Heath Barkley was born and raised out of wedlock, the bastard son of prominant California rancher Tom Barkley. His mother's name was Leah Thomson and he was raised in a small mining town called Strawberry. Two friends of his mother, Rachel and Hannah, helped raise him.
Heath hires on at the Barkley ranch after learning his father's identity upon his mother's death, (Tom has been dead for six years himself). Nick, thinking he is a spy for the railroad, confronts him and, after a fight, Heath reveals his relationship to the family.
When the time comes for Tom Barkley to have a statue dedicated in his honor Victoria rides to Strawberry to learn more about the circumstances of her newly accepted son's birth. In a letter written by Tom to Leah she discovers that Tom never knew of Heath's existence. Rachel is deceased but Hannah tells her that Leah had found Tom beaten in an alley and nursed him back to health. Apparently this led to the affair that produced Heath.
While fighting in the Civil War, Heath was a prisoner of war at Carterson(fictional.)
Heath's childhood and difficult adolescence have left him quiet natured, solemn, full of painful memories, resentful and angry, but, as he settles into the family much of his anger is easing. Eventually he is not only accepted as a brother by his siblings but also as a son by Victoria. Many times she calls him 'my son' and, eventually, he calls her 'Mother'.
Disclaimer: this site is not meant to infringe upon any copyrights held by Four Star-Margate or its successors, and is intended only to foster appreciation, of "The Big Valley." Lee Major's image and the character of Heath Barkley are not mine. No copyright infringement is intended with their use, they are for entertainment/role playing purposes only.
Heath Barkley of The Big Valley is in use for writing challenges and rp through the Community: writers_muses and rip_in_time
Heath by xfcsa and a Tribute to Barbara Stanwick as Victoria Barkley on The Big Valley by JonRose44
The Big Valley Theme and the "bridge" scene from "Palms of Glory" / Goin' Home by Daughtry video by ctsongbird