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"Arthur's Treasure Hunt"
Season/Series: 3
Number in season: 9a
Original Airdate: United States November 26, 1998
Canada May 3, 1999[1]
Germany March 5, 2002[2]
Written by: Stephen Krensky
Storyboard by: Mario Cabrera
Rich Vanatte
"Buster's Growing Grudge"
"The Return of the King"
Read transcript

"Arthur's Treasure Hunt" is the first half of the ninth episode in the third season of Arthur.


When Buster digs up an ancient arrowhead, everyone else wants to hunt for buried treasures, too. But how can Arthur become a famous discoverer of lost civilizations and stuff if his Mom won't let him dig up the back yard?[3]


The teaser opens with Arthur in his dad's workshop, having trouble with the blender, as he is covered in bacon and milkshake stains. He turns to the camera and asks the viewers if they ever wondered what would happen if all of the great scientists and explorers had to do whatever their parents told them. He then gives two examples: Galileo (who discovered one more moon of Jupiter) and Sir Isaac Newton (who discovered the law of gravity when an apple hit him on his head).

As the fantasy ends, Arthur concludes to the viewers that the whole course of discovery would never happen if everyone did everything their parents said. David then appears and sarcastically comments to Arthur that Sir Isaac Newton would have used his father's good cooking equipment to make a bacon flavored shake, before asking him to clean up the mess. Arthur then sighs in disappointment.

Arthur's Treasure Hunt

The episode opens with Arthur and his friends skipping stones by the pond until Binky throws a big rock, which causes the water it hit to splash over them; Brain tells him to use a smaller one. Buster comes by and stops, all out of breath from running. Binky notices the stone in his hand, takes it and is about to throw it until Buster tells him not to, and that he just found that. When Arthur wonders if it's a chipped rock, Brain says it's an arrowhead. When Arthur asks Buster where he found it, Buster replies that he was digging up the ground for his mom's garden; it was buried right behind his building. Muffy wonders who buried it. Brain's answer is: “No one. Prehistoric tribes lived all over this area. Over time, rain and floods washed away the tools the tribes used.” Arthur wonders if that means there could be arrowheads and other stuff buried in their own backyards, and Brain tells him that there certainly could be; all you need to do is dig.

Arthur then imagines he's digging for something in his backyard until he bumps something, which happens to be a helmet that is stuck in the ground. Arthur then digs some more, and it turn out to be from a big statue of a Roman centurion; after digging some more, he discovers the whole ruins of the Roman Empire. When he says “wow,” it echoes all over Elwood City.

After the fantasy ends, Jane is heard, saying that she's not worried about ancient ruins; it's the modern ones she doesn't want to see. Arthur then tells her that all his friends get to dig in their yards: “We’re supposed to meet later and show what we found.” Jane sighs, and he does his best to assure her he will be careful while in the backyard before adding “Please”. She finally gives in before adding that she has errands to do. She then tells him that he can only dig behind the garage, but no place else; she doesn't want an excavation site for a yard. Arthur tells her thanks.

He turns and heads to a place behind the garage, while D.W. is looking out her bedroom window. D.W. comes down from her room to the backyard and asks Arthur if he's burying his report card; he tells her that he was digging for treasure. When D.W. asks what kind, Arthur replies with “Arrowheads and civilizations and stuff.”

D.W. sees something and pulls it out; it's a root that looks kind of like a snake. She waves it a little at Arthur, pretending it's alive, and Arthur tells her to be careful. She then tells him that it's a root, and that she can't believe he fell for it: “Even the Tibbles are too old for that gag, and they’re only four.” Arthur tells her he knew she was faking, and she replies with “Sure. Hey, you want to trade in some of your tiny dimes for a big shiny penny?”

As Arthur continues to dig, D.W. can't wait to tell everyone else that Arthur thought the root she found was a big snake; just then Arthur stumbles upon something while digging and discovers an old rusty tin can that reads “Digestive Biscuits.”

Then he continues to dig for something decent until he finds something that looks like a bone. He thinks the bone might belong to a saber-tooth tiger or a T-Rex; it turns out that this bone was just a squeaky doggy toy and belongs to Pal, which D.W. notices. Arthur feels like everyone has found lots of stuff by now. He imagines Binky pulling out the big head of a Sphinx in his backyard, Muffy and her caretakers finding some good diamonds in a mine, and Brain using his metal detector to look for something unique and finding a metal detector in his yard along with the other worn-out ones.

As Arthur continues digging, he thinks there is nothing there and then he sees Pal digging and runs to him. D.W. tells him he's not supposed to dig in the yard, but Arthur replies that he's simply going to watch Pal. Analyzing the hole, Arthur says it's not that big and not that deep either, and suggests to fix it. D.W. says that he's not fixing it; he's making it bigger, and adds that “Mom is gonna plotz!”.

Arthur then tells her that he's just going to dig a little until he finds the stuff that's buried back here. D.W. wonders what kind of stuff until Arthur then imagines himself discovering a secret passageway and opening it, and him and Pal exploring it. Arthur then grabs a torch to see his major discovery. He believes that it's huge and then he discovers a secret door. He thinks it could be some ancient temple or it could be a trap and just then he opens it and a stroke of light appears, which turns out to be Buster's closet; Buster asks Arthur if he wants a bite of his sandwich. After he stops imagining this, D.W. asks Arthur if he really thinks there are secret passageways and Arthur replies that there's probably a lot of tunnels that go everywhere: “It’s worth a try and it’s not just for me.”

