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Further Phoenix
at Rio's Attic:

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Guthrie McFadden
Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix
American EnglishEn Français

Gold Fever

First Transmitted: October 13, 1982

Five episodes into the series, we finally get a proper "Guthrie Episode," and what an episode it is! What must have been just a trickle of fan mail that River was receiving so far will have turned into a flood of letters after this episode was transmitted. Where River found the time to answer them all personally, during the busy run up to Christmas while still working on the show is anyone's guess.

With the roof of their house badly leaking, the McFaddens find themselves rather short of cash. Guthrie's first suggestion of looking for buried treasure expectedly falls rather flat, but he is particularly disappointed when his second idea, panning for gold, also receives no enthusiasm or support from the others. The situation gets even worse for Guthrie later on that day when everyone in turn dismisses him and sends him on his way after he tries to volunteer an extra hand to help out the family during this difficult period.

Convinced that he can solve the problem of paying for the roof repairs himself, Guthrie sneaks out early the next morning and heads upriver to pan for gold. He is particularly excited when, before too long, he finds his first tiny little gold nugget. Unbeknown to Guthrie, he makes this discovery whilst, from a short distance away, he is being squarely lined up in the sights of a shotgun.

Needing money to buy some proper equipment, back home Guthrie shows his nugget to a two carefully selected brothers to see if they would be interested in buying shares in his gold mining business. "Now, let's keep this just between us," advises Guthrie craftily. "Nobody else believed me. Besides, too many partners - not as much to divide, okay?" Guthrie, being Guthrie, offers this "exclusive" contract proposition to several of his brothers.

Back at the river, Guthrie is startled when a mechanical dredging machine nearby starts up. Investigating, he stumbles across the owners of the machine who also claim to be looking for gold and a deal to work together and share the profits is quickly agreed to. In fact, the two men Guthrie found are poachers who are responsible for illegally hunting and decimating the local bear population, a fact that the super-smart Guthrie had suspected right from the outset.

Back at the ranch, the rest of the McFadden brothers realize what Guthrie has been up to and head out to search for him. Just as well, as the poachers have turned on Guthrie and begin chasing him through the woods before once again Guthrie is lined up in the cross-hair of their gun, this time however, it's at point-blank range. The arrival of the McFadden brothers on the scene prevents their youngest sibling from being murdered, right there and then.

"I've never been so scared in my life," admits a terrified and tearful Guthrie.

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