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Cliff Barnes in Dallas

When he got out of the hospital, a remorseful Marilee Stone offered him a job at her company. Cliff was so demoralized, he wavered, leaning toward no, but when Rebecca offered him his old job at Wentwoth Tool & Die, out of pride, he accepted Marilee’s offer, becoming Senior Vice President of Operations for Stonehurst Oil.
Cliff left Stonehurst shortly thereafter, when Rebecca bought out Wade Oil and asked Cliff to run it for her. At first he turned her down, saying that he did not have the stomach to fight JR anymore, which he knew his mother wanted him to do. But Rebecca, with fiery revenge glistening in her eyes, persisted, literally pushing him into the Presidents chair of the new Barnes-Wentwoth Oil Company. It was to Cliff’s liking and he stayed.

Cliff made his first big deal, leading the cartel behind him, by acquiring Al Thurman’s very profitable oil refinery. It was not a coincidence that JR had been desperately trying to buy it, and Cliff wasn’t exactly sure why Thurman had swung the deal his way and not JR’s, but he didn’t care, so long as he got it. The cartel was very pleased with the acquisition.

Cliff won there, but not on the personal front. JR not so nicely offered him an invitation to his wedding to Sue Ellen. Despite Afton’s protests-she was now living with Cliff- he insisted on attending. It was painful for Cliff, and he had to leave in the middle of the ceremony because he couldn’t stand to watch it.

With the cartel’s blessing, Cliff continued to harass JR and block his search for a refinery to service his newly created Ewing Gas, but Cliff was side tracked on his eve of victory. He was supposed to leave for Houston to lock up the last available refinery when he found out why Al Thurman had sold his refinery to him. Afton had prostituted herself on his behalf. Cliff was horrified by the news and couldn’t bear Afton’s pleas for understanding. He ended up leaving the apartment and drifting from bar to bar, on a drinking binge. When Cliff couldn’t be located, Rebecca decided to close the refinery deal herself. Shortly after take off, tragedy struck and the Wentworth plane crashed and Rebecca died soon after.

Cliff was close to suicide again, from the guilt and grief. It barely registered that he had inherited Barnes-Wentworth Oil lock stock, and barrel, and a third of Wentworth Industries. He just didn’t care. Eventually, Pamela’s retelling of Rebecca’s deathbed declaration of forgiveness and love for Cliff penetrated his guilt and he was able to forgive himself.

After Pamela and Bobby had separated, Bobby Ewing tried to pry out of Katherine’s half sister, Katherine, the use of Wentworth Tool & Die’s experimental Tundra Torque, which could penetrate icy, rock-hard ground. He wanted to use it on his frozen Macleish fields in northern Canada. Cliff was opposed to letting him have it. Cliff knew that Bobby would have to sell the fields if he didn’t have the Tundra Torque-the Ewing Oil contest with JR was still going on- and he wanted to buy the fields for himself. However, Pamela, still mooning over Bobby, voted with Katherine and let him have the drill bit.

Though Cliff was angered by Pamela’s actions, he was more worried about her well being. Her separation from Bobby had taken a heavy toll on her, and he thought it best that she got involved in something to take her mind off of it. He arranged for the creation of a new company with a division of Graison Industries, which was owned by Pam’s new beau, Mark Graison. To his delight, his sister joined him as a senior executive of Barnes/Wentworth/Graison.

Cliff found a better way to counterplay the Ewings- by employing a spy there, a secretary named Sly. She fed him information on pending deals at Ewing Oil, and Cliff managed to pull several profitable deals out from under them.

At the Oil Baron’s Ball in the fall of 1983, Cliff was honored by being named Oil Man of the Year for his company’s development of the Tundra Torque. Upon acceptance of the award, Cliff announced the establishment of the Willard Barnes Memorial Scholarship to SMU in memory of his father. Cliff also used his time in the spotlight to tell what he considered to the true story of how Jock Ewing swindled his father out his fortune. This greatly angered the Ewings and resulted in a brawl after the speech.

Still being fed information by Sly on Ewing Oil activities, Cliff thought he was getting the inside scoop JR had on government offshore drilling leases that were being auctioned. Cliff discussed the possibilities with Marilee Stone, which also resulted in a brief affair that caused a rift between Cliff and Afton. Marilee agreed to go in with Cliff as a silent partner on the bidding of one tract, the oil rich Gold Canyon 340. Sly fed Cliff the bidding figures that JR had apparently blackmailed the auctioneer, Edgar Randolph, and so, in the allegedly blind auction, Cliff put in a bid that he felt was just over Ewing Oil’s bid- a bid the would win the tract. Ewing Oil did not bid the $155,000,000 that they were supposed to. They actually bid quite low, almost as if they did not want to win. Though confused by this, Cliff was still pleased by the acquisition of Gold Canyon 340 for $157,000,000.

It was a staggering amount of money, but Cliff knew that it was almost a sure bet. Then Marilee mysteriously pulled Stonehurst out of the deal on the angry declaration that Cliff had spread the word that she was his silent partner. He had done no such thing, and now he was suspicious that JR might be involved in this somewhere. Now Barnes-Wentworth had to shoulder the venture by itself, risking all assets.

Cliff got financing for the project from Vaughn Leland, and Cliff, in haste to begin drilling, waived some of the fine print concerning the collateral against nonpayment.

The drilling began and…nothing. The overhead was frighteningly expensive and when he came up empty he nervously persisted. He had to pay back the first of the loan payments while still maintaining drilling, and he was forced to start selling off Barnes-Wentworth assets unrelated to Gold Canyon 340. Once these were gone, Cliff was going to approach Mark Graison for a loan, but Mark committed suicide. He couldn’t talk to poor Pam in her present state, so he went to Katherine, offering his interest in Wentworth Tool & Die.

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