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 A Fistful of Diamonds

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Ghislaine Emrys
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PostSubject: A Fistful of Diamonds   Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:55 pm

I have been remiss in keeping up-to-date with this discussion and for that, I apologize.  A Fistful of Diamonds is, imho, a fun episode and I hope some members will join in with their thoughts about the plot types, as delineated in the other thread in this forum.

Yes, there is a Quest!  Heyes and Curry are trying to clear their names, which is most definitely "an all-important…goal."  They face numerous setbacks, the first of which is Soapy's initial refusal to help them.  Another setback, faced by Curry, is Betsy's refusal to fall under his charms and let herself be swayed to help him achieve his goal, although this works out in the end.  I'm sure there is more to say about how this episode fits this plot type and I'll let other people do so.  :-)

Voyage and Return: Perhaps the trip to the diamond field can be construed as a visit to another world--the world of fake mines.  And the heroes learn how easy it is to con even a banker, so long as he (the banker), is greedy.  Another way of looking at this is to see Binford as the one who undertakes a journey to another world--that of the criminal, and it's thanks to the endeavors of the "good" criminals that he finally sees the light and confesses.

Rebirth: Heyes and Curry escape from the dark spell cast by Binford's attempt to frame them through their own convoluted, if ultimately positive actions to bring him to justice.

Comedy: I think this episode is a good example of this plot type.  Curry and Heyes are certainly "thrown into states of confusion, darkness and bewilderment" by being accused of a bank robbery and murder they didn't commit.  One could, perhaps, see the resolution to their predicament as an extreme reaction, in the sense that they had to be very devious in order to prove themselves innocent.

Overcoming the Monster: Besides the Quest, I think this is the most obvious plot type for this episode.  August Binford is absolutely "a dark and evil creature…that has some sort of evil and/or destruction power over…" the boys.  If they hadn't conquered Binford, they would have been in a very bad place indeed.

Rags to Riches:  Maybe this applies if considering that Heyes and Curry were already at the top of their profession as famous--notorious--outlaws.  As they pursued their hope of amnesty, encountering Binford snatched that possibility away--unless they could defeat him by exposing him as the person behind the bank robbery and murder.

I don't see any vestiges of Tragedy in this episode.

What are your thoughts???

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PostSubject: Re: A Fistful of Diamonds   Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:50 pm

Oh Ghislaine, you post such interesting things! You got what's left of my little gray cells percolating. And "Fistful of Diamonds" is one of my all-time favorite episodes. My ideas on the themes are a little different than yours.

The Quest:
The main quest is the quest for amnesty, which is all-important to our protagonists, and becoming more distant all the time. Binford's story is the problem/force that is obstructing their goal in this episode.

Voyage and Return:
IMHO, this is the boys' physical journey encapsulated within the episode. They start out at Soapy's, they travel to the town, and they return to Soapy's.

Rebirth:
I think this applies more to the banker, Binford, and I'll think of him as protagonist, not hero. Once upon a time, he was an honest man, but he has since come under some kind of malign influence. In Binford's case, the malign influence is twofold. The first is his own greed. He has been speculating with depositor's money.

The second influence is Betsy. He needs money to maintain his mistress, and he already has a wife to support. And Betsy, bless her greedy little heart, expects Binford to divorce his wife and marry her, thus providing her with status and a comfortable lifestyle. Binford is definitely the prisoner of things within his own psyche - greed and lust. The liberating force for Binford comes in the form of Heyes and Curry. Their desire to clear their names is the positive force that will also make Binford an honest man again.

Comedy:
Heyes and Curry are responding to a situation, but I don't believe they are "thrown into states of confusion, darkness and bewilderment." In fact, once their plan is underway, Heyes and Curry seem to be in control. If anyone is confused and bewildered, it's Betsy and Binford. They're fooled by the quality of the diamonds into
stealing money to buy out the boys' claim. Binford goes so far as to set up a corporation, only to find out that he's been manipulated into creating a massive fraud.

And Betsy is absolutely convinced that Binford is going to be a millionaire and will provide her with a life of great luxury, so much so that she turns down $10,000 offered by Curry, only to be abandoned by her lover and left without any money at all.

Tragedy:
Binford is the tragic figure. It is by his own actions and decisions that he loses everything: his powerful position as bank president, the respect of the community, his money, his mistress, and ultimately, his freedom, because he goes to jail. According to the episode, apparently he won't lose his life and be hung for murder,
because he confessed everything. But everything he had, everything he knew, is destroyed. His wife is apparently still out there, although we never meet her in this episode. Even so, I'll make a wild guess and say that she's not too happy with the turn of events or with her husband.

Overcoming the Monster: Betsy is the monster. She tempts Binford and draws him into an illicit relationship that eventually results in his committing adultery, theft, fraud, and murder. Now there is a line or two from Betsy in the episode, in which she says that Binford was using depositor's money to speculate in mining stocks. That means he was already thieving before he met her. But, once she was in the picture, he needed more money just to maintain her. So, yeah, she is definitely the dark person who has a destructive power over somebody.

You could also make the case that Binford's own greed is the monster. He's been treating the depositor's money as his own for at least a little while. He wasn't satisfied with his own comfortable lifestyle as bank president. He wanted more money for his own selfish ends, and he found a way to get it.

Rags to Riches: The characters of Betsy and Binford thought they were going from rags to riches, because they expected to make an awful lot of money from the diamond field.

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PostSubject: Re: A Fistful of Diamonds   Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:39 pm


Back atcha, RosieAnnie--your comments are always thought-provoking and fun to read!

I agree with just about everything you say. I especially like your comments about Binford vis-a-vis Rebirth; they make perfect sense.

As for Comedy, you wrote:
Heyes and Curry are responding to a situation, but I don't believe they are "thrown into states of confusion, darkness and bewilderment." In fact, once their plan is underway, Heyes and Curry seem to be in control. If anyone is confused and bewildered, it's Betsy and Binford.

I still think that, in the beginning of the episode when they were at Soapy's, they were in a state of, if not confusion, then at lest darkness and somewhat of bewilderment. Because as they describe their present predicament, with them not seeing any way to clear their names, I do think they are in a state of darkness, if one takes that to mean feeling depressed, anxious, and uncertain about how to extricate themselves from the situation they are in.

But, of course, Betsey and Binford are definitely confused by the plan the boys enact. And, of course, the mining engineer is thoroughly confused, too!

Very interesting that you posit Betsy as the Monster. I like that! As well as Binford's greed being the monster.

I applied the plot types just to Heyes and Curry but you went further and looked at them from all the characters' viewpoints, which makes a lot of sense. Thanks for commenting!

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PostSubject: Kingsburg - Fist full of Diamonds   Sat May 21, 2016 6:21 am

Hi - Cal here - what an interesting thread - I'm definitely going to find the source of the plot types - sounds intriguing.

Hope you don't mind me asking a question about this episode here.  

Couldn't help noticing they were in Kingsberg.  

I'm sure they refer to Wade Sawyer as coming from Kingsberg at the beginning of Wrong Train to Brimstone.  

Are there any other AS&J references to Kingsberg ... and are they meant to be the same place.

Also

Love the details of the interiors of the the Hotel rooms and the painted wood colours of the exteriors on the street when Curry goes a wooing in this episode.
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