"We got to stand together and turn on the big freeze!"
The Cow Thief


Original airdate
October 29, 1962
Directed by
Written by


The mayor calls in an investigator from the state capital to help solve a string of cow thefts.


Andy's law-enforcement practices come into question when a local farmer complains of missing milk cows. Mayor Stoner goes over Andy's head and calls in "an interloper" from the state office to take over the investigation. Andy manages to save the day by capturing the thief without the help of the outsider. Andy discovers that the thefts were being covered up by putting shoes on the cow.


  • The thief putting shoes on the cow is based off a real life incident that occurred in Andy Griffith's hometown.
  • In this episode. Andy, is looking out the front window of the courthouse. While Barney is showing the plaster cast of the foot prints, the Mayor walks over. And, if you look closely, there are three tree trunks right outside the window. These are actually trunks of palm trees.
  • The 3 sets of plaster casting footprints shown on the floor appear reversed; look closely and see the left shoe casting is on the right side and the right shoe casting is on the left side. However, they are actually in the correct places but with the moulages turned upside down, so they only look as if they are reversed.
  • In real life, the footprints made by the cow wouldn't have looked the way they did in this episode. If a cow was wearing shoes, the hoof would not have filled the shoe up completely to the toe but would have only taken up the space in the back half of the shoe. The front half would have simply flopped about and would not have been pressed down into the mud if there were no weight in the front of the shoe. Taking this into consideration, the footprints and the moulages would have only looked like the "heel" half of a boot or shoe. The rounded toe area would not have been pressed down into the mud.
  • According to Barney a previous Mayor (possibly mayor Pike) thought Andy's hiring Barney as his deputy was a crazy idea but Andy stood up for him anyway.
  • Common Theme: Another episode where down home country sense trumps big city methodology.
  • A similar storyline was used in the popular cartoon series "Garfield and Friends".


Barney: I'll say it again. I don't like it. Now the mayor has got no call to supersede your authority like that. We can handle this case without any nosy parker coming up here from the state capitol.
Andy: Barney, maybe this fella can be of some help.
Barney: No, not likely. He's just an interloper. All he'll be doin' is interlopin'. Now we got to make it clear to him that he don't belong. We got to stand together and turn on the "big freeze".

Barney: Walk on the left side after dark, or you'll wind up playing the harp.

Barney: "I think that could use just a touch more plaster. I always like to make my moulages a bit on the solid side."
Andy: "I like to use a little egg white in mine...makes em moister and fluffier."


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