oil Rivalry

The Barnes-Ewing Oil rivalry, which became a central plotline in the popular TV show “Dallas,” had its roots in the establishment of Ewing Oil by Jock and Digger.

Establishment of Ewing Oil by Jock and Digger

In the early days of the oil industry, Jock Ewing and Digger Barnes were both ambitious and determined to make their mark. They started out as friends and business partners, drilling for oil together in the fields of Texas.

Jock Ewing, a charismatic and shrewd businessman, had a vision of creating a prosperous oil empire that would span generations. With his strong leadership and strategic thinking, he was able to build a successful oil company, Ewing Oil, which quickly became a major player in the industry.

Digger Barnes, on the other hand, had a more reckless and impulsive nature. While he had the skills and knowledge of the oil business, his unpredictable behavior and constant clashes with Jock eventually led to their falling out.

The Falling Out Over Oil Claims and Leadership

One of the main sources of conflict between Jock and Digger was their differing opinions on oil claims and leadership. As Ewing Oil grew in size and influence, both men became increasingly competitive and territorial.

There were several instances where Jock and Digger clashed over oil fields and drilling rights. Each believed they had the rightful claim to certain areas, leading to heated arguments and bitter disputes.

These disagreements ultimately strained their friendship and led to a complete breakdown in their partnership.

Furthermore, the issue of leadership within Ewing Oil became a major point of contention. Both Jock and Digger had strong personalities and wanted to be in charge. Their conflicting visions for the company’s future, coupled with their egos, made it impossible for them to work together harmoniously.

The Foundation for Lifelong Enmity

The falling out between Jock and Digger set the stage for the lifelong enmity between the Ewing and Barnes families. The rivalry extended beyond just the business realm and became deeply personal.

Over the years, the Barnes family harbored a deep resentment towards the Ewings, blaming them for their own misfortunes and failures. This animosity fueled their determination to take down Ewing Oil and seek revenge against the Ewing family.

The Barnes-Ewing Oil rivalry became a central theme in “Dallas,” captivating audiences with its drama, intrigue, and complex characters. It served as a reminder of the high stakes and cutthroat nature of the oil industry, where personal vendettas and rivalries could shape the course of an entire dynasty.

Jock Hands Control to J.R., Fueling Cliff’s Drive

One of the key factors that played a significant role in Cliff Barnes’ eventual acquisition of Ewing Oil was the decision made by Jock Ewing, the patriarch of the Ewing family, to hand control of the company to his son J.R. Ewing.

This decision fueled Cliff’s drive to take over the company and seek revenge against the Ewing family.

Jock’s Favoritism towards J.R.

Jock Ewing had always favored his son J.R. over Cliff Barnes, which created a sense of resentment in Cliff. J.R. was known for his cunning and ruthless business tactics, making him the perfect successor in Jock’s eyes.

This favoritism only added fuel to Cliff’s determination to prove himself and take control of Ewing Oil.

Cliff’s Motivation for Revenge

Cliff Barnes had a long-standing rivalry with J.R. Ewing and the entire Ewing family. This rivalry stemmed from his belief that the Ewings had sabotaged his father’s oil business, leaving the Barnes family in financial ruin.

Cliff saw taking over Ewing Oil as the ultimate revenge and a way to regain his family’s lost prestige and wealth.

The Power Shift

When Jock Ewing handed control of Ewing Oil to J.R., it created a power shift within the company. J.R. now had the authority and resources to make significant decisions and expand the business, while Cliff was left on the outside looking in.

This power shift only fueled Cliff’s determination to find a way to take over the company.

Cliff’s Strategic Moves

Cliff Barnes was not one to sit idly by and watch his rival succeed. He strategically planned his moves, using his position as a lawyer to gather information and exploit any weaknesses within Ewing Oil.

Cliff’s relentless pursuit of his goal, coupled with his legal expertise, allowed him to navigate the complex world of oil business and position himself as a formidable opponent to the Ewings.

Cliff’s Failed Partnerships to Topple J.R.

