Gilligan’s Island Episode Review: “The Big Gold Strike”

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 1 television episode that first aired in November 1964.

Synopsis: Gilligan (Bob Denver) accidentally discovers a gold mine while caddying for Mr. Howell (Jim Backus) and Mr. Howell is quick to lay claim to it. And, when the other castaways learn about the mine, it creates tension because of his unwillingness to share his newly-found wealth.

The only positive news for everyone else on the island is the Minnow’s life raft has been found, offering them a way of finally escaping the island. Until, at least, their greed gets in the way.


I decided to take a break from my usual MASH re-run while I was home at lunch and, when I came across this episode on TV, I decided to watch it instead. I’ve seen the episode before, on a couple different occasions. But, as it turns out, it was just as funny as the first time I watched it.

The premise itself, admittedly, is a little predictable. When Mr. Howell decides he doesn’t want to share in his new fortune (even though, technically, it was Gilligan who discovered it) and the other castaways fail to find gold of their own, it wasn’t too difficult to figure out what they would ultimately end up doing to get their share anyway. And, once they did board the raft at the end, it also wasn’t very hard to guess what was about to happen next.

The thing that makes this episode funny is, even though it is predictable, the execution is fantastic. I loved the repetitive way everyone from Gilligan to the Skipper (Alan Hale, Jr.) fell into the mine. I also loved how the castaways (minus Gilligan) managed to bring their ridiculously heavy luggage onto the raft without anyone noticing. I’m not sure if this was meant to make them all seem clueless or if they knew what was going on but didn’t want to point fingers because they were equally guilty.

And, of course, it was very easy to feel sorry for poor Gilligan, who was cheated out of what should have been his gold mine, was worked to exhaustion and, ultimately, wasn’t rescued because of the stupidity of the people he was stranded with (more than making up for the times he caused the group not to be rescued, in my opinion). If anyone deserved an apology when this episode was over, it was definitely him.

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Final Opinion

As I said before, I’ve seen this episode in the past and enjoy it every time I watch it. If you haven’t seen it, I do recommend taking the time to watch it at least once.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 11/07/2017, StevenHelmer
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