"The Jonah"

(Original air date 11/11/68)


Audra’s interest in a ranch hand helps him overcome
his jinx reputation


Writer: Ed Adamson

Director: Virgil W. Vogel

Harvest time is upon the valley, bringing ranchers to advertise for hired hands. While in town to select candidates, Nick gripes about the low number of men who knocked on their door as opposed to the their neighbour McGarrett who is clearly signing the cream of the crop. He suspects Jarrod of cross-examining the candidates, thus driving them away.

Outside, a chubby man rides up the street on a burro. Looking for work, Waldo Deffendorfer (Marty Allen) goes to Frank McGarrett’s hiring office, but Eli (Hal Lynch), an old acquaintance, stops him at the door and fibs about the jobs being all filled. He suggests trying his luck down at the Barkleys’ office instead.

Eli explains to McGarrett (S. John Launer) about Waldo’s jinx reputation and that he is much better off without that ‘jonah’ on his spread.


Once Waldo signs up for work at the Barkley ranch, the first strike of bad luck occurs when the man tries to intervene in a fight between two boys throwing rocks. Unfortunately one of the stones finds its way to Barkleys’ office window.


Waldo rides up to the ranch on his burro Penelope just as Audra watches wrangler Don Jarvis (Wayne Rogers) tame a stallion. At the sight of Waldo the horse panics, severs its rope and scampers off. While Don takes off after the animal Audra introduces the new hand to Nick who is a bit unease to hire him. He senses a bad vibe about the man.


Waldo enters the bunkhouse and meets his co heads. His face somehow registers with Hank Demers (Ken Lynch) who can’t shake the feeling that he’s seen him before.

At night during cocktails, Nick complaints to Jarrod about hiring a nincompoop like Waldo. However Audra rises to his defense, accusing Nick of condemning the man before seeing what he can do.

Next morning Nick picks up the men to drive to the orchards. After insisting that Waldo rides with them instead than on his burro, the wagon suddenly crumbles apart. Waldo fears that he is responsible for the incident.


Victoria and Audra are appalled to hear Nick blame Waldo for his run of bad luck. But then his suspicions fall on Frank McGarrett, an accusation that Victoria strongly denounces, knowing her friend wouldn’t plot incidents just for the sake of competition.

Waldo’s curse strikes again when at night during a poker game among ranch hands Hank loses big. This has him suspecting his bumbling roommate of turning his luck around.


Near a gentle stream Audra meets with Waldo and engages in a casual conversation about his jinx reputation. Waldo admits enjoying the solitude and while he does, he’s not getting anyone into trouble.

Just as Audra’s speech begins to provide him with a semblance of self-confidence, Don rides by to invite his sweetheart to watch him catch the wild mustangs they spotted earlier.

At night Don spruces himself up to go call on Audra. He boasts about his upcoming date with the pretty blonde but roommate Sid (Eddie Firestone) is sceptical, as he believes him unworthy of courting the high and mighty Audra Barkley.

Hank bursts in, all fired up about his poker lost and all those odd calamities occurring. He learned of the Jonah being among them and how McGarrett’s hand pawned Waldo off to the Barkleys so that they wouldn’t beat them to the fruit market. Don suggests taking his complaint straight to Nick.


Nick proposes to put Waldo to the test with a simple game of cards to prove to his family that the man is jinxed. The proof is in the cards but Victoria, Jarrod and Audra stubbornly refuse to kowtow to Nick’s idiocy until they hear a loud crash in the foyer.

Waldo apologizes for breaking Victoria’s antic vase. Irate Nick decides to fire him but Victoria insists on giving the man another chance.


Waldo’s suitcases wait by the door as he arrives at the bunkhouse, which is obvious that the men want him out. As he starts saddling his burro Audra walks up to him and manages to convince him to stay. She even offers him the loft in the barn where he’ll be alone with his cherished Penelope.

Don rides up to pick her up for the dance but she gently lets him down, stating a personal reason. She then returns to the barn to help Waldo settle in and invites him to the dance.


When Audra proudly shows up at the dance on the arm of Waldo, Don fumes. His friend Sid can’t help but tease him about striking out to Waldo.

She explains to Don her reason for the change of dancing partner but nevertheless he won’t condone her action, accusing her of making him a laughing stock of all of Stockton. Audra insists Waldo needs a moral boost to get over his jinx reputation, but Don won’t hear of it and plots his revenge.


After the dance Audra gets a chilly welcome home by Nick who is now caught between a rock and a hard place as to what to do with Waldo. Don is upset about her jilting him and is now threatening to leave with 15 other men.

Audra and Victoria unanimously vote in favour of keeping Waldo on the ranch. However Victoria suggests giving Waldo another job where he won’t be in close contact with the other workers.

Don and Nick butt head over Waldo. He and the men categorically want Waldo off the property, but Nick doesn’t give in to threats that easily.


At the main house Nick confesses to Jarrod about his intention to give in to Don Jarvis’s threat. The men believe Waldo might be responsible for this rain gusher as well. Jarrod teaches Nick how to learn to let the chips fall where they may.

In the bunkhouse, tension rises. The surprising heavy downpour outside will make it difficult for any man to find work in the valley as all the crops will be ruined. They will have it tough to make due on the threat to leave.


When Don sees Audra bring Waldo some extra blankets, he goes to the barn to threaten the man to leave at once. In comes Nick who engages in a fight with Don.


Waldo decides to leave of his own accord, having done too much damage already. Guilt spreads among the men as they see a desperate Waldo kneel down on the wet ground to beg for God’s mercy, seeking his guidance to end the nightmares. Suddenly the rain stops and clouds disperse. His prayers are answered.


Days later the animosity is gone. The rain has actually provided a healthy crop for the Barkleys and the men owe it all to their new good luck charm, whom they invite to join them on their next journey.

Waldo however attributes his metamorphosis to the lovely Audra who believed in him from the start.


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