The old truck rolled and shook over the rolling hills outside Mayberry, North Carolina. The family patriarch gripped the wheel hard as he weaved carefully from side to side as he turned the it hard and rolled briefly through the brush by the road and back to the road.
"Well, Charlene and Dud are married and off on their honeymoon." Briscoe Darling tried to control their truck. "It's just us, boys." One of the boys holding on in back held on as his feet went airborne for a second. Taking to the air for a moment, his brothers pulled on him and he landed back on the truck. His brother grabbed him by the seat of his pants as another one nearly sailed off in another turn.
"Boys," Briscoe saw the lights of their cabin through the trees. "I think we lost our brakes on that last turn!" The truck was barreling as brother looked to brother and began to prepare to meet the banks of Jordan. The truck lurched, bounded and stalled from lack of gas it rolled just within their property line. Grinning ear to ear, their father pulled out a cloth and wiped his face.
"Timed it just right." He looked through the darkness of their land and saw their cabin lit up with lights. There was another truck on their property they'd never seen before. Bigger, just as dilapidated and with a big bench nailed to the back, it was propped up on a stump as someone underneath it was grunting and working hard on its underside. Briscoe fetched his rifle as he and his boys surrounded the stranger and looked down on him.
"Son," Briscoe looked distrustfully down through the space under the hood at him. "You better have a good reason for being on my land." He pointed the rifle at him.
"Sure do," The tall stranger stood up with a big goofy grin and wiped oil on his shirt. "We're lost." He turned to the cabin. "Hey, Uncle Jed, we's got company!"
"Jethro," Another mustached patriarch came out of the cabin. "You got that truck going?" The lanky mountain man came and stood face to face with Briscoe as they stared to one another. It looked to be a face off, the uncle and his nephew against the father and his boys. Both patriarchs smirked as their mustaches bristled.
"Howdy," The uncle started. "This your cabin?"
"Hope you don't mind us making ourselves to home." The uncle started with a modicum of peace. "You see, we were started for home from Siler City, but Jethro there, he's my nephew fixing the truck, got us lost and then the truck gave out. We coasted for here and began camping out. We'll help you with your land if you let us stay. What can I call ya?"
"I didn't quite get that." Jed made a look.
"Well, howdy there, Mr. Darling." The mountain men had a friendly start. "I'm Jed Clampett, that's my nephew, Jethro..."
"Jed, vittles is ready." There was an old woman in a prairie dress and combat boots stood before them on the porch of the cabin. "Oh, we got company…"
"Granny," Jed reached out to his mother-in-law. "This is Briscoe Darling and his boys. They own the cabin."
"Really," Granny looked back and flirted a bit with Briscoe. "You don't mind us staying with you, do you?"
"No, ma'am," Briscoe removed his hat then bumped his boys to do the same. They all sniffed the smells coming from their cabin. "Not as long as we can share in the food. What'chu got?"
"Stuffed possum, dandelion greens, pickled pig's feet and coot cobbler!"
"Did you say coot cobbler?" Briscoe's eyes bugged out like the headlights on his truck. "Boys, we gonna eat!" He turned to his boys, but they were staring at the pretty blonde girl on the porch. Elly Mae Clampett just grinned abashedly as she stroked the raccoon on her shoulder and the goat at her food.
"What did I tell ya?" Granny turned to Jed. "Five potential husbands for Elly Mae, and one for me." She began chuckling under her breath.
"Granny," Jed turned toward her. "Don't you start matchmaking." He turned to Briscoe. "So, Mr. Darling, what'chu grow round here ?"
"Oh, hogs, chickens, taters, wheat, rye..." Briscoe and his boys advanced on the cabin.
"You can make pretty good things from that last three..." Granny grinned with a spark to Briscoe.
Deputy Barney Fife sat back in the chair behind the Sheriff's desk and picked up the phone. Her smirked with a bit of unconscious ego, rang for Sara the local operator and clicked his tongue as he waited for a response.
"Sara, he asked. "Get me the diner…" He blew an odd tune through his teeth as someone responded again from the other end.
"Hi snooky-cakes… Hello Frank…" Barney rolled his eyes embarrassingly as the boss answered instead of his favorite waitress. "Yes… Put her on…" Barney's eyes bugged out of embarrassed frustration. He looked briefly to the door. Andy didn't seem to be anywhere in sight, but then he could drop in at any second.
"Juanita? Guess who?" Barney grinned as quite the romantic fellow. "It's Barney-Parney-Poo." He giggled a bit with her. "Look, Andy gave me the weekend off. I thought we could run to Mount Pilot and, heh, heh, heh, you'd like that, wouldn't you?"
Barney smirked as the rascal he was. He was quite the lady's man.
"Well," He Continued. "We could grab a bite at Morelli's and then see the movie at the big theatre there. "You wouldn't know what's playing, would you?"
