One has to suspend his or her disbelief more than usual even for this series when watching this episode. A local sheriff runs a hometown prison farm with no due process and no supervision by the state....yet keeps getting re-elected?!?!? Setting that aside, it was clear this episode was gonna be a boatload worth of fun from the opening scene when Jack Dalton left MacGyver that crazy phone message about being in trouble in Arkansas. Once the actor who played Decker on "The A-Team" showed up as the local sheriff, the entertainment prospects rose even higher. The unfolding of the B.B. Bartel storyline was nicely crafted and the "chain gang" music by Ken Harrison fit the story very well. Goofy stereotypes about the South that ensued throughout were often cringeworthy, but the entertainment value was outstanding, culminating in a fun and clever closing scene with the briefcase full of money absorbing the dynamite explosion (why couldn't MacGyver have simply tossed the stick of dynamite into that big puddle where they extracted the money???).
This episode clearly had commercial appeal as the ratings perked up to a 14.3, the season's highest thus far, after hitting a season low the week before. As evidence of network audience erosion in the fall of 1987, a November 1986 MacGyver episode scored a 14.3 rating and finished 47th in its week. In November 1987, a 14.3 rating was good enough to rank 32nd for its week.