"The Midas Man"

(Original air date 04/13/66)


Audra falls for a speculator planning to foreclose on desperate ranchers
to whom he granted high-interest loans


Writer: Margaret Armen

Director: Arnold Laven

On a hot sweltering day Audra decides to go for a swim. At the waterhole she begins to disrobe, unaware that a man is amusedly devouring her with his eyes. When she hears him speak of the beautiful scenery that he is privileged to enjoy she scurries into the bushes to hide. Embarrassed she urges him to take cover when riders are heard approaching. The three ranchers are Jarrod, Nick and neighbour Jace Holman (Richard O'Brien) who came to inspect the very last source of drinkable water in what is turning out to be the worse drought to hit the valley.

Heath rides up to inform them that the bank was forced to close its door on account of the drought scare that drove townsfolk to withdraw most of their savings.


Hours later Audra returns home to find the stranger conversing with Jarrod. Scott Breckenridge (Tom Tryon) is a speculator from San Francisco who supposedly came to Stockton on Jarrod’s invitation. After teasing the lovely blonde on their meeting place he makes an appointment with Jarrod to discuss options to help the desperate ranchers in the area. The smitten girl learns that Scott is known as the Midas Man for everything he touches turns to gold.

The next morning Jace rides up to the ranch with two of his neighbours Titus McKelvy (Walker Edminston) and Ed Mead (Hal Lynch) to beg the Barkleys for a loan to tie them over until they can sell their herds, but meet with a refusal. Scott comes up with an offer of high-interest loans, which the ranchers are reluctant to accept given the risks involved. Faced with no other alternative, they agree to sign despite Jarrod’s warning that they might lose their farms should they fail to meet the deadline.


At night during a friendly game of pool with his siblings, Jarrod wonders why Scott volunteered to grant those loans that cost him a pretty penny. Does he expect those men to fail on their payment? Audra won’t believe that Scott would take advantage of those desperate ranchers, but Jarrod believes otherwise.

Victoria suspects her daughter of having fallen hard in love with the handsome businessman when she asks about his marital status. The stars dancing in Audra’s eyes are a sign that Scott has made one big impression on her.


The next day, Audra gets a tease from brother Heath when she announces that she’s riding into town wearing in a revealing dress. While there, she spots Scott coming out of his hotel and begins browsing through store windows while feigning interest in the handsome gentleman. She pretends to have an appointment with the dressmaker, but Scott is not so easily duped. When they meet with a locked door Audra is caught and has no other choice but to admit the truth.


Out on the range the heat is on between the Barkleys and their neighbours who refuse to allow the family’s cattle to quench their thirst in the last community waterhole when water abounds on their land. Nick and Heath argue to the contrary.

After their stay into town Scott and Audra return to the ranch where they learn the latest on the brewing range war over the last drops of water. The situation is critical and Jarrod worries that Scott will bleed those ranchers dry when it comes time to collect the payment on their loans. Victoria reminds Scott that Midas might have turned everything into gold but that ultimately he came to destroy all of his friends.


Out on the range Nick and Heath discover that the last waterhole has now been tainted with sulphur spurting out from the earth. They hear explosions in the distance and ride out to investigate. There they find Jace and his friends dynamiting for rain. Nick advises them to put a stop to the nonsense before they poison the remaining source of water in the valley .


At the ranch Jarrod worries that Audra is getting romantically involved with a man she’s barely acquainted with. Having been Scott’s business associate for many years Jarrod is aware of the man’s greed when it comes to money and women, and would hate for her gullible sister to fall into his clutches.

Scott invites Audra to a social dance where he offers her an expensive pearl necklace as a token of his love for her. Later when he brings her home the starry-eyed girl confides in her mother that Scott is bound to ask for her hand in marriage.


Concerned about the blossoming romance, Victoria meets with Scott at his hotel to discuss his intentions with Audra. She warns him not overstep his boundaries when it comes to her daughter who is quite innocent compared to the women he’s used to dating.

During a picnic Scott professes his love for Audra and she in turn misconstrues his wish to be his travelling companion for a marriage proposal. She is disgusted by the idea of becoming his mistress and rushes back home in tears.


The drought is at its peak and the ranchers are now desperate for an extension on their loans. They meet with Scott at Jarrod’s office to plead their case but Scott won’t relent. He warns them that should they fail to meet the deadline in a week’s time he will have to foreclose on their properties. Jarrod’s hands are tied legally. Had they heeded his advice not to sign they wouldn’t be in this predicament.

Jarrod lashes out against Scott for being a vulture waiting to pick his preys apart piece by piece. The family tries to find a last-minute solution to the crisis but come up dry. An idea spawns into Audra’s mind and she excuses herself from the room.


She rides out to Scott’s hotel where she offers to grant him his wish in exchange for extensions on the loans. Scott is startled by her straightforwardness and asks for some time to mull it over.

After seeing Audra leave Breckenridge’s hotel room, Jace, Titus and Ed march into the Barkley mansion to accuse the family of conspiring with Scott to take over their properties.


Fearing the angry ranchers would be heading to the ranch to confront the Barkleys, Scott rides over to set the record straight about Audra’s visit. She offered to become his travelling companion in exchange for extensions on their loans and he is pleased to announce that they have won their case.

The price tag being too high, the ranchers refuse the deal but Scott won’t be dissuaded. However he won’t allow Audra to honor her promise to him and leaves with a mere glance up the stairs at the girl he is leaving behind.


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