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Comic Book / Back to the Klondike

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Back to the Klondike is a Disney comic book story created by Carl Barks and published in Dell Comics' Four Color Comics #456.

Scrooge is suffering from memory lapses and Donald convinces him to see a doctor. Scrooge is prescribed some pills supposed to help recover his memory.

Indeed his memory returns, and Scrooge decides to return to the Klondike, the place where he earned his wealth in his youth, and takes Donald and the triplets with him. During their trip, he confesses he left a cargo of gold buried near his old hut, and means to recover it. Scrooge also begins reminiscing of a woman named "Glittering Goldie", a person of his past. Donald and the nephews tease him, convinced she is an Old Flame of his, but Scrooge strongly denies it.

As they arrive in Dawson, they visit the saloon where Scrooge first met. Scrooge tells his nephews how Goldie invited him for an evening, and then drugged his coffee and stole his gold. Scrooge then went in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge kidnapped Goldie and forced her to work for him at his mining claim to learn how hard is to dig gold. He tells also that the second reason he's back to Dawson is that Goldie signed a promissory note to return the stolen money, and with decades of interest she owes him millions of dollars.

They finally reach his old lodge and to their surprise they find it's occupied by someone who shoots on sight any stranger who reaches his property. Scrooge and Donald make several attempts to approach the tenant, but unsuccessfully so. All they manage to find out is that it's a old lady who lives by herself, save from the company of a giant black bear.

Finally the nephews manage to surprise and disarm the old lady behind with a trick. The old lady is none other than Goldie herself. As Scrooge and Goldie meet again, both a rivalry and an attraction to each other seem to resurface. But Scrooge demands that Goldie pays the old debt, which Goldie cannot pay. She gives Scrooge what little jewelry she has left and just leaves, apparently going to an hospice. Scrooge chases after her and challenges her to a contest: the one who can find gold first is going to keep it, and the debt will be cancelled.

Goldie indeed succeeds in finding Scrooge's old cache that is now worth a fortune. Scrooge leaves in furor because he hadn't taken his pills (there's a Running Gag of Scrooge forgetting to take pills to save the money), he had forgotten where the gold was. But Donald is not fooled. He reveals to his nephews that Scrooge had indeed taken the pills, and is keeping a facade because he wanted Goldie to find the gold. In the end, his nephews realize that Scrooge is better than he would like to appear.

Back to the following tropes:

