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Treasure Hunt Episode

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This is an episode in a show structured around looking for hidden treasure, when the show isn't normally about that. Usually this involves one of the main characters learning about a famous old treasure that may be buried in their town, and setting out to look for it with the rest of the cast. There is often a search for clues hidden in a Treasure Map, old relic, or ancient text. Watch out: if you bought the old map from a Con Man, it may be a fake Fool's Map.

Usually, the villains or at least a group of antagonists also set out to look for it. The two teams may try to interfere with each other and mislead each other. The searchers may have to elude Booby Traps. Either the good guys find the treasure chest, and then the antagonists steal it (in which case what's inside the chest will turn out to be worthless), or the antagonists will fail to get it before the heroes find it. Finding the chest may only be the first step, if the chest is huge and heavy. As well, even if the heroes recover the treasure, they may have a dispute about how to split the proceeds.

Often will involve the cast parodying pirates or invoking pirate clichés. In children's shows, the treasure is almost never gold coins and jewelry, usually being chocolate coins, toys or candy.

Sub-trope of Treasure Map.

Compare Never Win the Lottery and Pirate Episode.

Not to be confused with an episode of Treasure Hunt UK or Treasure Hunt US.


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    Comic Books 
  • Jommeke:
    • In De Schildpaddenschat (The Tortoise Treasure) and Wie Zoekt Die Vindt! (Who Searches Finds) this is a plot point. There are more stories in that vein too.
    • In De Schat van de Zeerover ("The Pirate's Treasure") Jommeke and his friends discover a treasure map and go search for a pirate's treasure. This story was also adapted to film by the author himself.
    • In the two-parter Het Geheim van Macu Ancapa (The secret of Macu Ancapa) and De Strijd Om De Incaschat (The Battle for the Inca Treasure) Jommeke and his friends go search for treasure in Peru.
    • In De Schat van Angkor (The Treasure Of Angkor) Jommeke and his friends discover a porcelain statue, which breaks and reveals a piece of paper with a treasure leading to the treasure of Angkor, Cambodja.
    • Schattenjagers in Bokrijk (Treasure Hunters in Bokrijk'): Jommeke fools the crooks Kwak and Boemel into thinking that they were sent back in time to early 1900s Bokrijk and lets them search for a non-existing treasure there as a matter of a joke.
  • De Kiekeboes: In De Schat van Mata Hari Kiekeboe and his family search for the treasure of Mata Hari.
  • Nero: In the albums De Kakelende Kaketoe (The Cackling Cuckatoo) Nero and Adhemar search for treasure on an island.
  • Suske en Wiske
    • A story often seen as Vandersteen's best De Schat van Beersel (The Beersel Treasure) takes place in Beersel, Belgium and is about a hidden treasure underneath the castle. A hypnotist helps Suske, Wiske and Lambik to go back in time and find out where it could be, making this story a partial Time Travel episode too.
    • Another classic treasure hunt story is De Ringelingschat (The Ringeling Treasure), which is a Whole-Plot Reference to the Nibelungenlied.
  • Tintin: Tintin, Haddock, the Thompsons and Professor Calculus went to search for the pirate treasure of one of Haddock's forefathers in Tintin: Red Rackham's Treasure.
  • The second story arc in The Muppet Show Comic Book involves the rats searching for the treasure of Peg-Leg Wilson, which was hidden somewhere in the Muppet Theatre. The treasure turns out to be love letters from Wilson's wife. But the stamps are rare and valuable. But they come to exactly enough to rebuild the theatre after the rats and their associates tore it to pieces.

    Comic Strip 
  • Crabgrass: A story arc starting with this comic resolves around Kevin setting up one of these so he and Miles can finally have an adventure. Miles reluctantly goes along with Kevins fantasy.