"It's Gary Cooper in The Big Western." Sheriff Andy Taylor announced. "It's called the Long Trail."
"Thanks, Ange," Barney looked over and continued. "Andy says its…" His eyes widened and his hands fumbled with the phone and hung up out of embarrassment. "Where'd you come from!"
"I've been in the back room the whole time!" Andy couldn't stop from grinning. He watched Barney get out of his chair as he moved to sit down. As he did, his foot hit a large moonshine jug. "What's this ?"
"What ?" Barney looked up trying to get out of his embarrassment. "Oh, Otis brought that in."
"Oh," Andy uncorked it and sniffed the contents as his head lashed back from the fumes. He blinked his eyes to lose the burning in them.
"I don't think this is moonshine!" Andy looked alarmed as he rose up with the jug and headed toward the front doors of the courthouse. Holding the jug at arms length off the curb, he was handling the hard liquor as if it was dynamite.
"Well, what is it then?" Barney watched as Andy tipped the jug just a slight bit. One tiny drop on the dirt street exploded with a large poof as Barney's eyes widened and his body began shaking in fear.
"Barney," Andy replied. "That's Tennessee White Lightning!"
"Oh, my gosh…" Barney fretted. "You don't think he's going to Tennessee for his alcohol, do you?"
"No," Andy continued treating the jug carefully as he re-entered the courthouse. "More than likely someone from there is here in Mayberry." Andy turned to the cells to wake Otis. He took the keys and unlocked the cells as he roused the likeable drinker from his sleep.
"Otis, Otis, wake up," He jarred him back to the waking world. "Where'd you get the liquor!"
"I can't tell you, Andy." Otis slurred on his words as both Andy and Barney stood up straight to avoid his breath.
"It sure stays with you a long time." Barney mumbled on his breath.
"Otis," Andy shook him again. "You have to. Someone in the hills has enough of that white lightening to empty Myers Lake with Eagle Rock. This more serious than a goat filled with dynamite!"
"I can't tell you, Andy." Otis repeated. "We drunks have a code we have to live by."
"Otis," Barney thumbed his gun. "You tell us where you got the lightning or we'll have your wife come start picking you up."
"It was an old lady and a big dumb-looking kid in a big truck." Otis saw the fear of God before him. "That's all I know."
"Old lady," Barney turned to Andy. "Must be the Morrison sisters again."
"No, it can't be." Andy left the cell and checked the map over his desk. "They moved to Bannertown."
"Andy," Barney shook his head in short movements. "Somewhere out there is a still full of this gasoline elixir waiting to go off. How are we going to find it ?"
"Well," Andy looked up. "Before it goes off, I reckon."
Jed Clampett and Briscoe Darling sat outside at the back of the cabin as they sat and whittled as they talked. They were both widowers with daughters as they shared their experiences. Even swapping a few fish stories and tricks, they looked up as Granny came around angry as a hornet with a bee in her bonnet.
"Jed," She screamed. "I, oh, Mr. Darling..." She calmed. "You're here." She flirted with him.
"Yes, ma'am." Briscoe stood, took off his hat and surrendered to her as he sat back down.
"Granny," Jed looked up. "Something got a brier under your saddle."
"What?" Granny got riled again. "Oh, fetch me a strap. I made three pots of possum and fat back and each one vanished. Each one down the bottomless stomach!"
"You mean Jethro?"
"I mean the gizzard that left Beverly Hills!"
"It couldn't have been Jethro." Jed whittled a bit more. "He ran Elly into town. Even he can't eat from that far away."
"I wouldn't put it past him!" Granny turned round as Briscoe looked up at her and continued whittling.
"That mother-in-law of yours is just a mulely as a plow horse dragging a boulder up the Rockies." He observed.
"Yep," Jed agreed. "And getting even more mulely as she gets older. Back home, they say better to cross a bear in the woods than to cross Granny."
Granny was mumbling to herself as she returned to her stewing pot. Angry and upset, she looked ahead as she saw her sneaky vittle thief and grabbed her rifle off the porch as she sneaked over carefully and buried the tip of the rifle in the stranger's back.
"You have one minute to put back what you took before I hollow you out!" She meant business.
"Lady, you better move that gun before I bend it round your neck."
"Why your nothing but a no-good puddle-jumper!"
"Puddle jumper?" The stranger began giggling and jumping round Granny as she kept the rifle on him. "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words may never touch me!" He giggled and jumped some more.
"Dagnabbit, Stop jumping before I load you with rock salt." Granny spun round keeping her eyes on him. "Who are you, mister?"
"Bass is the name!" He stopped. "Ernest T. Bass! Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies!" He started squealing and laughing as Granny tried to make a target out of him. She fired the rifle just as Bass leapt away. Realizing the old lady meant business, he stopped and stared at her.
