Sheriff Barney


Original airdate
December 25, 1961
Directed by
Written by

Sheriff Barney is the twelfth episode of Season 2 and the 44th episode total of The Andy Griffith Show.


When Barney is offered the job of Sheriff in a nearby town, he and Andy trade jobs for a day to see what what kind of Sheriff he would be.


Barney is overjoyed when he gets an offer to become the sheriff of Greendale. Andy, however, tries to discourage him from accepting the job, as Andy believes that Barney, while an outstanding deputy, needs more experience in the position of sheriff. Barney, however, is unmoved by Andy's claims, and is determined to accept the job offer. Unsure how to handle matters, Andy gets an idea (from Opie) to allow Barney be sheriff of Mayberry for a day. Upon being sworn in, Barney becomes Sheriff and Andy becomes Deputy for the day. Barney decides to start his temporary job as Sheriff by getting the town drunk, Otis Campbell, to give him details on where he keeps getting his liquor, which Otis has previously refused to do. With Otis sleeping in his cell, Barney sneaks in and pretends to be his subconscious in an effort to get Otis to confess. Otis, finding out that it is Barney early on, goes along with the plan and ends up giving Barney an address to the liquor of "411 Elm Street". Barney is overjoyed to have supposedly found Otis's long kept secret of where he gets his liquor, until he suddenly realizes that 411 Elm Street is his own address. Andy and Otis burst out laughing, causing Barney to immediately throw Otis out of the courthouse. He then crossly sends "Deputy" Andy out with a chalk to mark some misplaced cars. Sometime later, while Andy is still gone, two neighbors, farmers, come complaining to the "Sheriff" about a supposedly illegal property fence. When Barney cannot get the two to cooperate, he immediately throws both of them into the cells and leaves them there until Andy returns. Andy is successfully able to get the two farmers to reach an agreement on the fence issue. Andy let's them out and the two leave, happy to have resolved their issue, but laughs at Barney for his lack of experience as sheriff. Sick of this task, Barney trades badges with Andy again, and angrily walks across the street (nearly getting hit by a car in the process), where he sits on a bench by himself. Only moments later, Rafe Hollister, a moonshiner on the Mayberry's Most Wanted list, enters the courthouse, and gives himself up to Andy. As sheriff Andy is about to lock him up, he sends Hollister out to look for Barney, in order to surrender to the deputy, and give Barney an opportunity to arrest such an important criminal. Hollister does so and Barney regains his self confidence, having "arrested" Rafe Hollister at last. Having been given the opportunity to get a taste of what the office of high sheriff entails, Barney understands that he is not up to the job and calls Greendale's mayor to decline, telling him that "Mayberry needs me." In the final scene of the episode, Andy accidentally locks himself in the prison cell. Barney begins to brag that he is the only one that can get him out, but in the process, gets himself locked up in the other cell. Both Andy and Barney stare at the key left outside the cells to await help.


Andy: <to Barney after his plan to get Otis to confess by disguising as Otis's subconscious has failed> - "That's a fine system you got there Barney; maybe you ought to write a book on it and call it, The Barney Fife Sub-Conscious Prober-Primer!"

Barney Fife:<To the two arguing farmers who are now in prison, still yelling and arguing with each other> - "QUIET!!!"


  • When Barney tries to extract information from Otis, it is revealed that his house number is 411. 411 is the telephone number for information.
  • During the scene in which Barney attempts to use hypnosis to find out where Otis is getting his liquor, it is revealed that Barney's address is 411 Elm Street. Coincidentally this is the exact same address as the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas where Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy two years later.
  • Jack Prince makes his first appearance as Rafe Hollister. In his three previous episodes, Prince had played a similar character - albeit with a different name each time. However, his last three appearances would all be as Rafe - creating one of the most beloved characters in series history.
  • Rafe turns himself in to Andy at the courthouse. Wanting to perk up Barney's spirits, Andy promises Rafe that Aunt Bee will make Rafe chicken and dumplings and sweet potato pie if Rafe turns himself in to Barney.


Previous episode: Next episode:
The Pickle Story The Farmer Takes a Wife