  • One Encyclopedia Brown mystery surrounded a search for treasure on a small island. A boy found a treasure map which he and a friend used to look for a buried treasure, but the "friend" ruined the map when he used it to cover the porthole on their boat to keep the rising tide from spilling in. But as Encyclopedia points out, the tide wouldn't have spilled in through the porthole because the boat and the porthole would have risen with it. Early on, it's revealed the map is a souvenir from the World's Fair, but they decide not to tell the friend until he's worn himself out.
  • In The Three Investigators The Secret of Phantom Lake the titular secret is a treasure chest which a man had buried 100 years ago. The three investigators find it for his descendants.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 9-1-1 episode "Treasure Hunt" is kickstarted when a best-selling author dies and leaves behind a treasure and a poem directing to where its hidden. The 118 crew deals with a number of would-be treasure hunters getting into accidents as a result while they end up secretly dividing into teams to hunt for the money themselves including Bobby.. Then it turns out the author is alive, starting the treasure hunt and using the incidents to help inspire himself when suffering writers block all while treating his victims as greedy, self-center jerks. Then he ends up dead from a heart attack after being exposed and his long-suffering assistant who was forced to bury the treasure, digs it up and flees the country.
  • The Avengers (1960s) episode "Dead Man's Treasure" has Steed and Emma participating in a combination car rally/treasure hunt. The treasure also contains a briefcase hidden by one of Steed's now-dead friends.
  • Barney & Friends: In "The Treasure of Rainbowbeard", the kids and Barney search for the titular treasure which turns out to be a rainbow.
  • Batman (1966) episodes "The Purr-fect Crime" and "Better Luck Next Time". Catwoman is after the lost treasure of Captain Manx and Batman must thwart her.
    • Another two-parter had Catwoman (Eartha Kitt's sole appearance as the villainess) teaming with the Joker on a treasure hunt to find a cache of gunpowder, as their plan is to then use it to rob Fort Knox.
  • On Benson, he and Kraus find the diary of a former governor which reveals he hid a sizable cache of gold somewhere in the mansion. While the others are searching for it randomly, Governor Gatling finds a riddle telling of the gold's resting place. Benson figures it out and finds the gold's hiding place, only to discover the former governor's wife saw him hiding the gold and took it with her lover.
  • Castle. The Cowboy Episode "Once Upon a Time in the West" ultimately ends up sending Castle and Beckett on a search for stolen gold hidden by Wild West bandits.
  • The last-season Cheers episode, "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Bar". In his final appearance, Robin Colcord heavily implied he hid a cache of money somewhere in the bar, and the gang tears it apart trying to find it. There was no money. Robin did it to show them the evils of what greed can do to people.
  • The Community episode "Basic Sandwich" had the study group going on a quest to find the lost fortune of Greendale Community College's founder to prevent the college from being bought out by Subway. They not only find the lost fortune, they find the founder living there.
  • One episode of The Goldbergs had Barry and Erica trick Adam into going on a treasure hunt due to his obsession with The Goonies. After the mean-spirited prank, they end up going on one for real when Grandpa needs help finding a lost memento.
  • In the "Mama Gets the Bird" episode of Mama's Family, Thelma inherits Captain Petey, a parrot, from her Uncle Oscar who dressed and talked like a pirate as part of his boat rental gimmick. Thelma takes interest when Capt. Petey says "To Thelma Harper, the niece I've always loved best, I leave all the gold in my treasure chest." The family searches the house from top to bottom, with Vinton finding nothing in the yard, and after Petey flies out of his cage, Thelma receives a letter from Uncle Oscar's lawyer one week later, telling them that the bars of Petey's cage were solid gold covered with black paint worth more than $50,000... which Vinton threw in the garbage. Unfortunately, when Thelma tries to call Frank the garbage collector, he has found out what the bird cage is actually worth and moved to Tahiti at least $50,000 richer.
  • The New WKRP in Cincinnati: One episode has the employees hunting for a treasure in the multistory office building where the station is located. They find it, but do so much physical damage in the process, the repair costs negate all the profits.
  • Psych had an episode where Sean's uncle had them searching for a lost Spanish treasure while trying to stay one step ahead of his uncle's old partners.
  • One episode of Salute Your Shorts involved the gang learning of a supposed treasure left behind by a long-dead dance instructor, and splitting up into teams in order to try and find it.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation. The episodes "Captain's Holiday" and "Gambit" are both about searching the galaxy for treasures. Also "The Chase" involved a similar story, but the treasure was unconventional.
  • Season 4 episode of theThe Rookie "Poetic Justice" has a criminal who stole $2 million in gold coins diagnosed with a terminal illness. When he doesn't get a sympathetic release, he decides to release a poem directing where the gold is hidden, as it was never recovered, with the deliberate purpose of unleashing the chaos such a treasure hunt would incite. While Harper, Chen, and Nolan are hunting for the treasure via the poem, Bradford works with a veteran cop whose partner worked the case to find it through evidence of the heist with both ending up there more-or-less the same time.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the Bear in the Big Blue House episode, "Raiders of the Lost Cheese", when Ojo and Tutter pretend to be explorers, the latter opens a chest and finds a map inside from his great-grandfather, Tutterly T. Tutter, who collected cheese from all over the world. Specifically, he found a pile of cheese too big for him to eat, so he put in a chest and put the chest in a hollow tree not that far from the Big Blue House. Because the cheese had been stored in there for decades, it became too moldy for anyone to eat. However, Tutter also finds a compass with his great-grandfather's initials engraved in it.

