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Episode number
First broadcast
27th November 1985
Directed by
Opening gambit written by
Opening gambit directed by

MacGyver's friends strike oil, but an out-of-control fire threatens to destroy all they own. They turn to MacGyver as the only one who can extinguish the inferno and save the oil.


Act OneEdit

A helicopter flies through the sky. The camera follows it, revealing a house, standing in the middle of a dry, sandy, out-of-the-way place. Next to it is a drill-tower where two guys drill for oil. These two are Bill Farren, the owner, and Pete Torgut, his friend. MacGyver, who is in the helicopter, lands nearby and is met by Bill's wife, Laura, who appeared to be fixing the engine of a van. They greet each other and move to the tower. As they approach, clear(ish) fluid starts jetting up from around the pipe drilling down into the ground - they have found a 'gas pocket', in other words, oil. Bill and Pete greet MacGyver enthusiastically. They all go inside the house.

Inside the house, Bill and Pete study maps and discuss what they have found. MacGyver juggles what appear to be small onions. Laura goes to switch on the lights, but the fuse blows. MacGyver and Laura go to the fuse box. MacGyver asks if they have a spare fuse - she replies saying that that is the spare. MacGyver takes out a stick of gum, and, chewing the gum, wraps the wrapper around the fuse and puts it back in its slot, bridging the gap, turning the lights on.

As the lights flicker on, Bill and Pete find the information they are after, and deduce that they will be rich. All four go out to celebrate. As they do, a wind picks up, shaking the string of lights strung out around outside from the house to the tower and back. MacGyver notices one bulb banging against a wooden post and watches as it smashes, sending sparks everywhere. There is a mad scramble to switch the power off, but it is too late - the oil coming up the pipe catches fire, sending several explosions and flames rocketing up the frame of the tower. One explosion dislodges some stacked piping, trapping Pete.

MacGyver and Bill work to lift the pipes and free Pete, while not too far from them , the fire blazes fiercely and Laura watches anxiously. They get Pete free and haul him away, just as the fire spreads to the house, engulfing it rapidly. The four of them watch the flames.

Act TwoEdit

The Act opens with the four of them inside a hut some distance from the blaze. Pete has a broken leg and it needs straightening before the splint is placed. MacGyver starts talking about Curie's Law. Pete wonders what the hell it has to do with his broken leg, and while his mind is elsewhere, MacGyver straightens the leg. He then admits that dancing girls would have been a better distraction, but there don't seem to be any around.

The four discuss how to resolve the problem. Unfortunately, the supply plane won't be arriving for another two weeks, and even then they won't be able to get a fire crew to the blaze for another two months. MacGyver suggest putting it out themselves. The others are sceptical. (Presumably the radio was in the house and went up with the rest of it.) Pee mentions that dynamite was used up at a nearby mine - although it's been deserted for years. Bill and MacGyver agree they could do it, but Laura, concerned with Bill's safety, is reluctant. MacGyver reassures them and they decide to head off at first light for the mine.

THe next morning finds MacGyver and Bill in the truck, wending their way along a bumpy track to the mine. They arrive, and look for the 'powder shack'. They locate it, look inside, and are delighted to find that there i plenty of explosive, only the floor isn't strong enough to bear their weight, as is transpired when Bill almost goes tumbling through a floorboard. They get round that problem by laying a plank down, diagonally, on top of the floor boards. The pair walk across and have a closer look. The floor boards bend and creak ominously beneath them. MacGyver opens a box with the blade of his pen-knife. They find that sticks inside have been in there so long the nitro-glycerin has seeped out, pooling at the bottom of the crate. They leave the shack with a small sample of the nitro, moving very carefully. Once outside, they throw the nitro sample at a tin can. THe Nitro explodes on impact.

Back at the hut, Laura helps Pete to his feet. The dialogue cuts back and forth between the two pairs. Laura admits she loves Bill deeply and doesn't want him to come to harm. MacGyver is less than keen to continue with the plan, as Pure Nitro-Glycerin is unstable and it will be hard to get it back over that bumpy track without being blown sky-high. Bill makes MacGyver see it his way. Meanwhile Laura and Pete unravel a hose, ready for the other two's return. MacGyver and Bill start moving the crates, unfortunately the floor boards start bending under the weight. Bill is stuck holding one crate, and attempting to stop another from falling by restraining it with his head. MacGyver takes the crate from Bill's head and starts heading for the door, whilst Bill turns to use his hands to stop the crate from falling. Regrettably, the crates seem to have other ideas and MacGyver ends up holding a crate and using his head to prevent a crate from falling. Bill takes the crate back, and takes it outside. MacGyver tries to prevent the crates from falling, but they start falling anyway, so he runs, leaping out the building, yelling. We see a crate fall, in slow motion, then the shack explodes violently.

