Steadily building up its viewership during its first few seasons, Dallas certainly gives its fans their money's worth during season three, which begins as the newborn son of the delightfully demonic oil tycoon J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) and his wife, Sue Ellen (Victoria Principal), is kidnapped. Though this crisis is soon resolved, it is clear that the J.R.-Sue Ellen marriage is in big trouble, mainly because J.R. thinks that the baby's real father is his sworn enemy, attorney Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval). In other developments, Mary Crosby makes her first appearance as Sue Ellen's younger sister Kristin Shepard, with whom J.R. has an affair. While cheerfully manipulating Asian politics in order to control more overseas oil fields, J.R. still finds time to continue trying to sabotage the marriage between his younger brother Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and Bobby's wife (and Cliff Barnes' sister), Pamela (Victoria Principal). In the same spirit of bad will, lawyer Alan Beam (Randolph Powell) is hired to dig up enough dirt on J.R.'s niece Lucy (Charlene Tilton) so that she will be forced to leave the family's Southfork estate -- but Alan ends up proposing to Lucy, the better to get his mitts into the Ewing fortune. Elsewhere, Sue Ellen has a romantic fling with rodeo rider Dusty Farlow (Jared Martin), the son of a wealthy Texan. The affair between Southfork's secretive manager, Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly), and influential socialite Donna Culver (Susan Howard) intensifies. And J.R. and Bobby's mother, Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes), is diagnosed with breast cancer. The season concludes with one of the most famous "cliffhangers" in TV history, as the wheeling-dealing J.R., hanging around his office after working hours, is shot down and left for dead by an unseen assailant!
by Hal Erickson synopsis