    Video Games 
  • Kirby Super Star. The Great Cave Offensive sub-game is about collecting treasures while traversing a giant underground cave.
  • Love & Pies: Day 9 focuses on Amelia and her friends finding the treasure to pay off her debts after she found the map while cleaning the kitchen. Yuka and Eve leave halfway through to document Clean Bean Café's Zero Muffin, while Joe nearly does the same since he scheduled a second date with another woman, but he cancels it at the last moment to support Amelia in finding the treasure. Amelia then opens the trapdoor under the old oven and finds an old painting of what seems to be herself and Joe, and while they're embarrassed about themselves being naked in it, they call Yuka and Eve back to have it donated to the local museum for its appraisal.
  • An obscure Sega Genesis / Mega Drive game called McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure involves Ronald McDonald finding a piece of a treasure map. Three villains have the other pieces of the map, but will give Ronald their piece after he defeats them in a boss battle. When Ronald collects all the pieces of the map, the treasure is revealed to be in outer space. However, his rocket is heavily damaged during its travel, and at the end of the game, has decided to abandon the hunt for a way back home. Fortunately, that is what the treasure provides after the final battle with the Alien King guarding it.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure involves Buster Bunny searching for a pirate treasure after finding a map he found while cleaning the Acme Looniversity attic. Monty steals the map from him, intending to find the treasure for himself. To ensure he will get the treasure first, he hires Dr. Gene Splicer to capture and hypnotize several of Buster's friends to throw Buster off his tail.

    Web Animation 
  • In the sixth episode of Brawl of the Objects, it is called "A Treasured Welcome", and the challenge was to find a treasure chest with golden chicken nuggets inside, in order for the winning team to get a new contestant onto their team.
  • The Happy Tree Friends episode "Sea What I Found" has Lumpy and Russell find a treasure map in a bottle and set out to find the buried treasure, with Lifty and Shifty plotting to steal it from them.

    Web Original 
  • In the Dream SMP spin-off series Tales From the SMP, the episode "The Beach Episode" is this, where several members of the server participate in "Captain Blockbeard's Treasure Hunt".