Act ThreeEdit

Bill and MacGyver escape the explosion unharmed, though they are covered with dust. After expressing each other's craziness, the pair start constructing a cradle to keep the nitro 'comfy' out of four carriage-wheel springs and some sand. They drive off

Back at the hut, Laura and Pete have made the hose ready. She explains she isn't going to use it on the fire, but on the fire-fighters, to protect them, and the explosive, from the heat of the flames. This means that the explosive can be put at the heart of the fire, so when it goes off, it takes the oxygen with it, putting out the fire. She does express some worry over whether it will work, apparently it doesn't always.

Meanwhile, the boys are driving back to the blaze. The progress is slow because they have to be careful, and there are various obstacles including rocks and a stream. They just finish crossing the latter, when the engine stalls. MacGyver has a look, and finds that the Linkage Spring is bust. Replacing it with a spring from a ballpoint pen, they set off. Unknown to them, a drop of the Nitro is leaking out hte bottom of one of the crates. It drips down one of the springs of the cradle. It runs along the base of the truck and drips onto the road, the drops exploding on contact. To make matters worse, the brakes fail. MacGyver wrestles the van for control, eventually driving onto a stream to stop the vehicle. Miraculously, the crates barely move.

Act FourEdit

The fire continues to burn. MacGyver and Bill move the Nitro-Crates out the truck and to one side. They discuss how to get the nitro to the centre of the fire. MacGyver has a think, Bill makes a joke about being able to "hear the cogs grinding away". MacGyver starts pointing out components required for his plan.

The four of the get to work, laying pipes in two parallel lines, making rails. Laura squeezes all the Nitro she can out the sticks into a thermos flask. Pete makes a heat-shield out a refrigerator whilst MacGyver preps a burnt out jeep for running on the Rails. Bill stands off to one side, skimming stones. MacGyver and Laura do to see what's wrong, and Bill tells them that he should be the one risking his life, not MacGyver, in the flames. An argument and then a brief tousle ensues. Laura breaks them up, and it is decided - MacGyver and Bill will both go in and place the explosive.

Laura douses them with water, MacGyver and Bill propel the jeep along the rails towards the flames. They get as far as they can comfortably get, then start wheeling the canister along a guide wire toward the flames. The canister get closer and closer, until it drops into the pipe end. Everyone runs. The Nitro explodes, using up the oxygen in the immediate vicinity, starving the fire. It goes out. The four friends rejoice.

They discuss rebuilding the drill-tower. MacGyver suggests they hire someone to help. Laura wonders who, then it clicks. He means himself. MacGyver admits his been wanting to take a vacation, spend time with friends, etcetera. He is immediately hired

Memorable QuotesEdit


A complete list of problems solved by MacGyver is also available.

Notes and TriviaEdit


Inside of the powder shack while Bill is crossing the rotted floor, a gloved hand can be briefly seen reaching into the center right of the screen to touch a box of dynamite, then retract off screen again. The hand appears to have no significance to the story.

Cast & CreditsEdit

A complete list of Cast & Credits is also available.

Starring Edit

Actor Character
Richard Dean Anderson MacGyver

Guest StarsEdit

Actor Character
Cooper Huckabee Bill Farren
Nana Visitor Laura Farren
Rudy Ramos Pete Torgut

Special Guest StarEdit

Actor Character
actor character


Actor Character
actor character

Other Credited CrewEdit

Credited Name Position
Judy Burns Writer - Opening Gambit
Lee H. Katzin Director - Opening Gambit
Stephen Downing Supervising Producer
Jerry Ludwig Executive Producer
Terry Nation Producer
Vin Di Bona Line Producer
Lee David Zlotoff Creator
Stephen Kandel Writer
Lee H. Katzin Director
Henry Winkler
John Rich
Executive Producers
Judy Burns Co-Producer
Steven Milkis Associate Producer
Stephen Kandel Executive Story Consultant
Randy Edelman Music
Pam Polifroni Casting
Joanne Koehler Casting Associate
Jules Brenner Director of Photography
Stan Jolley Production Designer
Peter White Editor
David Menteer
Bob Schneider
Unit Production Managers
Robin Chamberlin First Assistant Director
Gary Law Second Assistant Director
Bonnie Dermer Set Decorator
Tommy Welsh Wardrobe Supervisor
Rudolph Garcia Men's Costumer
Shirlene Williams Women's Costumer
Dee Manges Make-Up Artist
Lynn Del Kail Hair Stylist
Kathy Barrett Script Supervisor
Billy Myatt Special Effects
Dean Hodges Sound Mixer
Steve Danforth Music Editor
T.A.V. Sound Sound Editing
Rosa Gonzalez Assistant to Mr. Milkis
Buddy Joe Hooker Stunt Coordinator
Michael Casey Property Master
Modern Videofilm Video Post-Production
Glen Glenn Sound Recording

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