This time, he imagines that his family are going to have a barbecue. However, David says he forgot to buy charcoal and the stores are all closed. Jane thinks they'll just have to cancel the barbecue, but Arthur tells everyone that they don't have to, and that he'll be right back. He goes to the passageway, sneaks into a closed Supermarket, grabs some charcoal and pays for it with his money at a cash register with nobody around. Finally, he goes back to the barbecue, and Jane tells David that these were the best hot dogs he has ever cooked and David replies with “Thanks to Arthur and his secret passage.” Jane then tells Arthur it was a good thing he didn't listen to her before she hugs him, and the fantasy ends.

D.W. wonders if Arthur thinks his mom would really say that. Arthur thinks she might, unless he never finds a secret passageway. D.W. continues to protest, and Arthur sarcastically says they can just go look for some tin cans since that's much better than a secret passageway. D.W. gives in, saying Arthur could just dig a little and Arthur smiles. With that, they dig around every single spot, and don't find anything at all.

Arthur thinks they must have the most boring backyard in the history of backyards, but D.W. thinks they were just looking in the wrong places. Just then, Arthur asks, “Who says we have to stay in the backyard?”

They go to the front yard, but just then Arthur's friends come over. Brain tells Arthur they were waiting for him back at the pond, and Buster thinks Arthur must have found something really big, but Arthur says he hasn't, yet. Brain says they found great stuff. When Arthur asks, “What? A metal detector?” Brain replies, “No, these” while showing him some pennies. Brain then reveals that they're not quite in mint condition, but still over 30 years old.

Binky found a root that looks like an iguana, which he calls “Enguan”. When D.W. asks, “You gave a name to a root?”, Binky replies that he names all of his roots. Francine found a really old sippy cup since she thinks has been lost for years, but that it's still in pretty good shape. Muffy shows that she found a diamond necklace; Brain notices it has a price tag on it, and Muffy admits she bought it instead of finding it in her backyard (jewels do come from the ground, however.)

When Buster asks Arthur what he found, Arthur says that it was roots and rocks, mostly; he didn't think of any names for them, though. Then D.W. shows the tin can to everyone and Francine thinks it's really old. Brain believes it's over 40 years old, and Muffy is shocked by how “ancient” that makes it (it's as old as her mother!)

Buster thinks Arthur is lucky because his mom let him “dig up the whole backyard.” Arthur looks surprised and asks if he did all that damage, and D.W. replies that he did. When Arthur begins to wonder what to do, D.W. says he'll be in big trouble. Brain suggests that they can put everything back where it was, and they all pitch in to do exactly that. When they are finished, everyone is revealed to have gotten a bit dirty from their work.

Jane comes home, and is taking some groceries out of her car. She looks shocked when she sees the garden, and asks Arthur what happened. However, Buster steps in and says that there were some giant earthworms that went a little crazy, but he, Arthur and the others tried to stop them — it was “quite a battle.”

Francine believes it was actually an army of chipmunks, but Brain then interrupts, saying, “Chipmunks don’t burrow. Moles, however, have been known to make really big—”

However, Arthur finally feels his guilty conscience kicking in, and finally interrupts to confess that he got carried away, before apologizing to his mother. Jane, however, expresses disappointment towards Arthur for his actions.

The very next day at school, Arthur is sitting at his desk until his friends come by. Buster and Brain ask him if he wants to come to the pond after school. Arthur declines as he is grounded for two weeks and have to clean up the garage. However, he shows them a harmonica he found in the garage, before realizing that a treasure depends on how one looks at it. Buster and Brain insists to Arthur that he can join them to the pond after he is done from being grounded.







  • At the end of the 2000 rerun intro on PBS Kids before this episode, Arthur’s crashing sound changes to the Season 5 version.
  • Moral: Sometimes, even gold isn't nearly as valuable as the simple joys in life.
  • It is revealed in this episode that Muffy's mother is about 40 years old.
  • This is the only episode written by Stephen Krensky and Rich Vanatte as the storyboard writer.
  • D.W. says that the Tibbles are "only four", implying that chronologically this episode takes place after D.W.'s fifth birthday.

Cultural references[]

  • The introduction features Galileo Galilei, who discovered the four large moons of Jupiter.
  • When Arthur imagines himself digging, he manages to unearth the Colosseum, a large amphitheater dating from Ancient Rome, which still stands today.
  • The introduction also features the apocryphal story of Isaac Newton and the apple.
  • Arthur mentions Reader’s Digest.

Episode connections[]

  • Buster blames the ruined yard on giant earthworms. In “War of the Worms”, Fern fools Brain into believing that such worms exist.
  • This is one of the few episodes where Jane or David say they are disappointed in Arthur. The other episodes are "Arthur the Wrecker," "Nerves Of Steal" and "Flaw and Order."
  • Just as in "Arthur's Knee", Arthur tries to hide the fact that he's been grounded. Again, he fails.
  • D.W. pretends that a stick is a snake and pranks Arthur with it. Arthur would end up bringing a real snake home with him in "Hide and Snake" with the snake scaring D.W. at one point in the episode.

Home video[]




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