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"Three Million Dollars More or Less"
Season 1, Episode 13
Mr. Howell gives Gilligan a worthless oil well in lieu of a costly golf bet
Basic Info
Air Date: 12/26/64
Written By: Bill Davenport and Charles Tannen
Directed By: Thomas Montgomery
Guest Cast: None
Episode guide
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Three Million Dollars More or Less is the thirteenth episode of the First Season. It first aired December 26, 1964.


Working near the lagoon, Gilligan and the Skipper are building a watchtower based on a dream the Skipper had that a boat passed by the island. Meanwhile, Mr. Howell is playing golf as Gilligan walks by carrying some supplies for the watchtower. Commenting that golf doesn't look that hard, Gilligan is forced by Mr. Howell to make a putt as he makes noise. When Gilligan makes the putt, Mr. Howell becomes indignant, upping his bet against Gilligan and holding him hostage until he wins his money back while keeping Gilligan from helping the Skipper. By nightfall, the Skipper goes angrily looking for Gilligan, and by the time he finds him, he learns that Gilligan's 25-cent bet has escalated to three million dollars. Forgetting he's angry, the Skipper lures Gilligan away before he can lose the money back to Howell. The next morning, he goes off to find Howell to honor the bet, but Mr. Howell purposely eludes him and meets with Gilligan in secret, having Gilligan fill out an income tax form and selling him the Tehechapuku Oil and Mining Corporation in exchange for his three million dollars. Unfortunately, the oil company is worthless. Located in Dust Bowl, Oklahoma, it had been a wedding gift to him from Mrs. Howell's father who had thought it was a football stadium. On the radio, however, the news reports that Howell Industries has struck oil on the very same property. Realizing he's now rich, Gilligan is now getting special attention all over the island as Mr. Howell tries to get the property back. He invites the Skipper and Gilligan to dinner at his hut, trying to finagle them into games of chance to win back the oil field. When the Skipper confesses pool is the only game on which he gambles, Mr. Howell throws back the cover on the dinner table to reveal it's really a pool table. He dominates the game as their betting increases to twelve million dollars, and when it comes time to quit, he demands the bet be paid. Gilligan signs the deed to the oil company back over to him to cover it, and Mr. Howell walks away cheering his own savvy business acumen. The following morning, Gilligan is poor again, but then the news reports that Howell Industries has investigated the source of the oil in Dust Bowl and traced it to a buried oil truck. As the announcer asks where is the owner of the worthless property, the Skipper smugly points to Howell passed out on the ground.


Main Cast

Guest Cast


  • At the start of the episode, the Skipper is building a watchtower, the construction of which is still debated in President Gilligan, but it is not until Physical Fatness that it actually ends up finished.
  • Gilligan and Mr. Howell play golf, doubling their bet from a quarter to three million dollars. There is no way to get to three million dollars from a quarter unless Mr. Howell was rounding off the amount as it increased.
  • When Ginger visits Gilligan, he notices her new dress made from his duffel bag, but it can't actually be new as it's been seen in previous episodes.
  • Ginger shows off her dress made from Gilligan's duffel bag, but it makes very few appearances in the series.
  • Mrs. Howell claims she's made dinner for the boys despite the fact that she can't cook in Agonized Labor. However, she must have learned some skills from Mary Ann because she bakes a cake in Gilligan Goes Gung-Ho.
  • Coincidentally, golf also turns out to be an island activity on the ABC-TV series, "Lost."
  • Mr. Howell mentions his father-in-law somewhat admirably in this episode for the first and only time in the series, suggesting they are on friendly terms. It is not until Agonized Labor he mentions his mother-in-law, only in an unfavorable light.
  • It is unknown if Mrs. Howell's parents are still alive. If the Howells are in their 50s, their parents would conceivably in their 70s to 80s.
  • The timing of the Tehechapuku Oil and Mining Corporation discovery is incredibly unlikely, occurring completely within the time Gilligan owns it.
  • In this episode, Mr. Howell reveals making many business transactions over a game of pool, showing off his exceptional talent in the game.
  • Mr. Howell makes a roulette wheel out of the wheel of the S.S. Minnow, but the numbers must wash off or the Skipper must have had another because it reappears in other episodes.
  • Gilligan briefly becomes a millionaire again in The Sweepstakes.
  • Mr. Howell faints when he learns the once worthless oil field is worthless again. He is the first character in the series to faint. Ginger also faints in The Return of Wrongway Feldman, Ship Ahoax and Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow. The Skipper faints in Allergy Time. Mrs. Howell faints in Love Me, Love My Skipper and Mary Ann faints in Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow and The Second Ginger Grant.


  • Gilligan: Hi, Skipper.
    Skipper: What are you doing, Gilligan?
    Gilligan: Mr. Howell's teaching me how to play golf. He even gave me this club to use.
    Skipper: And I gave you this hammer to use.
    Gilligan: I just took a little time off to practice my driving.
    Skipper: Well, if you'd like to practice your driving, Gilligan, Start on those nails!

  • Gilligan - "New dress?"
    Ginger - "Like it? I made it out of your duffel bag. I hope you don't mind."
    Gilligan - "No, my duffel never looked so good."

  • Gilligan - "What good is having money if you can't do something nice for your friends?"

  • Mr. Howell - "My boy, do you know anything about oil?"
    Gilligan - "No, but I worked in a gas station once."
    Mr. Howell - "The American Way: from grease monkey to president of an oil company. Just show you what a man can do if he has a little drive."
    Gilligan - "He can do pretty good if he knows how to putt, too."

  • Mr. Howell - "First of all, you have to list all your dependents. Do you have a wife or children?"
    Gilligan - "No, but I got a father about five minutes ago."

  • Mr. Howell - "It's made out. But first of all, you have to fill out an income tax form."
    Gilligan - "Income tax form?"
    Mr. Howell - "Yes. I didn't know what your salary was and I was afraid that $3 million might kick you into a higher income bracket."

  • Mr. Howell: Well, you see, I settled the debt by giving Gilligan one of my oil companies.
    Gilligan: Yeah, I'm president of the Tehechapuku Oil and Mining Corporation.
    Skipper: Tehechapuku Oil and Mining? What is that?
    Mr. Howell: Well, That's two hundred acres of land in Dust Bowl, Oklahoma.
    Skipper: Dust Bowl? I never heard of it. What part of Oklahoma is that in?
    Mr. Howell: Well, sometimes it's north, and sometimes it's south. It depends upon which way the wind is blowing.
    Skipper: In other words, Gilligan is the proud owner of a worthless oil company.
    Mr. Howell: What do you mean "worthless"? I got three million dollars for it.

  • Professor - "Why I'd love to have seen the look on Mr. Howell's face when you won all that money from him last night."
    Gilligan - "So would I, but it was too dark."

  • Mr. Howell - "Yes, I couldn't agree with you more. Come on, Gilligan, putt."
    Skipper - "Just a moment, Howell. This boy doesn't know what he's doing. Gilligan, I know what's going on in your mind."
    Gilligan - "You do?"
    Skipper - "Certainly. You've gotten a little ahead, and it looks like a pretty easy way of making some money."
    Gilligan - "Sure does."
    Skipper - "That's where you're wrong. How much do you think you can win gambling?"
    Gilligan - "Six million dollars if I can sink this putt."
    Skipper - "You see? A whole afternoon wasted, and for what? What?"
    Gilligan - "I already won $3 million. We're playing double or nothing."

  • Mr. Howell - "Nobody hustles me on a golf course."

  • Mrs. Howell - "You did much better this time, darling. You got a 34."
    Mr. Howell - "34? I finally parred the hole."
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