The Rockford Files (1976) – Drought at Indianhead River & Coulter City Wildcat


I can’t believe that James Garner passed away this past weekend. It now makes watching this show so much more poignant, as I can remember hearing the theme song coming from the television, and my I can remember my dad sitting there watching. It’s sad, but the man leaves an incredible legacy of entertainment, one that still continues to entertain, and that’s definitely a brilliant way to be remembered.

Angel (Stuart Margolin) and Rocky (Noah Beery jr.) both get taken in this week’s pair of episodes, leaving Jim Rockford (James Garner) to do his best to get them out of trouble.

First up, there’s Drought at Indianhead River. This episode originally aired 5 November, 1976 and was written by Cannell, and features Robert Loggia as Dominic Marcon, a mafia boss. The phone gag this time around is very funny, Jim took little Billy fishing, and he thought the young boy may be seasick, apparently not, and the caller is wondering if Jim has ever has chicken pox?

Jim hears from an associate, on the down-low, that Angel has a hit put out on him. Being a good friend, Jim goes to help out, but Angel practically ignores him, spending hand over fist to decorate a new apartment that he now has thanks to some real estate deal he’s involved in.

What Angel doesn’t know, is that it’s all a con, and he’s going to be the patsy, and a dead one at that.

Jim has to do his best to get his friend untangled and out from under this mob scheme, and hopefully, neither of them will lose their lives in the process!

This is a great episode, as it highlights the best of the show, the smarts and the humor, that have always combined to tell a completely engaging story. Poor Angel though, getting taken in like that, he’s usually pretty quick on the uptake on things like that, but I guess the lure of easy money took him in. You have to feel a little bad for him, when things get revealed, the land, the money, the hit…


Poor Rocky doesn’t fare much better in Coulter City Wildcat, this episode aired 12 November, 1976 and was penned by Don Carlos Dunaway. It also featured a guest role for Jerry Hardin!

The phone gag for this episode features a woman calling from a plant store to inform Jim that there was nothing they could do… his fern died.

When a couple of thugs show up and try to strong-arm Rocky over signing away the oil rights on a small piece of land he’s invested in, which all reports say is worthless, Jim’s interest is piqued, and he and his father dig start to take a look at what is really going on.

Upon digging, they realize that if they can hold onto this land, which may be difficult, considering they are being followed by burly men with shotguns, their financial problems may finally be at an end. In fact, things could end up ok for the Rockford boys if they get through this affair unscathed.

Of course, these things aren’t meant to be, and things unravel just as quickly as they came together, as they watch their potential fortune disappear.

The best part of this episode is the wonderful interaction between Jim and Rocky, you can truly believe that these two actors are related, and the two of them together tend to be pure gold.  They are always my favorite part of any episode!

More next week!







One Comment Add yours

  1. Mike says:

    Just saw Indianhead episode
    I will agree with you in that the repartee between Rockford and the other characters is the best aspect of Rockford. Period. As far as that between Garner and Margolin, my favorite episode is Material Difference in which Angel is defrauding folks paying him to perform hit jobs. The episode is a virtual laugh riot yet at this late date in the series, one truly marvels at the rapport these actors have developed for each other. Margolin won not one but two Emmy for this role. Well deserved.

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