The Rip Van Winkle Caper

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"The Rip Van Winkle Caper"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 24
Directed by Justus Addiss
Written by Rod Serling
Production code 173-3655
Original air date April 21, 1961
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"A Hundred Yards Over the Rim"
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"The Silence"
The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series) (season 2)
List of The Twilight Zone episodes

"The Rip Van Winkle Caper" is episode 60 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on April 21, 1961 on CBS.

Opening narration[edit]


To escape the law after stealing $1 million worth of gold bricks (equal to $8.2 million today) from a train on its way from Fort Knox to Los Angeles, a band of four thieves, led by scientist-mastermind Farwell, hide in a secret cave in Death Valley, California. Farwell explains to his three assistants that he has designed suspended animation chambers in which they will sleep for approximately 100 years, figuring that by 2061 the gold will no longer be "hot" and they can sell it without arousing suspicion. DeCruz has reservations about going along with the plan, but all four undergo the procedure simultaneously.

When they wake up, all that remains of Erbie is his skeleton, his suspended animation chamber having been cracked by a falling rock. DeCruz offers to guard the gold in the back of their truck while Brooks drives to civilization, but Brooks doesn't trust him and insists that DeCruz drive. DeCruz kills Brooks by running him over with the truck, then purposely ditches it in a ravine. Farwell and DeCruz must walk through the desert in the summer heat, carrying as much gold as they can on their backs.

Farwell loses his canteen, and DeCruz sells him a sip of water from his canteen, for the price of one gold bar. When the water is nearly gone and the fee goes up to two bars, Farwell strikes DeCruz with a gold brick, killing him. Farwell continues, gradually discarding gold bars as their weight becomes increasingly burdensome. Finally, weak and dehydrated, he collapses.

Farwell regains consciousness and finds a man standing over him. Farwell feebly offers him his last gold bar in exchange for water and a ride to the nearest town, but dies before the man can respond. The man returns to his futuristic car and tells his wife the man is dead. He remarks about the oddity of Farwell offering him a gold bar as it were valuable. She reminds him that people once used it for money, but he points out that was a long time ago, before they found a way to manufacture it.

Closing narration[edit]


Production notes[edit]

The futuristic car carrying the couple who find the dying Farwell is a leftover prop, somewhat modified, from MGM's 1956 film Forbidden Planet.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0

External links[edit]