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Cliff Barnes in Dallas

After all the bad publicity in the recent months, Cliff was unable to find a job in Dallas. As he confided to his mother, "My long fight with the Ewings left me with some powerful enemies. Dallas may look like a big city, but in many ways it acts like a small town. The people who count all know each other….I’m now on their list". Rebecca enthusiastically offered him the presidency of Wentworth Tool & Die, a small subsidiary of Wentworth Industries, which made parts for oil rigs. Cliff happily accepted and did extraordinarily well during the fall of 1981.
When JR stockpiled five million barrels of oil in an effort to shut down the Farlow refineries, Cliff approached and convinced the cartel to go in with him and buy up JR’s promissory notes to the bank, which held Ewing Oil as collateral. In a deft maneuver, Cliff was in the position of offering J.R a desperately needed ten-day extension on the loan, for which JR had to pay him with Ewing 6, the field that Jock Ewing had stolen from Digger so many years ago. Cliff received the transfer of ownership and christened the field Barnes-Wentworth #1.

After Sue Ellen Ewing obtained a divorce from JR and then broke up with Dusty Farlow, she moved back to Dallas. Cliff saw her again and found that he was still deeply in love with her. He had Afton Cooper in his life as a sure thing, and, though he didn’t want to hurt her, he started seeing Sue Ellen again on any terms she granted. He finally told Afton the truth and Afton, very much in love with Cliff, opted to wait and see.

Despite the corporate structure that Rebecca’s husband had set up in Wentworth Industries- with an overall, ruling president in the Houston headquarters- in early 1982 Cliff asked for, and received, complete autonomy at Wentworth Tool & Die. His relationship with Sue Ellen was going extremely well, and it was a very happy man that pounced on the deal that fellow cartel member Marilee Stone presented him with: a rich oil field in Lubbock that she and Cliff could buy out from under JR Cliff gleefully plunged into the deal, putting $3,5000,000 of Wentworth Tool & Die cash (which the company comptroller warned Cliff against doing), plus his own savings of $500,000 (from the profits of Barnes-Wentworth #1), while Marilee’s company, Stonehurst, put in $2,500,000. Once the acquisition was completed, Cliff drew out another $500,000 from Wentworth to cover the starting up costs for drilling.

Betting that this well was going to make him a very rich man, Cliff asked Sue Ellen to marry him. Her loving request to for a little time to think things over led him to believe that there was a very good chance that she’d accept.

Cliff was completely flabbergasted when JR walked into his office one day, grinning from ear to ear, and announced that he had tricked Cliff into buying a dry hole. When Cliff cited the geological reports, JR said they were fake. Cliff was stunned and redoubled drilling efforts for a short while, but then finally accepted the fact that he had been swindled out of $4,500,000.

He was now frantic because the loss of $4,000,000 could put Wentworth Tool & Die out of business and, not knowing where to turn, he went to Sue Ellen to borrow the money to pay back the company. She blew up and threw him out, along with his proposal of marriage. Then JR showed up and offered to buy Barnes-Wentworth #1 back from Cliff for $4,000,000, which he could in turn pay back to Wentworth Tool & Die. Cliff had no choice but to sell the field, although it was worth much, much more. He had lost all of his own money and his mother’s respect. Regardless of the fact that he paid back the money he had borrowed from Wentworth Tool & Die, Rebecca fired him.

Cliff was, simply, blasted out of the water. He had lost Sue Ellen, his mother’s trust, his job, and all of his money. He began to drink heavily, but managed to pull himself together just long enough to make one last attempt with Sue Ellen. She broke his heart by telling him that she had decided to remarry JR For Cliff that clinched it- there was nothing left. When Afton came to his apartment that night, she found him lying unconscious on the floor. He had tried to kill himself with an overdose of tranquilizers, washed down with alcohol.

Cliff pulled through, but he was on very shaky emotional ground. When Sue Ellen came to see him and said she wanted to be friends, he replied, deeply depressed, that she should just go on without him. Though Afton was still lovingly at his side, he didn’t feel that he deserved her. Rebecca and Pam were there to support him, but he was so troubled, so sick at heart, that he could barely hear their words.

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