The Virginian

Season 2 Episode 17

The Fortunes of J. Jimerson Jones

Aired Wednesday 7:30 PM Jan 15, 1964 on NBC

Episode Recap

After 40 fruitless years as a prospector, J. Jimerson Jones (Pat O'Brien) decides to blow up his shack and move to town and get an honest job. Blowing up the shack he finds a gold vein. He decides to travel to Chicago and on the train he meets an acquaintance, Judge Garth, who is travelling on business accompanied by daughter Betsy. Upon inquiry he learns the Judge always stays in Chicago at the Palmer House and decides to stay there himself. He has trouble checking in because of his coarse nature but Judge Garth gets him a room, Jones depositing $25,000 in the hotel safe. A young newspaper reporter, Eddie Tighe (David Macklin) barges into the Judge's room trying to get a story on the wild and woolly west but is thrown out by the Judge. Tighe then runs into Betsy in the lobby and is smitten but leaves when he learns the Judge is her father. Meanwhile, Jones has met a middle-aged maid in the hotel, Maggie Hyeth (Ann Doran).

In the hotel restaurant that evening, Jones comes to the attention of two down on their luck con artists, Julia Montgomery (Jeanne Cooper) and Duncan St. John (Peter Adams), who see him as an easy mark. The next day Tighe visits Judge Garth and gets him to let him take Betsy to a magic lantern show on the Holy Land that evening. Meanwhile, Julia and Duncan take Jones to a restaurant so they can introduce him to another con artist, "General" Caswell (Tol Avery) who is posing as a whiz on the stock markets. The General "accidentally" loses his wallet containing $5000 which is found after he leaves by Jones who keeps it for safekeeping. As they are all leaving the restaurant, Tighe and Betsy enter, going to the restaurant instead of the slide show. Tighe, in passing, acknowledges knowing Julia.

The next day Duncan takes Jones to an "Investment Brokers" to return the General's wallet. The General is grateful and as a favour, gets Duncan and Jones to each invest $200.00 in a hot stock which as they watch the stock tickers, makes them each $480.00 in profit in under two minutes. Having set the bait, the General tells Jones he can make him even more, that for $50,000 he could easily make $250,000. However, Jones says it is against his principals to take that kind of money without working and walks out, at which time the whole investment house is revealed as an expensive sham such that the con artists are out even more money. The con artists then try to rook Jones in a poker game and that fails. Desperate, they try a badger game in which Maggie will go to Jones room and Duncan as her fiancee will break in demanding satisfaction. However, this fails due to the actions of the maid. Finally, Duncan decides that Julia has to marry Jones and implies they will bump Jones off once they get access in this way to his money.

Tighe comes to visits Judge Garth and while he is there Jones accidentally tries to get into the Judge's room as his own claiming disorientation because he has just got engaged and had a few drinks. When he leaves Tighe warns Judge Garth that Julia is a con artist, something the Judge confirms when he tries to talk her out of marrying Jones and she resists by hinting at payoffs. The maid becomes very upset when she learns Jones is going to marry Julia and Jones also receives a letter from Wyoming. Independently, both the Judge and the maid send fake telegrams telling Jones he has lost all his money which they hope will scare Julia off but she sees one originated from Chicago and smells a rat. Therefore, she insists on marrying Jones, still believing him rich. However, Duncan enters with a newspaper containing an article which reveals Jones is a con artist with a fake mine, a story planted by Tighe and Betsy in Tighe's newspaper to also scare off Julia; this ploy works. Jones asks Maggie to marry him but she say she can not marry anyone rich. He reveals that the letter he received indicates someone has jumped his claim so that other than the money he has which he could use to start a grocery store, he is poor. She relents and they are married. While all are checking out Tighe arrives, late because his city editor is chewing him out for the fake story but he reveals he won't lose his job since his father owns the paper and he even manages to get a goodbye kiss from Betsy. Jones notices Julia and Duncan are about to be arrested for not paying their hotel bill so he generously pays it off from his money left in the safe. Everything works out satisfactorily.