The first episode of Dallas begins on a cold, winter day, as Bobby Ewing and the new Pamela Barnes Ewing, married for less than 24 hours, drive north in his red Mercedes. When Pammi says the now famous line, "Your folks are gonna throw me off the ranch," Bobby reassures her.
Meanwhile, John Ross Ewing Jr., or J.R., is at the Ewing Oil building in Dallas, watching Cliff Barnes on TV try to hurt the Ewings as legal counsel to a government investigation. His father John Ross Ewing Sr., or Jock, calls and and demands what is going on, and orders him to get Bob back so he can continue his job as Ewing Oil's public relations man. Bobby seals deals for Ewing Oil using the three B's: booze, broads, and booty.
Coincidentally, Pam is telling Bob how he can do much better for himself. She suggests he become an executive.
Jock drives to a barn somewhere on Southfork Ranch. He asks Ray Krebbs, the ranch foreman, if Lucy was taken to school. Ray acts innocent, saying he has not seen her. He orders Ray to make sure she goes to school. In addition, he asks him to tell Pamela Barnes, Cliff's brother, and unbeknownst to them, Bobby's new wife, also Ray's ex-girlfriend, to tell her brother to lay off the Ewings. Ray says he will try on both accounts, and Jock leaves satisfied. A laugh is heard, and Lucy Ewing appears. Ray yells at her for almost getting him in trouble, but she wins. She seduces Ray to call her Pam, and Ray, who is weak at heart, does so, and they make out.
Pam continues to encourage Bobby to become an executive at Ewing Oil. Bobby agrees that he will do so, and he will tell the family tonight when they arrive home.
Ray gets dressed from another one of his and Lucy's rolls in the hay while Lucy looks around with binoculars. She sees Bobby driving up to Southfork, and Pam is with him! She tells Ray, who asks why. Lucy tells him that they are married when she catches a glint of light on Pam's finger. Ray is not happy. Bobby and Pam walk to the door. Eleanor Southworth Ewing, Bobby's mother, answers the door and is dumbfounded. Bobby proudly says that she is his new wife. When she finds words, Miss Ellie scolds her son for marrying a Barnes.
Jock and J.R., watching Cliff on TV anxiously at Ewing Oil, get a call from Ellie, telling them to come home. Bobby is home with a wife, and it is not just anyone.
During the period of the day known as Cocktails, where the extended family sits in the living room, drinking and talking about their days, Bobby tells them how he got married.
"I said 'I love you,' and she said 'I love you,' I said 'then why don't we get married in this charming city of New Orleans.' Pam said 'why Bobby James Ewing, that is the craziest idea I ever heard!' Twenty minutes later, in the Orleans Parish courthouse, we said 'I will' and 'I will,' and that was that."
Sue Ellen, J.R.'s wife, says that she did not think Bobby was so impulsive. Jock rudely asks Pam when Cliff will get off their backs. Ellie scolds him, saying that no business is mentioned at that time of the day, and Bob agrees. Ray comes in. He gives something to Jock, then at Lucy's insistance, he congratulates them and kisses the bride on the cheek. He then leaves.
J.R. offers to show Pam around. Pam, not knowing yet that J.R. is venomous, accepts. J.R. apologizes for his father's behavior. He then tells her about the living arrangements and about how he wants a baby. Pam acknowledges that by saying that she and Bobby also want children. J.R. goes on to tell her about his brother Gary. After softening her up, he purposely calls her Ms. Barnes. Pam tries to leave, but J.R. grabs her and asks if her brother asked her to be a spy, and he bribes her to leave. Pam gets angry and marches off. Bob comes out and reminds J.R. of the no-business rule.
Later that evening, J.R. finds Jock smoking on the porch. J.R. asks him why he does not quit, then tells daddy that he bribed Pam. Jock scolds him, and tells him that he just be more subtle. When J.R. brings up the subject, Jock says he has nothing against Bobby being an executive. J.R. does not have to run things alone. They hear Bobby and Pam playing upstairs, and Jock tells J.R. that he better get busy or they will present him a grandson first. J.R. walks away and meets Ray in the shadows. He tells him that they are a good team, as judged from a weekend in Waco, and they are going to work together to unseat the new couple. Ray agrees to work with him.
Pam goes to her apartment to pack her bags and send them to Southfork. Cliff is with her and questions her motives. He tells her that she was vengeful once. Pam says that she is a Ewing now, and there is nothing he can do about it. Cliff asks when she will tell their father, Willard "Digger" Barnes. She says not now. She appears to change her mind when she offers Cliff a ride in Bobby's car to look for Digger. Cliff refuses on grounds of touching something owned by the Ewings.
Bobby moves into his office at Ewing Oil. Julie Grey, J.R.'s secretary, tells him that he has a secretary also. He tells her that she wants the safe combination. She talks to J.R. about it. J.R. meets Bobby with a smile. J.R. says that the stuff in the safe is more boring than the background stuff Bobby has been reading. Bobby persists, and J.R. opens the safe with a smile. He hands Bobby the case. Bob tells the secretary that he will be a minute, then disappears into his office. J.R. takes a particular red file, in a red folder, and tells Julie to put it in his safe deposit box.
Cliff and Pam go to a bar. Digger is there, telling some other geezers about how Jock Ewing screwed him. Cliff tells her that Digger is a product of Jock's betrayal. Cliff drags him from the old men and they sit in a booth. Pam tells him that she is married...to Bobby Ewing. Digger is happy until Cliff tells him that she married Jock's son Bobby Ewing. Digger's smile immediately turns to a grimace. Pam rushes out in embarrassment.
Pam tells Bob that it only gets worse. Bobby reassures her. J.R. comes in and asks Bobby to go to Austin and dish out the three B's. Bobby says he is through with that behavior. J.R. says to go anyway; he will be done forever after the hearings are over. Pam listens, disappointed. Bob says that it is his family, and he has an obligation to them.
Ray and J.R. wait for Pam. J.R. offers for Ray to take her on a helicopter ride. She refuses, but then changes her mind. J.R. gives Ray quick instructions, then he and Pam leave. Bob comes out and asks for his wife. He feels bad not saying goodbye to her. J.R. says that it is all right, and they leave, supposedly for the airport.
Ray and Pam stop by a lake. Ray asks Pam what she will do. Pam is undecided. Ray says that he should have asked her to marry him a long time ago. It is not too late. He suggests she swim. She refuses. He manuvers her to where she cannot escape, then he picks her up and they jump in the icy water. She is surprisingly jolly. He suggests they leave and get cozy by the fire.
They strip. Ray's shirt is off, and Pam is naked under a blanket. She admits that she had a good time. She hears a car approach, and she suspects a set up. Ray denies it. Pam orders him to back her up, or she will tell J.R. about Ray and Lucy's affair. Ray agrees. J.R. and Bobby enter the cabin. Pam tells Bob that it was J.R.'s idea. Bob grabs J.R. by the throat as he is trying to explain himself. Bobby says to stop the "little brother" thing, and respect his wife. Past is past, and Pam is here to stay. Pam and Bobby leave. Ray apologizes to J.R. for messing up. J.R. says that it is all right.
"I greatly underestimated Pamela. I will not make that mistake again."