Cliff Barnes, the long-time rival of J.R. Ewing, made several attempts to take control of Ewing Oil throughout the years. One strategy he employed was forming partnerships with key individuals who he believed could help him achieve his goal.

Unfortunately for Cliff, these partnerships ultimately failed, leaving him further from his dream of owning Ewing Oil.

Working with Jamie Ewing

One of Cliff’s attempts to gain control of Ewing Oil was by aligning himself with Jamie Ewing, J.R.’s niece. Jamie, feeling excluded from her family’s business, was initially interested in teaming up with Cliff to take down J.R.

However, their partnership quickly faltered as Jamie realized Cliff’s true intentions. She saw through his manipulative tactics and ultimately chose to stand by her family, leaving Cliff without a valuable ally.

According to, Cliff’s partnership with Jamie was doomed from the start. The website explains that Jamie was not easily swayed by Cliff’s promises and saw the potential damage he could cause to her family and their legacy.

Ultimately, her loyalty to the Ewing family prevailed, and Cliff was left to search for a new partner.

Aligning with Sue Ellen

In another attempt to gain control of Ewing Oil, Cliff formed an alliance with Sue Ellen, J.R.’s ex-wife. Sue Ellen, fed up with J.R.’s manipulations, saw an opportunity to get back at him by joining forces with Cliff.

However, their partnership proved to be short-lived, as Sue Ellen soon realized that Cliff’s motivations were driven by revenge rather than a genuine desire to run the company.

Did Cliff’s failed partnerships contribute to his inability to acquire Ewing Oil? The answer is yes. His inability to build strong alliances and gain the trust of key individuals ultimately hindered his chances of achieving his goal.

While Cliff’s determination and persistence were admirable, his strategies often lacked the substance and authenticity needed for success.

Cliff Gets Ewing Oil After J.R’s Death

After the untimely demise of J.R. Ewing, the iconic character from the hit TV series “Dallas,” the question on everyone’s mind was: who would inherit his beloved Ewing Oil? Surprisingly, it was none other than his long-time rival, Cliff Barnes, who ultimately ended up with the company.

The Unexpected Twist

The turn of events came as a shock to viewers and fans of the show, who had witnessed the bitter rivalry between J.R. and Cliff throughout the series. While the two constantly fought and schemed against each other, it seemed highly unlikely that Cliff would ever gain control of the prestigious Ewing Oil.

However, J.R.’s death opened up new opportunities, allowing Cliff to make a bold move to secure the company for himself. With J.R. out of the picture, Cliff saw a chance to finally get revenge and prove himself as a worthy adversary.

Cliff’s Determination and Strategic Maneuvers

Cliff Barnes was known for his relentless determination and strategic thinking. In his quest to obtain Ewing Oil, he leveraged his connections and used his knowledge of the oil industry to his advantage.

He strategically aligned himself with key players and made calculated moves that ultimately led to his acquisition of the company.

Cliff’s ability to manipulate situations and outsmart his opponents was instrumental in his success. He capitalized on the opportunity presented by J.R.’s absence and used it to his advantage, proving that he was not to be underestimated.

The Legacy of J.R. Ewing

Despite Cliff’s victory in acquiring Ewing Oil, it is important to acknowledge the lasting impact of J.R. Ewing on the company. J.R. was a central figure in the oil industry and his influence on Ewing Oil cannot be ignored.

His cunning strategies and ruthless tactics were legendary, making him a force to be reckoned with.

While Cliff may have inherited the company, he had big shoes to fill and was constantly compared to J.R.’s legacy. The shadow of J.R. loomed large over Cliff’s tenure at Ewing Oil, and he faced significant challenges in living up to the reputation of his predecessor.


The legendary feud between J.R. Ewing and Cliff Barnes underscores that business rivalry can often get fiercely personal. Their epic battles over Ewing Oil included betrayal, backstabbing and bitterness on both sides.

In the end, Cliff realized his lifelong ambition to wrest control of Ewing Oil away from the Ewings. But it came at the ultimate price – losing his nemesis J.R. for good with no chance for payback or final triumph.

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