    Western Animation 
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series: In the episode "Treasure Of Swamp Island", the pups find a treasure map and compete against one another to find it first. The treasure turns out to be real, but actually belongs to Cruella who has been trying to hide it in order to avoid paying it off to a tax collector. The pups end up returning the treasure to her.
  • Adventures of the Gummi Bears's episode "Beg, Burrow, and Steal" has Cubbi and Tummi searchig for an ancient gummi treasure after finding a map and competing with the Trolls.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius episode "Raise the Oozy Scab". The treasure ends up turning out to be saltwater taffy. The hunt was supposed to be a school project, which they got a good grade for, but it wasn't worth anything.
  • Angry Birds Toons: "Treasure Hunt".
  • Arthur
    • In the episode, "Arthur's Treasure Hunt", Arthur and his friends decide to dig in their yards for treasure after Buster finds an arrowhead digging up the ground for his Mother's garden. Arthur's Mother allows him only to dig behind the garage. However, Arthur gets carried away and digs up the entire yard. While he does get grounded for two weeks as a result, his dig wasn't a total loss; he found a 40-something-year-old tin of digestive biscuits. Meanwhile, Brain finds some 30-something-year-old pennies, Binky finds a root shaped like an iguana (which he names Anguan), and Francine finds an old sippy cup.
    • In the episode "The Big Dig", when Grandpa Dave overhears Arthur and D.W. talking to their mother about how he isn't as active and fun as he used to be, he tries to win back their respect by telling them a story about buried pirate treasure. It is later revealed that he made the story up, and he was going to bury some candy for them to dig up, but they took the story so seriously, they beat him to the spot. He makes it up to them by giving them a real treasure; a gold compass that belonged to their Great-great-great Uncle Matthew, who sailed all around the world.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Gaang went on a search for Wan Shi Tong's library, which they hoped would contain information that will help them against the Fire Nation. They succeeded, and found a vital piece of intel (the Day of Black Sun), but using the library just to find weapons yet again enraged Wan Shi Tong, and he permanently buried the library.
  • Several episodes of Babar including: "Boys Will Be Boys", "Arthur's Object" and "Land of the Treasure Hunt".
  • The Batman has the episode "The Icy Depths", which has Penguin, Mr Freeze, and Alfred's old schoolmate racing to track down a long-lost treasure stolen by Penguin's great-grandfather, with Batman and Alfred caught in the middle.
  • Disney Television's Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers has the episode "Piratsy Under The Seas" wherein a colony of rats live in a sunken galleon. They regularly conduct a "treasure hunt" by map to the cargo hold, which indeed holds a large trove of gold and jewels. Of course, this treasure is always in the same place every time; the rats conduct their treasure hunt simply to have something to do in their City in a Bottle.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: "O-Ed Eleven".
  • Family Guy: "Finders Keepers".
  • In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode, "Squeeze the Day", Bloo and Mac are the only ones at Foster's for the day (because everyone else went to the beach and didn't invite Bloo). Since he may never get another opportunity like this, Bloo decides to look for the treasure left over from when Madame Foster was a pirate, which he believes is the reason she is able to afford Foster's. Mac, however, doesn't believe such a treasure exists, until he finds the map leading to its location in a picture frame they used to slide down the stairs. While they don't find the treasure, they do find Uncle Pockets' collection of keepsakes from his past owners, which was previously seen in the episode that introduces Uncle Pockets' character. In The Stinger, it is revealed that Madame Foster did have treasure buried in the yard, and is relieved that no one else found it.
  • The Hair Bear Bunch go on a treasure hunt in "Gobs of Gobaloons" after they find a treasure map. The problem at hand is that the treasure is buried under the office of zookeeper Mr. Peevly.
  • In Jingaroo, "Treasures Everywhere" is about the gang searching for treasure in a sunken ship that's been buried in sand.
  • Johnny Test: "Johnny's Treasure".
  • Mixels: "A Quest for the Lost Mixamajig", where the treasure ends up being a scam made by the Nixels to trap them.
  • Phineas and Ferb: "The Ballad of Badbeard". The treasure is actually fake beards.
  • Popeye's Treasure Hunt and its Hanna-Barbera all-star redeux Yogi's Treasure Hunt was all about this on a weekly basis. Clues were furnished to the protagonists in their search for the treasure.
