"Tunnel of Gold"

(Original air date 04/20/66)


A friend of Victoria’s gets unwittingly enmeshed in a plot
to steal Barkley gold


Writer: Arthur Browne Jr.

Director: Virgil W. Vogel

A Barkley Sierra employee Lou Stone (Peter Scott) rides into town to ensure that the freight depot clerk (Charles Wahenheim) has implemented every safety measures to secure the fifty-thousand-dollar gold shipment when it arrives tomorrow night. He discreetly passes the word along to outlaw Frank Colder (Malachi Throne) and two associates, Border (Don Diamond) and Dave (Paul Trinka).

Posing a travelling salesman, Colder then goes to the freight depot to register a trunk full of books for his next train journey.


While in town to do some browsing, Nick, Audra and Victoria walk by the soon-to-open new mercantile emporium. Victoria recognizes the owner as her old friend Elaine Bannister (Jeanne Cooper). Inside the store she introduces her new husband Bertram ‘Bert’ Jason (Warren Stevens) whose face registers as all too familiar to Nick. When the conversation veers off to girl talk, Nick excuses himself and leaves with his suspicion.


Colder enters the store to ask for a list of implements to be picked up later tonight. Although the store has yet to open for business, Elaine nevertheless obliges this huge order that may help them get the credit they need.

At the ranch, Victoria discusses the possibility of standing guarantor for the Jasons’ bank credit. Jarrod and Audra are in agreement but Nick disagrees. He explains that his own investigation of Bert Jason revealed a shady past with charges of assault and robbery, not to mention riding shotgun for the infamous Colder gang. Victoria finds it odd that her friend would marry an outlaw, unless she was ignorant of his past. She nonetheless insists on helping a friend whose family cared for her when her father was killed in a mining accident.


Later that night, Frank drops by the store to pick up his supplies with his two associates. Dave thrusts a gun at the Bert and Elaine ordering them to follow their instructions. While Elaine is sent to the kitchen to make coffee, Frank, Bert and Border take the tools down to the cellar and choose a wall behind which they will dig a tunnel up to the freight depot.


Elaine wakes after dozing off to find Dave watching her. He lets her in on their little scheme to steal the Barkley’s shipment of gold. He starts rambling on about relishing this success after shovelling dirt all of his miserable life.

In comes Bert who calmly explains to his bemused wife that the men are using the cellar to tunnel their way up to the baggage depot to steal the gold. She is shocked that they would do that to decent people like the Barkleys. Frank’s explanation is one of revenge against rich folks who made him slave for a meagre wage. He suggests to grin and bear it as it will all be over in the morning.


The next morning, mother and daughter drop by the store. While Audra browses through a bunch of dresses, Victoria informs Bert that she has convinced the bank manager to grant them credit to help them get their business started. Bert lashes out at her for meddling in their affairs, leading her to believe that the man has no intent on owing a thriving commerce after two previous failures. She’s aware of his troubled past but is willing to keep it quiet providing he can turn a new leaf for his wife’s sake.

Audra is left alone to try on some dresses. When she searches for the dressing room she inadvertently opens the door to the cellar where Border is seen digging a tunnel. A gun is then thrust at the back of head with its owner deploring her unfortunate discovery.


Bert hates the idea of keeping a Barkley captive knowing her family will likely be looking for her. With Audra’s locket in her hands that Dave accidentally ripped off the girl’s neck, Elaine mentally devises a plan.


Later that night, Jarrod drops by the store to pick up his sister. Frank orders Elaine to go answer but not before she hands him the pendant hidden in her hand. She informs Jarrod that Audra left earlier and that she probably hitched a ride home with someone else.


Once the tunnel is complete, Dave saws a whole in the depot floor and places a wooden beam to hold it in place. Unbeknownst to them that volatile gas is slowly wafting from a hole in the ground.

Colder’s name now registers with Audra as the outlaw Nick said Bert rode shotgun for. Elaine won’t believe her husband could be involved in such a heinous plot. Bert admits to despising his humdrum life and craving for wealth, hence the reason why he agrees to this scheme.


When Dave comes in with news of the shipment’s arrival, Audra cries out for Heath but is quickly subdued. Frank orders that the women be taken down to the cellar while Bert keeps a watch out.

Heath arrives with the shipment and meets with Jarrod and Nick to keep a close watch on the gold as it is carried to the freight depot.


When the job is done, they begin looking for the missing Audra. Inside the store, Bert advises the men the gold is now in the depot. Dave and Border get to work while Frank keeps an eye on the women.

Inside the depot, Border open Frank’s trunk and empties it of all the books to fill it with pouches of gold nuggets. They return to the cellar to find it hard to breathe due to the gas. Elaine and Audra are gradually losing consciousness while Frank is seized with dizzy spells.


Bert realizes that gas is permeating the air and asks that the women be taken upstairs. Frank objects to his associate carrying a burden, such as a wife, on the road to wealth but Bert begs to differ, as he now realizes that Elaine has come to mean more than money. Franks knocks him unconscious and has Border tying him up.

Upstairs, the three outlaws take a breather before leaving through the back door to avoid arousing suspicion in town. They decide to lay low until the morning when the trunk will be loaded onto the San Francisco-bound train.


Minutes later Bert regains consciousness and crawls over to an axe to try to sever his bonds. He hears a knock at the door upstairs and manages to bump a few kegs down to alert the visitors. The Barkley brothers retrace their steps and follow the sound to the cellar window.


With his foot Nick breaks the glass to get a clear view of the situation down below.

The noise warns Frank and his cohorts that their scheme is about to backfire. Quickly they head for the depot to ask the clerk for the trunk back.


Jarrod, Nick and Heath rescue Bert and the two women and bring them outside for some air. There, Bert alerts the Barkleys that Frank and his gang are stealing their gold.


Gunfire ensues, ending with Border and Dave biting the dust. Nick goes after Colder and catches up with him as his wagon takes a tumble.

Finally the store’s grand opening is at hand. Nick brings the champagne to celebrate while Audra insists on trying on the dresses she likes now that a proper dressing room has been set up.


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