Tod and Buz, driving through Nevada, help protect the bankroll of two men who are from the dried up mining town of Broken Knee. The two men are heading to Reno to try to win enough money at...
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Tod and Buz, driving through Nevada, help protect the bankroll of two men who are from the dried up mining town of Broken Knee. The two men are heading to Reno to try to win enough money at the craps table to fund a project which can save the town. Later in Reno, Tod and Buz end up lending moral and financial support. Written by
We go from one of my least favorite episodes, ("Effigy in Snow") to one of my favorites. One of the themes of Route 66 is the survival of the small American towns that they find along the road. Economic downturns, diaspora of young people and other forces often threaten their existence and the boys from time to time find themselves involved in doing something to keep them going. The mining town of Broken Knee, Nevada, is on its last legs. The burghers of the city feel their only chance to avoid becoming a ghost town, (the mine is finally played out), is to turn the place into an "Old West" fantasyland. But that will take more money than they can scrape up from contributions from all it's its citizens, (including children who break their piggy banks).
Mr. Oliver, the treasurer, is deputized against his will to meet with the community's most disreputable citizen Sam Keep, who runs the local pool hall and is always bragging about all the money he's won gambling in Reno. The town wants Sam to go to Reno and use the remaining money they collected to gamble and win enough money for them to do the conversion they envision. Sam agrees but the prudish Mr. Oliver insists on accompanying him to make sure they get their money back. Along the way, they meet up with Tod and Buz and Oliver hires them to help him look after Sam and the money. Sam starts gambling and is winning. Mr. Oliver wants him to stop but he can't- he's on a winning streak! He starts losing and eventually loses all their money. He psychologically collapses and admits he's never won very much money- he was just bragging.
Tod and Buz can't just let everybody's dreams die. They refund the money Mr. Oliver paid them and Tod mysteriously comes up with some more money, (he sells the hubcaps from their car). They convince Mr. Oliver, who is a math whiz, that he could win the money they need. He gives it a try and starts winning. He finds he can't stop, either, until Sam shows up and convinces him to stop. Mr. Oliver can go home with the money the town needs and the knowledge that he's not so different from Sam Keep, after all.
The two guest stars, Walter Matthau as Sam Keep and Edward Andrews as Mr. Oliver, couldn't have been more perfectly cast.
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