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The Horse Trader

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The Horse Trader

Cannon horse trader1

Original airdate
January 9, 1961
Directed by
Written by


Andy performs some slick dealings with an antiques dealer to get rid of the town's old, worthless cannon. But when young Opie later mimics his father's shady deal to obtain a pair of roller skates, Andy has second thoughts about his own wheeling and dealing.


When the town council decides to get rid of an old Civil War cannon, the Mayor calls upon Andy and Barney to sell it. After exhausting every possible buyer he can think of (including an indignant Barney), Andy feels his fortunes have turned around when an antique dealer just happens to stop by Walker's Drugstore. Forgetting the talk he just had with Opie about "the golden rule" and how "honesty is the best policy", Sheriff Taylor then commences a bit of what he calls "horse trading" with the dealer, making outrageous claims about the cannon - everything from it having fired the first shot at Ft. Sumter to being the personal canon of Teddy Roosevelt during the Battle of San Juan Hill.
Not only do Andy's underhanded tactics upset Barney, but they have a profound impact on Opie - who sees an opportunity to unload some worthless merchandise on his own. After Andy sells the canon for $175, neither Ellie nor Barney will speak to him. Upset that they refuse to see how he made good money for the town and got rid of an eyesore at the same time, he storms out of the drugstore only to run into Opie - who is sporting a brand new pair of roller skates and enough extra money for an ice cream cone. Andy questions Opie only to discover that Opie has been doing some "horse trading" of his own.
After a short and pathetic attempt at justifying his trading tactics while condemning his son's, Andy comes to see the error of his ways. He then refuses to sell the canon even though the antique dealer still wants it. In the end, Andy agrees to sell the cannon - but only for $20. However, like that famous bad penny, the cannon's not gone after all - the antique dealer sells it, using Andy's lies, to a man who intends to give it to Mayberry!


  • Andy tells Barney that he could put the cannon in his front yard in front of his house. Barney's house is never seen, but we do see that he rents a room from Mrs. Mendelbright and has for many years. Therefore, the reference to his house is simply a glitch in the series continuity. (In actuality, according to photos taken in the air, Mrs. Mendaelbright's rooming house is only 3 houses down from the Taylor house, on the same side of the street, going towards town in the Desilu 40 Acres backlot.)
  • Barney shows a weakness for mixed drinks when he gets loaded on ice cream sodas at the drug store.
  • Why did Opie want Jerry Parker's roller skates so badly? Three shows earlier, The Christmas Story, Ben Weaver gave him a pair of roller skates as a Christmas present. He must have worn them out in a hurry.
  • The first "You beat everything, you know that" is heard. Barney says it to Andy when Andy asks him if he wants to buy the town's old cannon.
  • The $175 that Andy was so happy about, is the same as $1,418, as of 2017.


Andy: Well, bucket mouth, do you know anyone that wants to buy a cannon?

Andy: Barney, I'll tell you the truth, You are a bird in this world.


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Mayberry Goes Hollywood Those Gossipin' Men

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