"Old lady," He spoke in his high nasally voice. "You better be careful who you fire that gun at. I might just go whoop-ass on you."
"You better not be just fooling!" Granny shot him a look.
Jed and Briscoe looked at each other as they realized they'd heard a rifle shot. They stood to go investigate just a figure went tearing through the woods behind them. The Clampett patriarch mugged a bit as he tried to make it out.
"What in the tarnation was that?" He asked as a second figure went after the first.
"Looked like Ernest T. Bass." Briscoe raised his eyes. "He's running like there was a bull a'gining on him."
"Worse," Jed's eyes widened. "That's Granny!"
Floyd Lawson sat in front of his barbershop and ate the sandwiches his daughter had packed into his lunch. Watching the traffic, he waved cheerfully to Emma Brand-Watson as she cut across the street and then noticed Howard Sprague crossing over to Walkers Drugstore.
"Getting shaggy there, Howard." He waved to the dapperly attired young man as Gilley Walker zoomed by in his car. Floyd just shot him a friendly look as he vanished beyond the theatre and continued eating his lunch. His daughter didn't make his lunch the same way his dearly departed wife did, but she sure put her heart in it.
"Hey, Andy," Floyd looked up at the much loved sheriff. "Want a trim."
"Not today, Floyd." Andy sat down and waved to Mrs. Mendlebright coming out of Boysinger's Bakery.
"I heard we got moon-shiners." Floyd started the conversation.
"Yep," Andy gasped as he felt a cold breeze hit Main Street. "Ben's been on to me to get them, but Barney and I were all through the Rimshaw House down through Thatcher's Woods to Franklin Hollow and we didn't see nary a thing."
"Someone said the Morrison's sisters were at it again." Floyd looked back.
"Naw," Andy leaned back on the bench. "They moved to Bannertown. 'Sides, this is white lightning. These moon-shiners have to be from Tennessee or thereabouts. I got a message to the Tennessee State Police too in case they ran someone down here. Barney and I will have to keep looking as soon as Goober gets done with the patrol car."
Floyd blinked his eyes as all that information sank into his brain. He looked across the street as Howard waved to them during his return to his office. On his way, the single-minded county clerk grinned to a young lady that passed by him. Blonde and pretty with a nice blue dress, the young damsel seemed to stir music in everyone who saw her.
"Andy," Floyd nudged the Sheriff to take a look. "Look what's coming."
"Well," Andy grinned wishing he were young again. "That's definitely not a boy."
"Howdy." The pretty blonde grinned the Floyd.
"Howdy," Floyd beamed as a gentleman to her. "You must be new in town."
"That's right." The girl shined abashedly. "Been staying up in the hills. Name's Elly Mae Clampett."
"Pretty name." Andy commented as he sat next to Floyd. "Staying with friends we made known as the Darling Family."
"Oh the Darlings…" Andy grinned his smile with his traditional Southern charm. "I know them too. They're good nice folks."
"I know…" Elly heard the familiar honking of the truck and turned round to face it. Turning the wheel heard to stop near his dumb girl cousin, Jethro turned to pull up alongside her as one front wheel came up on the curb and dropped off just short of hitting the lamppost. Andy stood as the dilapidated truck jumped to a stop for the wide grinning driver turning to Ellie.
"Come on Ellie," Jethro turned to his girl cousin. "Best we get going while it's still light."
"Sure thing, Jethro." Ellie climbed on board. "You sure you got it working now?"
"Positive," Jethro looked at her. " 'Cepting for the spare pieces that wouldn't go back on."
"So," Andy was poking over the old truck as he silently noticed empty jugs under the bench nailed down in back. "How do you like staying with the Darlings?"
"Just fine," Jethro grinned. " 'Cepting for those four boys. They never talk. But then they probably never did see a International Hollywood playboy like myself."
"Really?" Andy grinned friendlily.
"Yeah," Jethro continued rambling as Elly crossed her arms. "I've plum been through the Sixth Grade!" He turned the truck engine over again. "See ya."
"I'll be seeing ya." Andy waved before rubbing his chin in thought.
"Nice boy." Floyd added as Barney pulled up near in the patrol car. "Nice girl too. I hope they stay."
"Andy," Barney was calling excitedly as he struggled to free himself from the seat belt in the patrol car. "I know where the still is! I know where the still is! Jubal Foster just left the gas station with a huge load of potatoes. He's at it again! Let's go get him!"
"I don't thing so, Barn." Andy watched the Clampett truck turn round the square, pass the post office and head back north to the Darling Cabin. "I think I know just where it is."
