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Miss Ellie Ewing  in Dallas

The years rolled along, and in 1979 Ellie was handed a shock. Her brother, Garrison-after almost forty years of being thought dead-reappeared at Southfork. Since Ellie had inherited Southfork from her father only because of Garrison's alleged death, she felt honor-bound to offer him the ranch. The entire Ewing family recoiled in horror, but Ellie was persistent; she believed in the tradition of family land following blood lineage. To everyone's relief but Ellie's, Garrison was not interested in Southfork, since he was dying of cancer and only wanted to spend his final days on the land where he was born, near the sister he cherished. It was a sad day-yet somehow happy-when Ellie put her brother to rest on Southfork.

In 1979, Ellie had the scare of her life. She discovered a lump in her breast and was forced to have a lifesaving mastectomy, during which the malignant tumor and twelve lymph nodes were removed. It was so terribly frightening, because it was one of the few sets of circumstances where Ellie had absolutely no control over the outcome, no way to 'fight it herself. Her disfigurement and shaken self-image were something she had to wrestle with for years, but the brush with death also reaffirmed her zest and passion for life, for, indeed, it was more precious than ever.

The year 1980 proved to be even more painful for Ellie. Another fight erupted over Gary, and after Ray Krebbs was revealed to be Jock's son, all of Miss Ellie's anger over Gary's departure from Southfork came roaring to the surface. She accused Jock of abandoning, as a father, not only Gary but also J.R. and Bobby, in favor of Ray. And then, when Ellie and the DOA joined forces with Donna Culver Krebbs to stop the Takapa development project from destroying a wilderness area in East Texas and she found out that Jock, of all people, was one of the developers, her rage was complete. She felt betrayed on all levels, Worse yet, she thought that perhaps she had been married all of these years to a man she had never really known. Ellie's anger was further fueled by Jock's self-righteous response, and she went so far as to go to a lawyer and begin divorce proceedings. After their youngest son, Bobby, fortunately got involved, and settled the Takapa project problem to everyone's satisfaction, Miss Ellie and Jock rose above their mutual anger and stubbornness and were lovingly reconciled.

In 1981, while Jock was working down in South America, Miss Ellie had to step into the business of Ewing Oil to pull the company back on track from J.R.'s disastrous course. In an effort to force Clayton Farlow to kick Sue Ellen off the Southern Cross Ranch in San Angelo, J.R. had bought all the oil that normally fed Farlow's refineries. It was a great plan, except that J.R. used all the resources of Ewing Oil to do it, and the bottom fell out of the oil market. Ewing Oil was holding five million barrels of crude without a buyer in sight-a loss that endangered the solvency of the company. With her shoulders thrown back and her head held high, Miss Ellie flew to the Southern Cross in the Southfork helicopter and struck a deal with Clayton that saved the day. In addition, she won a new friend in Clayton. She was pleasantly taken by this robust man and thought how much like Jock he was, and how much Jock himself would like him. The night of the Ewing Barbecue in 1981 was the worst night of Ellie's life. She was notified that Jock's helicopter had crashed in a storm in South America and that he was presumed dead. Her boys flew there and found evidence to confirm that Ellie's beloved Jock was truly dead. She was devastated. Her shock and her grief pushed her into a semicatatonic emotional state where she simply refused to believe that her husband was gone. The family agonized over her behavior, her denial, but it wasn't until 1982 that she came to terms with the truth. At a quiet family dinner one night, Miss Ellie rose from the table and rushed into the kitchen and there, venting all of her grief and anguish over Jock's death, smashed every piece of crockery within her reach. Following the night of the Oil Baron's Ball, when the Jock Ewing Memorial Scholarships were announced, Miss Ellie told her family that it was time to declare Jock legally dead and to read his will.

The will was, in many ways, the last straw for Ellie. Its instructions-J.R. and Bobby each running half of Ewing Oil, and battling each other for a year-resulted in a nightmare for everyone in the family. No one took it harder than Miss Ellie. Power, and the struggle for it, may have suited Jock, but it had never brought out the best in her sons. For the next few months, Ellie was torn this way and that, trying to protect her sons from each other and keep some semblance of a family. Finally, in desperation at how ugly the competition had become, Ellie was pushed to move in and try to break Jock's will, under the pretense that he was not in his right mind when he wrote it.

It was the last thing on earth she wanted to do-to publicly denounce her husband's state of mind-but she was frantic to keep the family together. Despite her efforts, the court upheld the will and Ellie, exhausted, was forced to the sidelines while her sons battled it out. Had it not been for the counsel she received from Clayton Farlow and the support from her daughterin-law Pamela, no one knew what would have happened to her.

By 1983 the family's problems had worn Ellie down, and her health started to fail. Alarmed, Clayton wisely took her away from all of the chaos at Southfork and brought her to Takapa Resort. There, while under a doctor's supervision, Ellie received badly needed rest and, perhaps the best cure of all, love from Clayton. She recovered fully, which was a good thing, since in her absence the family unity had been blown to kingdom come. Ellie became engaged to Clayton soon after and, with her strength supported by his, started to replenish Southfork with love.

Ellie had no pretensions about replacing Jock with Clayton, but certainly Clayton was the kind of man of whom Jock would have approved. The couple had their differences to work out-that he had to move to Southfork, for example-and their personal trials to overcome-Ellie's fear that Clayton would be turned off by her mastectomy--but they got through all of it, strengthening their bond, becoming solid and real.

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