BrianRxm Coins on Television 8/24
Gunsmoke - The Treasure of John Walking Fox (1966)
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This episode of the CBS television program "Gunsmoke" shows a large octagonal coin or "slug",
apparently one of the California Gold Discovery Centennial medals made around 1948.
 
"Gunsmoke" was an television Western program which ran from 1955 to 1975.
 
The regular characters are Matt Dillon, the Marshall or Sheriff of the town of Dodge City, Kansas.
Miss Kitty runs a saloon, Festus is Matt's deputy, and Doc Adams is the town doctor.
The show was set in the 1870's to 1880's.
 
This episode is titled "The Treasure of John Walking Fox" and was first broadcast on April 16, 1966.
 
This episode is an 1874 story of revenge with Leonard Nimoy as John Walking Fox, an Indian
who encounters some greedy cowboys and townspeople.
Gunsmoke Treasure
1. "Gunsmoke" opening showdown sequence
 
The opening sequence of the program was a classic.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
2. John Walking Fox (Leonard Nimoy)
 
This was Leonard Nimoy's last guest television appearance before his long run as
"Mr. Spock" on "Star Trek".
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
3. Camp of John and Jacob Beamus, the hide hunter
 
John Walking Fox, an Indian, is the companion of a animal hide hunter named Jacob Beamus.
They have been out hunting animal skins for a long period of time and are now camped
near Dodge City.
 
Three local cowboys led by a man named only Gainer enter their camp and harass John
because he is an Indian.
 
They don't see anything worth stealing and leave, the next morning the two men
head into town to sell the hides.
 
A fur trader named Aaron Tigue agreed to pay 50 cents a hide but now tells
Jacob that the market is soft and will only pay him 25 cents a skin.
Jacob pulls out a pistol to argue the point and Aaron then pulls his pistol and shoots Jacob fatally.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
4. Shooting of Jacob Beamus by Aaron Tigue (Richard Webb)
 
Marshall Dillon arrives and witnesses tell him that it was a self-defense shooting.
John takes the body of his friend to the undertaker Percy Crump for burial and pays for an
expensive coffin and funeral with a $50 gold piece.
 
Percy takes the coin to Kitty's saloon and buys drinks for everyone.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
5. Undertaker Percy Crump
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
6. The coin on the table, clearly octagonal
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
7. Closeup of the saloon coin
 
The coin has a figure of a miner '49er and the legend:
THE DAYS OF OLD / THE DAYS OF GOLD / THE DAYS OF FORTY NINE / CALIFORNIA
 
The film prop coin appears to be one of the California Gold Discovery Centennial brass "Slugs" or
medals made around 1948 by the Irvine & Jachens Company of San Francisco, California.
The medal legend is from an old song of the California Gold Rush, which begins:
 
Here you see old Tom Moore, A relic of by-gone days
A bummer, too, they call me now, But what care I for praise?
For my heart is filled with woe, And I often grieve and pine,
For the days of old, the days of gold, the days of forty-nine.
 
An example of a similar medal:
 
California Gold Slug
8. California Gold Discovery Centennial Medal - Miner Standing
 
This item was manufactured by the Irvine & Jachens Company of San Francisco, California.
For more information on this item, please visit:
California Gold Discovery Centennial Medal
 
Back in Dodge City at Kitty's Saloon, Kitty's assistant Festus bites the coin, it is real gold.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
9. Festus bites the coin
 
They look at it, and note the design of a Miner '49er and a Rattlesnake.
Percy tells the saloon customers:
 
"Well, you ain't ever seen one of those. Look again. A '49er panning gold, and a rattlesnake".
"Way I hear it, there's only one coin ever minted had them things on it".
 
Festus bites it and hands it to Kitty.
Kitty asks Percy where he got it and he answers "The Indian gave it to me".
Kitty sends Festus and the coin over to Matt Dillon.
Percy talks to the cowboys about the animal hide hunter and Indian being together for 10 years
"I never seen a white man so took with an Indian, or vice versa".
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
10. Kitty holds the coin
 
The coin is sent to Marshall Matt Dillon, who shows it to Doc Adams.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
11. Matt gets story from Doc
 
Doc wonders how the two broke men got such a valuable coin.
Doc explains that it was from a shipment of specially minted gold coins that a San Francisco bank
sent to the east in 1850, and that the shipment disappeared "east of Pueblo" (Colorado).
 
Matt: "Tell me, Doc. What do you remember about that story of the gold shipment that was lost
somewhere east of Pueblo years ago".
Doc: "Well, that was after the gold strike in California.
Now, the story goes that this bank out there made up a whole shipment of these, just like this,
just what they're supposed to be, with a rattlesnake on one side and a '49er on the other.
And they sent a whole shipment east under heavy guard, and it vanished, disappeared into thin air.
About $100,000 worth".
Matt: "Well... well, now, if it disappeared somewhere east of Pueblo,
it could have been near Dodge".
Doc: "Well, that's what I always figured".
 
