The Twilight Zone

Season 2 Episode 24

The Rip Van Winkle Caper

Aired Unknown Apr 21, 1961 on CBS

Episode Recap

Four men take a stolen delivery of gold from a train en route from Fort Knox to Los Angeles and take it to a cave in the middle of Death Valley. Their leader Farwell has them load it into the cave while he inspects four glass caskets. DeCruz is nervous about their plan and Farwell explains it again: they'll go into suspended animation and then enjoy their gold. DeCruz wants everyone to split up the money but the other two men, Brooks and Erbie, draw knives and back up Farwell and his plan. Farwell says that they'll be in suspended animation for approximately 100 years. They get into the caskets and Farwell instructs them in the procedure one final time. The caskets fill with gas and they all go into suspended animation.

A hundred years later, Farwell, DeCruz, and Brooks wake up. DeCruz notes that they haven't aged and their hair and nails haven't grown, and doesn't think it worked. Farwell insists that the operation was foolproof and explains that all body functions stopped. DeCruz doesn't believe him and they go outside but the road is still the same. DeCruz is angry until Farwell realizes that Erbie isn't there. They go back to Erbie's casket and discover that a rock shattered the lid, and Erbie has been dead for decades and is nothing but a skeleton. DeCruz is eager to melt down the goal and be on their way, while Farwell considers the journey they have made and what might await them.

The three survivors load up the gold and Brooks goes to get the water can near Erbie's grave. DeCruz gets in the truck they've stored and runs Brooks down before Farwell can do anything. He then runs the van off a cliff and informs Farwell that they'll be taking out the gold in backpacks. They proceed along the road and the older Farwell starts to tire. He wonders if there are any people left but a plane flies overhead. Farwell discovers that he dropped his canteen and DeCruz offers him a drink... for one bar of gold. Farwell pays and DeCruz says that tomorrow the rate may change. He then heads up the road with Farwell staggering behind, paying for his drinks. The next day, Farwell needs more water than ever and DeCruz demands two bars of gold for one swallow. Farwell pays him the gold but when DeCruz kneels down, the leader bashes in his head with a bar of gold. He continues down the road untikl he collapses. A man emerges from a car and Farwell offers him his last gold in return for a trip before dying.

The man goes back to his futuristic car with the bar of gold, and explains to his wife that Farwell must have been some demented tramp who thought gold was worth something. They remember that it used to be worth something a hundred years ago before people discovered a way to manufacture it. They leave the gold behind and drive into town to notify the authorities to pick up Farwell's body.