The camera’s attention, then, is mainly on Southfork’s next generation — their chiseled physiques and low-cut blouses; their shiny sports cars and loft condominiums. The ranch appears to have enjoyed some relative bliss in the intervening years. Ewing Oil pays handsome, Exxon-like dividends under Cliff Barnes’s executive control; Bobby and his new wife, Ann (“Desperate Housewives’” Brenda Strong), are planning to turn Southfork over to a nature conservancy, honoring Miss Ellie’s dying wish that the land never be developed.
Bobby’s conniving nephew, John Ross (Josh Henderson) has other plans, having made the ludicrous discovery that Southfork sits atop a couple billion barrels of sweet crude. (This finding comes replete with a “There Will Be Blood”-esque gusher.)
Bobby’s son Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) returns, convinced that the future lies in alternative energy; he’s developing a way to extract methane from undersea ice. Both men are in love with Elena Ramos (Jordana Brewster), the daughter of the Ewings’ longtime housekeeper, who has gone on to become quite the savvy petroleum geologist. Christopher won her heart, but she rejected him after a mysterious revelation; now he’s engaged to Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo), who reminds everyone of Pam, but isn’t to be trusted.