John is still in the area waiting for the headstone for Jacob's grave to be finished.
He is still camped in the woods when Gainer and his pals show up.
They start to roughly interrogate John about the location of the rest of the coins,
he tells them that there is a map but he doesn't have it.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
12. The cowboys question John
 
Aaron Tigue shows up with a shotgun, chases the three men off, and takes John into town
to check into a hotel.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
13. At the hotel
 
John spends another of the coins at the hotel
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
14. Closeup of the hotel coin
 
The hotel clerk examines the coin.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
15. Closeup of the coin reverse
 
Marshall Dillon calls on John at the hotel and asks him directly where he got the two coins.
John doesn't answer directly, but supplies riddles.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
16. John and Matt
 
John: "Suppose I were to say I found them on the prairie, just the two of them".
Matt: "Did you?"
John: "Or that they were given to me by an elder of the tribe, as talismans to ward off evil".
Matt: "Is that what you're saying?"
John: "I haven't said anything. And I haven't done anything, but spend two coins that belong to me".
Matt: "Well, John, I'm afraid you've done a whole lot more than that. You got half this town stirred up".
John: "If they see water in the desert where there is no water, it's their eyes that lie, not my mouth".
Matt: "Well, John, I'm going to tell you something. Just having any of those coins in your possession
is liable to lead you to a lot more trouble than you bargained for".
John: "Have no fear for me, Marshal.
No man kills the bee. He only wants to follow him to the honey".
 
The townspeople gather to talk about the coins.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
17. Excited townspeople
 
John and Aaron are staying at the hotel in adjoining rooms.
John has a "map" drawn on an animal skin, he puts it into a pillow.
He then tells Aaron that he is going out for a while and asks Aaron to watch over his stuff.
Aaron takes the opportunity to enter John's room, search it, and finds the map.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
18. Aaron finds the map
 
A crudely drawn map on the skin of a furry animal.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
19. The Map
 
The three cowboys then enter the room, a gunfight ensues, Aaron falls out the window, dead.
The cowboys head out to where John was camped and use the map to locate a place to start digging.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
20. Three men digging
 
They uncover the coffin of Jacob Beamus, then the Marshall, Festus, and John appear,
and a shootout ensues.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
21. Shootout
 
Gainer's two pals are killed and he is arrested.
 
Later, the headstone is completed and mounted on the grave.
 
Gunsmoke Treasure
22. Matt and John shaking hands
 
The grave marker reads "Jacob Beamus 1820-1874 R.I.P", thus setting the episode in 1874.
 
Matt: "Morning, John".
John: "Morning, Marshal".
Matt: "Nice looking headstone".
John: "It says Jacob is remembered. Gainer He will hang?"
Matt: "Probably".
John: "It is well".
Matt: "Well, John, I guess things worked out just the way you planned, didn't they?"
 
John: "Planned? Over gold that doesn't exist?
There are those who say it is out there somewhere.
You were Jacob's friend. I shall think of you often"
 
Matt: "I'll, uh... I'll have a few thoughts of you, too".
John: "Good-bye, Marshal".
They shake hands.
Matt: "Good-bye, John"
Notes:
 
Cast:
James Arness as Matt Dillon
Milburn Stone as Doc
Amanda Blake as Kitty
Ken Curtis as Festus
Leonard Nimoy as John Walking Fox
Richard Webb as Aaron Tigue
 
Director: Marc Daniels
Writers: Leo Bagby, Clyde Ware
 
I bought this "Lost Dutchman Mine" octagonal medal for $15 at a California coin show in October 2013.
 
Lost Dutchman Mine Octagonal Medal
 
23. Lost Dutchman Mine Octagonal Medal
 
It was a large octagonal medal which imitated a California pioneer $50 gold coin or "slug".
I bought it because I had read the story of the Lost Dutchman Mine and I liked the design
with a miner panning for gold on the obverse and a coiled rattlesnake on the reverse.
 
After I paid for the coin, the seller asked me if I wanted to hear the story behind it.
I said that I would and he told me that 500 of these were produced after one was used in a
1966 episode of the television show "Gunsmoke" which stars Leonard Nimoy as an Indian.
 
After watching a DVD of the episode, I discovered that my Lost Dutchman Mine medal did not
match the prop coin shown in the episode at all.
 
At home, I looked up my medal on the Internet and found one similar story, which claimed that
the medals were made for "Gunsmoke" fans or octagonal collectors.
 
The "Lost Dutchman Mine" is a famous "lost mine" supposed located in the
Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix, Arizona, and is not mentioned in the episode.
 
For more information on this medal, please visit: Lost Dutchman Mine Medal
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