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Cliff Barnes in Dallas

Digger, in a moment of weakness, announced to the press that Cliff was the real father of John Ross. This brought on a series of lawsuits between the Barneses and the Ewings, which were resolved in a series of sophisticated blood tests that proved that JR was the real father of John Ross. Cliff was crushed, angry, but in a way relieved, too, for it meant that the boy had not inherited the dreaded disease, neurofibermitosis, the genes for which Cliff had recently learned he carried. It meant, however, that Cliff could never risk fathering a child in the future.
Cliff kept running at full steam for the congressional seat on a liberal platform, with what he believed to be his solid backing by minority groups. He was anti-oil and anti-nukes, and his speeches were received with resounding enthusiasm. And then, suddenly he had no more money in his campaign chest. Cliff soon learned that Alan Beam worked for JR and that JR himself had financed Cliff’s campaign to lure him out of the OLM. Once out of the OLM JR pulled the money out from under him and Cliff’s following, mostly the poor couldn’t make up for the loss. Cliff was forced to drop out of the race. Another one he owed JR Ewing.

Cliff felt like he was in no-man’s-land. He was having a very hard time finding a job. In the spring of 1980, he found a position as and Assistant District Attorney for Dallas County. I was no means like the OLM position, but it was effective, and Cliff was quickly all over the Ewings again.

The case that Cliff felt would bring down Jock Ewing once and for all - the murder of Hutch McKinney in 1952 - turned around and damaged the Barneses in the end. When a skeleton had been discovered on Southfork, Cliff lead a brilliant investigation, recreating the occurrences on the night of the murder and even the face of McKinney with the help of a forensic sculpture made from the skull. Everything pointed to Jock - his firing McKinney, their two fights, and Jock’s gun as the murder weapon - but on his deathbed, Cliff’s very own father confessed to the murder. Digger shot him after he learned that McKinney was having an affair with his wife Rebecca.

Digger’s death deeply saddened Cliff. Though Digger hadn’t been more than a drunk for as long as Cliff could remember, he was the only parent he ever had, and one that inspired Cliff in his career. Cliff had always wanted to make good in his father’s stead, and he vowed to continue in his memory.

Cliff was hit by yet another blow in 1980 when he was arrested for the attempted murder of JR Ewing, who had recently cut him out of his fair share of the profits from the oil field Ewing 23. He was cleared of the murder, but the incident ruined his career at the D.A.’s office.

Then, on a brighter note, Cliff crossed paths with former Governor Sam Culver’s widow, the young and lovely Donna Culver. They had known each other at the University of Texas, and politically they were sympathetic. Donna helped get him a job as Dave Culver’s (Sam’s son) legislative council during his campaign for the U.S. Senate. Meanwhile, Cliff and Donna had become romantically involved. When Culver won the election, it left his seat in the Texas State Senate open. Cliff thought that the political committee would ask him to run - which he very badly wanted to do - but they asked Donna instead, who declined and endorsed Bobby Ewing. Cliff was very upset and more than a little hurt. When he confronted Donna, she said, "Remember when you said you’d be a great second man, Cliff? You were right. You are a great second man. We just don’t think you’d be a great first man." That apparently meant personally as well, for Donna abruptly dumped Cliff for Ray Krebbs.

However, surprise of all surprises, after Bobby Ewing won the election, Cliff was appointed his legal council. In the course of the spring of 1981, while Cliff was compiling state’s evidence against JR Ewing for engineering the overthrow of a foreign government that had nationalized his Asian oil wells, Cliff’s mother, Rebecca Wentworth, made a dramatic reentry into his life. She was a lovely woman and, after much debating, gave into his love for her and forgave her for her desertion. It also delighted Cliff that his mother was an important lady who was wealthy and powerful in her own right. His newfound family provided some comfort when JR managed to bribe and blackmail himself out of a guilty verdict in the state hearing. It was outrageous that anyone, even JR, could get away with overthrowing a foreign government. This case also caused a parting of the ways between Cliff and Bobby.

Cliff Barnes and Afton Cooper in Dallas

Another positive note during this difficult time was Cliff’s involvement with the stunning Afton Cooper, Lucy Ewing Cooper’s sister-in-law and JR’s former mistress.

She was a singer in a Cliff’s longtime watering hole, the Stardrift Lounge, and he was first lured to her because of her connection to JR After he stole Afton from JR he found himself becoming truly interested in her as a person, though he was hesitant about making a commitment. The first time they went to bed together, she said, "You’re about the best lover I’ve ever had" and that was saying a lot, in light of her rather flamboyant past in Biloxi, Mississippi, and in Dallas. But what pleased him most was her statement that he was a much more considerate, tender lover than JR had ever been.

One evening, in the late spring of 1981, Cliff was at Southfork and discovered the body of Kristin Shepard, Sue Ellen’s sister, floating in the pool. He dove in and pulled her out and tried to revive her, but it was too late. JR accused Cliff of murdering her, and Cliff accused JR, since he was the only one who had been with her before she died. Eventually the coroner declared the death accidental and the case was dismissed. It was decided that Kristin had fallen from the balcony while under the influence of a great quantity PCP.

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