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Sue Ellen Ewing in Dallas

John Ross Ewing III’s life hung in the balance for a few days, but with little notice from Sue Ellen. She had slumped into a massive depression and could barely even feign interest in her son, or in anything, for that matter. Zombie-like, she returned to Southfork and was kept under careful guard by JR. The subsequent kidnapping and safe return of John Ross scarcely registered with her—she was. just too depressed, despondent. Her life was a shambles and there was nothing she could do about it. JR. tried to patch things up between them for the sake of appearances, but Sue Ellen openly hated him. When he bought her a terribly expensive maternity ring, she merely said, "I’m no longer for sale, JR" And when he reminded her that she was married to him, she glared at him:
SUE ELLEN: I am not your wife, JR. A wife is someone who shares her husband’s life, who cares for him and is cared for in return. That hardly describes our relationship.

JR.: How would you describe it, Sue Ellen?

SUE ELLEN: I would say it was sick—very sick, JR.

Near emotional collapse, Sue Ellen started seeing a psychiatrist, Dr. Elby, four times a week. JR., of course, tried to blackmail him into telling him everything Sue Ellen said in her sessions, but Elby resisted him and continued to treat her.

Over the next months, he was crucial in her sorting out her feelings about her son and breaking through her depression. She came to love her son with an intensity that surprised even JR—particularly after they found out it was JR’s baby, not Cliff’s.

At the Ewing Rodeo in 1979, Sue Ellen met rodeo star Dusty Farlow and, in the ensuing weeks, had a wonderfully passionate love affair with him. He fulfilled her every desire, emotionally as well as physically, and she began to plan her escape from JR, taking John Ross with her to Dusty. She hadn’t been able to leave JR for Cliff because Cliff was too vulnerable to JR.’s power, but Dusty was the son of the immensely wealthy and powerful Clayton Farlow, who had enough resources to protect her. The problem was that if she divorced JR, in light of her drinking history and this ‘desertion," the court would surely give custody of John Ross to JR. And so Sue Ellen started working on building her image as the perfect mother and devoted wife, while having a private investigator compile a file on JR.’s constant infidelities. (He was having an affair with Sue Ellen’s own sister, for starters.) JR caught on to what was happening and mounted his counterattack. He framed Sue Ellen, making it appear that she had started drinking again, and destroyed the investigator’s file on him. It appeared to all the Ewings that Sue Ellen had relapsed again, and they all clucked their sympathies to JR. Not being able to withstand the pressure JR was putting on her, Sue Ellen decided that she had to leave Southfork immediately—divorce hearing or no divorce hearing. When she went to meet Dusty to confirm her plan, she was met with the news that his plane had crashed en route to Dallas and he was dead. Sue Ellen was stunned. Her rising grief and despair said that her life had ended right along with Dusty’s, so she picked up a drink for real and didn’t stop.

Kristin shot JR EwingOne day in 1980, Sue Ellen was told by her sister, Kristin, that she had shot JR. during a blackout. Plagued with guilt, Sue Ellen never left his side at the hospital. When the gun used in the shooting was discovered in Sue Ellen’s closet at Southfork, she was accused of attempted murder and taken to jail. The Ewings refused to bail her out. Someone else did. Who, Sue Ellen didn’t know.

It turned out that Kristin had shot JR and framed Sue Ellen, who was so beaten by the experience that she wanted only to return quietly to Southfork and be with her son. She and JR. tried a tentative truce for a while, but when JR started playing around with Lucy’s fiance's sister, Afton Cooper, Sue Ellen angrily gave up on the marriage and told her husband that she would follow his style and seek her own romantic life.

At Lucy’s wedding reception, Sue Ellen ran into Clint Ogden, who was still as much in love with her as ever. Sue Ellen and he resumed the passion of their college years, until she was confronted by Clint’s wife, who was so much in love with Clint that she offered to share him with Sue Ellen. Sue Ellen knew the kind of pain the woman was feeling and immediately put an end to the affair.

After being followed for a number of weeks, Sue Ellen was shocked to find that her mysterious tail was Dusty. He had not died but had been crippled by the plane crash and, because he couldn’t walk, didn’t think he could be a full man for Sue Ellen. He had wanted her to go on with her life thinking him dead. He was the one who had posted her bail. Sue Ellen didn’t care whether he was in a wheelchair or not—she was joyous that he was alive—and it restored her desire to be alive as well. Alive and happy! She left JR. and dear Pam brought John Ross to her. and the two Ewings moved onto the Southern Cross Ranch with the Farlows.

In the spring of 1981, Sue Ellen’s sister, Kristin, died in an accident at Southfork. It was tragic in that Kristin, addictive like Sue Ellen, had gotten herself in serious trouble with drugs. Despite Kristin’s indiscretion with JR.. Sue Ellen had loved her sister very much, and she mourned such a senseless, wasteful way for the young woman to die.

There were problems with Dusty. Though he gradually learned walk again, even ride, he was impotent. which made him feel hopelessly made inadequate. Actually, all this turned out to be fortuitous. When these facts came or at the temporary custody hearing, they made Sue Ellen look like a saint an she was able to get custody of john Ross. (JR.’s case had been built on ground of adultery. Sue Ellen was loving. patient, and willing to forego sex, but Dusty couldn’t handle it, particularly after JR had hammered home the point to him that "My wife—she is still my wife—is a lady of tempestuous moods. Mostly sexual." The couple could not overcome Dusty’s frustration, and they lovingly ended the relationship.

Sue Ellen moved off the Southern Cross and into her own condominium in Dallas at 56 Fayette Road. When her divorce from JR. came through the Honorable Jade William Parker awarded her a very generous settlement plus S5.000 a month in alimony and $1000 a month in child support. She was able to live in the style she had gotten used to at Southfork, though she was pretty miserable at first. Little John Ross was a comfort, heaven knew, but it ~as the first time in her life that she had lived alone. She tried to fend off the interminable loneliness by reading. crocheting. and watching television at night, but she was starved for companionship. She went on one blind date and the man came back to the condo and literally attacked her. Her friends’ husbands made passes at her.

Clayton Farlow was a godsend in this period. Lie helped Sue Ellen with her finances and occasionally acted as her escort. He was enormously kind, attentive, amusing, and warm. ‘Clayton is very special to me," she said. He’s the father I never knew. And, right now, he’s probably the best friend I have." And she was right, though she did not realize that Clayton—Dusty’s father—had fallen in love with her.


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