    • A Fleischer-era Popeye cartoon had him and Bluto ostensibly teaming up finding a missing underwater treasure and splitting it 50-50. Avarice overcomes Bluto and he tries to keep it for himself.
  • The Raccoons has episode "Buried Treasure!" with Bert and Cedric in a treasure hunt after finding a map, and of course the greedy Cyril Sneer behind them to steal it.
  • The Ready Jet Go! episode "Treasure Map". In the episode, Mitchell is convinced that there's buried treasure in his yard after reading Treasure Island. Wanting to do something nice for Mitchell, Jet decides to make a treasure chest for Mitchell to find, with a map.
  • Episode "The Treasure of Sierra Tamale" of The Real Ghostbusters has Peter's dad and Ray going into a treasure hunt in some Mesoamerican ruins in Mexico, only to find a Quetzalcoatle expy.
  • Recess had an episode where the main characters hunt for a treasure via a map found in an old history textbook. Soon other kids are forced into the deal and thinking it is something like gold; it gets hairy. Turns out, it is a bunch of old toys buried by previous students, Principal Prickly among them. There is also a note telling the kids to leave some of their toys before burying it again, and after finding out it was dug up, Prickly calls his old classmate so they can brag about how well they hid it.
  • Ruff and Reddy, having gotten lost in a hot air balloon, land on an island where Captain Greedy and his stooge Salt Water Daffy are holding a Swedish sailor hostage trying to find the whereabouts of a treasure map. The heroes rescue him, and the sailor, Skipper Kipper, shows the map is tattooed on his head.
  • In the Rugrats episode, "Sand Ho", Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil pretend to be pirates after hearing a pirate story from Grandpa Lou. After they find the treasure, Angelica duels Tommy for it.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Raging Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in 'The Curse of the Flying Hellfish'".
    • In the flash-forward episode where Lisa becomes President, the B-story involves Homer searching for Abraham Lincoln's buried treasure on the White House grounds.
    • Another episode focused on finding an infamous cat burglar. In the last act, the now-captured burglar leaves a clue of a big buried treasure, which sends all of Springfield on a frenzy to find it. The treasure ends up being a decoy for the burglar to escape while the town is preoccupied. This being Springfield, everyone assumes a real treasure is still nearby and continues digging anyway.
  • Spongebob Squarepants: "Arrgh!".
  • Elinor Wonders Why: "Pirate Treasure".
  • Thomas & Friends:
    • In the episode, "Thomas and the Treasure", The Admiral visits Sodor, and Thomas is to take him to the grand opening of the new Maritime Museum. After Salty tells the engines about how the Admiral is looking for the lost Treasure of Sodor, as well as the various clues leading to the treasure, Thomas decides to look for the treasure himself. Because Thomas focuses more on following the clues to the treasure than taking the Admiral to the Museum, Sir Topham Hatt takes the Admiral to the Museum on Harold himself. Sure enough, the location of the treasure is under a skull-shaped rock not that far from the Museum itself. After the treasure is found, the Admiral decides to put it in the Museum as its most important item.
    • In the special, "Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure", when Thomas is sent away from his branch line in disgrace following an accident he caused, he uncovers a pirate ship from another accident he caused. This gets the attention of a former navy sailor, Sailor John, and Thomas helps him and his railboat, Skiff, search for the pirates' treasure. Eventually, Marion the Steam Shovel digs up the treasure, making her wish to do just that come true. When Sailor John finds out about this, he then reveals that he wanted to keep the treasure for himself, and had lied to Skiff about donating it to a museum. When he steals the treasure the following night, it's up to Thomas to save it and prove he can be Sir Topham Hatt's number one engine once again.
  • In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "No Toon Is An Island", Buster, Babs, Plucky, and Hamton find a treasure map leading to Booty Island. During their travel, they are warned by the ghost of the pirate captain about the legendary Green-Eyed Monster. They split the treasure evenly, but when Babs', Plucky, and Hamton's shares get stolen by the island's only inhabitant, the X-Bird, they all accuse Buster of stealing it and battle each other for the remaining share.


Video Example(s):


"Buried Treasure"

When Donkey Kong finds a treasure map, all of Kongo Bongo gets swept up in the hunt. DK wants a present for Candy, Candy wants to buy the Barrel Factory, and K.Rool thinks the treasure is doomsday device that will help him conquer the island!

How well does it match the trope?

3.5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / TreasureHuntEpisode

Media sources: