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Summary[]

Barney, humiliated after accidentally arresting the local bank manager, must redeem himself in the eyes of the public when Andy and Helen are caught in a mine collapse.

Plot[]

On the day of the Mayberry Town Picnic, Thelma Lou and Helen Crump have prepared big picnic baskets for Andy and Barney, who are finishing their morning rounds before heading out. Mr. Meldrim, despite the fact it is the weekend, arrives to open his bank as a federal auditor has arrived and needs to go over the books. Mr. Meldrim has a cold and is holding a handkerchief over his face, and the key does not work so he starts shaking the door. Not recognizing him, Barney tries to arrest him. When the truth is known, all the bystanders mercilessly make fun of Barney, despite Andy pointing out that Barney was in the right considering all he could see was a masked man trying to get in the door without a key. The story spreads and the teasing continues all day. By the time the picnic commences, a humiliated Barney insists he, Thelma Lou, Andy and Helen sit in the woods far away from sight and sound of anyone else.

After eating, Andy and Helen go to explore an old abandoned mine and cave system nearby. Andy yells to test the echo, and shortly thereafter the roof of the mine collapses behind them, trapping them inside. Barney and Thelma Lou arrive on the scene just in time to see the cave-in from the other side. They did not see Andy and Helen before the collapse, but Barney assumes they are still inside, and he and Thelma Lou run back to the picnickers to rally the town to help. Barney also drives back in to town for shovels, picks and other necessaries.

Meanwhile, Andy and Helen, covered in dirt and trying not to panic, continue walking in the mine shaft in search of freedom and find a partially-concealed air opening, much further down. They climb out and hitch a ride on a passing truck into the mostly-deserted town to change clothes at Helen's house. By this point, Barney has hurried back and is still organizing the diggings, with groups of men (including Barney himself) working in shifts. However, many believe he is just on another wild goose chase, as he was in the morning. Hearing about the incident on the radio, Andy and Helen realize that, if they are not there when Barney breaks through, it will be another case of Barney being embarrassed even though he did everything right. They decide not to change clothes and return to the air hole, re-entering the shaft and waiting near the collapse site as if weak for want of oxygen. Barney and his crew break through the blockage and "rescue" them, to much acclaim, and the town cheers Barney on for his heroic actions. Barney buys all the newspaper articles on the cave collapse that he can, glad the town finally respects him.

Trivia/Notes[]

  • After Andy and Helen escape from the cave, they go to Helen's house, where they hear on the radio about the rescue that is going on, led by Barney. Helen says, "I'll call and let them know, we're alright." She picks up the phone and says "Get me the courthouse". Andy has her hang up before Gomer can answer, but for some reason Sarah (the switchboard operator) does not recognize Helen's voice.
  • After the rescue, the headline of the Mayberry Gazette reads, "DEPUTY FIFE HERO IN CAVE RESCUE." A picture of Barney is featured. This front page will be seen framed on a courthouse wall for years to come. This is perhaps the only time Barney's last name is spelled correctly in a newspaper (usually, his last name is misspelled as "Fike").
  • Although it was funny to hear Barney say it, bats are actually mammals and do not lay eggs. Most have just one baby and will nurse them.

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