  • Afraid of Needles: Scrooge gets scared when his doctor explains his memory will have to be "boosted" occasionally, and pulls out a VERY large needle. He initially tries to bolt, but is restrained by Donald - just long enough for the doctor to fill several pill capsules from the needle and offer him one.
  • All for Nothing: Scrooge doesn't take a memory pill after he leaves the doctor's office, and his memory recedes enough that he forgets owning an airline that could fly him and his nephews to Dawson for free - until after they've all walked to Dawson from the coast, which took them a week. 
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: Scrooge kidnapped Goldie in the backstory after she robbed him. Somehow, when they meet 50 years later, they act like they've been lovers.
  • Amnesia Danger: Scrooge losing his memory proves to be fairly dangerous - at one point, he pulls on a string hanging from his office's ceiling, forgetting it's the tripwire for a "Burglar Batterer".
  • Bar Brawl: A Flash Back shows Scrooge in his prime taking on the entire Blackjack Saloon at the beginning of his Roaring Rampage of Revenge - and winning. 
  • Bears Are Bad News: There's a huge grizzly bear that is guarding Scrooge's old claim. It turns out to be Goldie's pet animal, Blackjack. Zigzagged when Scrooge gets doused in honey while in a cage with the bear, and it licks the stuff off him instead of eating him on the spot.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Big time. Since their youth days, there's a mix of attraction and rivalry that stuck in their old age.
  • Bowdlerized: The original publication cut the story down to 27 pages, removing the references to the bar brawl and Goldie's kidnapping. Later reprints would add these parts of the story back in. 
  • Breakout Character: This is the first and last time Glittering Goldie appears in a story written by Barks, but she would make such an impression that she would appear in other stories (especially written by Don Rosa) as Scrooge's One True Love.
  • The Chanteuse: Goldie used to be the star of the Blackjack, and charm men (including Scrooge) with her voice.
  • Cool Old Lady: Goldie is definitely one. She has spent decades living in the wilderness and very well defended.
  • Foreshadowing: The pet bear of the old lady is named Blackjack, like the old saloon in Dawson. This should give away her identity.
  • Get Thee to a Nunnery: Scrooge describes Goldie as "the only live one I ever knew." Given his reclusive, asocial attitude towards life, and disdain for everything except money up to that point, it's entirely possible (indeed, in context, there's no other logical interpretation) that he means this in the clinical sense of "know." This, along with a somewhat more overt gag, is an epic case of Demographically Inappropriate Humour; when questioned by observant fans at the exact nature of Scrooge and Goldie's relationship, Barks tactfully insisted it wasn't something his publishers would want to get into.
  • Gold Fever: Scrooge's encounter with Glittering Goldie began when he showed off the goose egg nugget at the Blackjack saloon. Everyone in the building came to gawk, but only Goldie had the temerity to actually dive across the bar to grab it.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: The conflicts in the comic are made of this. Goldie took over the claim after Scrooge left, and has been working it ever since. When Donald suggests they sic the law on her, Scrooge admits that he hasn't kept up the payments on the claim, meaning neither of them has a legal right to the land.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After the month with Scrooge, Goldie seems to have given up her gold digging ways, even taking care of orphans after the Gold Rush went bust.
  • Honey Trap: In the backstory Goldie invited Scrooge to dine with her and drugged his coffee to steal his gold. It's implied she had scammed other people the same way.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Glittering Goldie was once the star of the Blackjack Ballroom, but when the gold rush ended, the Ballroom went broke and now Goldie is just a hermit barely scraping by on Scrooge's old claim. By the end of the story, Scrooge arranges her to find his last stash of nuggets so she can get her life back on track.
  • Meaningful Name: Of course Scrooge's Love Interest name is Goldie.
  • Money Slap: In Scrooge's flashback to when he kidnapped Goldie O'Gilt and made her mine gold for him, it's shown that when he paid her for her work, she just threw the coins back at his face.
  • Mosquito Miscreants: Goldie hung mosquito traps all around White Agony Creek. When the ducks trap Blackjack the bear in a cage, she shoots them down and releases a huge swarm of mosquitos who chase Donald and Scrooge.
  • Mugging the Monster: Glittering Goldie drugged Scrooge's coffee and left him in the snow to steal his gold and money. After regaining consciousness, Scrooge tore up her saloon and forced her to work on his claim as payback.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity : Scrooge pretends to have forgotten where he hid his gold (and let her keep it) to save face in front of his nephew. Donald is not fooled for a second.
  • Old Flame: Despite Scrooge's Suspiciously Specific Denial, once they meet face-to-face it's clear that there was something going on between Scrooge and Goldie back to their days.
  • One-Man Army: Scrooge once beat the crap out of everyone in the Blackjack saloon.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Scrooge gets a good one in when he returns to the Blackjack Saloon, hell-bent on getting his gold back.
    Scrooge: Weaklings and cowards have ten seconds to clear out!
  • The Scrooge: As usual, Scrooge isn't keen on paying for something, his medication in this case. This causes him to forget that he actually owns the local airline in the Yukon and their entire (and very tiring) road trip to Dawson was pointless.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Scrooge and Goldie have a relationship that wobbles between icy mutual respect and Belligerent Sexual Tension. It helps that Scrooge has a purely monetary incentive to find her as well, and Goldie herself actually believes that Scrooge only wants the money she owes him. By the end, Everyone Can See It except for Scrooge and (maybe) Goldie themselves.
  • Slipping a Mickey: During the gold rush, Goldie put something in Scrooge's coffee that knocked him out, letting her steal all his money and the goose egg nugget.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: While trying to figure out how to get the gold without attracting the attention of the claim jumper who's moved in (and who they currently don't know the identity of) Donald suggests they just bring in the law. Scrooge somewhat sheepishly admits he hasn't exactly been paying taxes on the claim, so technically, they don't have anymore right to be there than the claim jumper.
  • Tree Buchet: Blackjack the grizzly chases Donald up a tall, skinny tree, until it bends double almost to the ground. When Blackjack loses his grip, Donald goes flying.
  • When I Was Your Age...: Scrooge berates Donald, who's carrying him up the Chilkoot Pass to get to Dawson, with one of these. 
    Scrooge: Stop whining! When I was your age, I crossed this path with a hundred pounds on my back!
    Donald: If you were as full of hot air then as you are now, you probably floated over like a balloon!