The Darling Boys were picking their strings as well as they ever did as Briscoe kept the beat on his jug. Jed stood up and grinned as he danced a jig on his tall skinny legs. A smile on his lips and music in his heart, he danced with his daughter as Jethro suddenly turned his leg to the patrol car coming up the hill to the cabin. Granny continued rocking in tune as she enjoyed these simple country pleasures over life in the big city. Beyond the strains of Bluegrass tunes wafting over the land, the sound of civilization came to them in the form of car tires up the dirt road to the cabin.
"Hey, Uncle Jed," He looked round. "Someone called the law. S'pose Mrs. Drysdale heard us all the way out here."
"I don't think so." Jed continued whittling.
"Mr. Darling." Andy grinned and waved from the patrol car as he parked it. Barney was out first while Andy shut off the engine and slid out closing his car door behind him. "I see you got yourself some company."
"Oh. Just new friends I made." Briscoe admitted. "Can never have too many. Would you like some cider?"
"Cider…" Barney rolled his eyes and took a professional stance to the illegal liquor business.
"No, thank you." Andy looked to Barney holding an axe and looking around the yard. "But I'm afraid I'm here on business. Someone up here's been making moonshine, the hard kind. I gotta keep this a dry county."
"Well, it ain't me or the boys." Briscoe looked around.
"I know who you looking for Mr. Sheriff." Jed spoke up. "My mother-in-law. Muliest old lady to come out of Tennessee."
"Well, she can't get away with it." Barney added as he meant business. "We got to run her in."
"Paw!" Ellie stood up the scrawny deputy. "Don't let them take Granny!"
"Hush, now." Jed turned to her.
"We won't take her." Andy promised. "Just as long as she stops making her corn squeezings. Could you point out where she is?"
"She's somewhere around her." Jethro grinned. "Granny just thinks you're a revenuer."
"And she's from Tennessee?" Andy got an idea as he looked round the cabin. "Well, we'll just have to get her like Grant took Richmond!"
"Who's talking the Yankee talk!" Granny reared up out of a spot in the trees toting a rifle and came running as Barney tried to pull his gun. Andy stopped him as Granny came toting with her twelve-gage shotgun and lifted it straight up to Andy's face. Andy barely responded. He just kept his hand on Barney's piece to keep him from pulling it and making the worst of a potential situation.
"Did I say Grant!" Andy made a face. "I meant Lee. I mean, everyone knows the South won the war!"
"Well, that's better." Granny lowered her rock salt-loaded rifle while Barney stood confused. That's not the history he knew.
"Andy, what you talking about..." Barney started as Andy clamped his mouth shut and pointed him in the direction that Granny had come from. He briefly understood as he reared his axe up and headed after the still.
"Jethro," Jed took Granny's rifle. "Hold your granny."
"Right, Uncle Jed." Jethro held up the little old lady as she began screaming at the site of her still being smashed. Barney looked at the huge pot and copper coils and reared back on the axe loving his job just as Andy stopped him. Granny was screaming her head off.
"Take an axe and go pow, pow, pow?" The deputy was ready to go.
"Not on Tennessee white lightning." Andy fretted. "You'd send us to the Promised Land First Class. We gotta be careful with it."
"Sheriff," Jed hollered. "You better do something 'fore Granny gets loose." Andy noticed the tiny lady fighting to save her still and kicked some dirt into the fire to put it out as he and his deputy overturned the base of the still and poured the elixir to run into the creek. Once she was released, Granny turned round and kicked Jethro in the leg.
"Andy," Barney watched the lightning seep into the ground. "What's this about the South winning the war?"
"Well, Barney," Andy grinned. "You see, I have yet to meet a little old lady from Tennessee who believed otherwise!"
The next day, Andy stuck to his word and didn't arrest Granny as long as Jed paid her fine. The spirited grandma ended up brooding in the bench on the truck as Jethro began driving them back home.
"It'll be sure grand to be home again." Jed remarked.
"Yeah," Ellie added. "And all my critters."
"Home?" Granny scoffed. "In Beverly Hills? That cabin was more closer to home than anywhere else."
"Oh, Granny," Jed added. "Wait till you get back to the mansion."
"I can't make my rheumatiz medicine there either." Granny reminded him.
"Hey, Jed," Jethro leaned forward as he looked ahead. "There's a sign. It says, Welcome to Hazzard County!"
"Hot dog," Granny cheered. "Maybe I can make my rheumatiz medicine there!"
As the Clampett truck went by, a young figure watching from the bushes turned to his slightly obese partner. Scratching his dark whiskers, he removed his cap, stroked his hair back and watched the truck turn at the crossroads as he replaced his cap.
"J.D.," He responded. "Looks like we got visitors…"
"I think you're right, Jesse." His fat buddy chewed on a piece of raw liver. "I just hope they aren't the kind to make trouble. I don't like people who make trouble."
"J.D." Jesse Duke looked back to him. "You were making trouble right out of your momma's womb!"