"Grand Canyon or Bust" represented a first for The Brady Bunch — the multi-part story arc. Although seen in a number of sitcoms beforehand, notably Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, the multi-part episode was rarely if ever used in the Dom Com; even episodes depicting vacations were self-contained in a single 30-minute episode. And rarely, if ever, did they go "on location" as the Bradys did; prior to the late 1960s — in part due to production costs but also because they thought the audience wouldn't notice — most "on location" episodes were "on location" ... inside a redressed set on a soundstage.
The Bradys, thus, broke the mold by not only filming an extended story, but going on location ... here, to Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Filmed during the early summer of 1971, "Grand Canyon or Bust," the previous "Ghost Town USA" and the subsequent "The Brady Braves" rank among the top of most Brady Bunch fan's list of episodes. That's even though it doesn't have that much of a plot, except for family togetherness and genuinely having a good time bonding.
The family escapes the jail just as Part 1 ended, but now find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere, with no way of calling for help, no water, no food ... nothing. Eventually, the demented prospector is seen coming back (along with Mike and Peter, who had gone off on foot to reach the highway and summon help) and the family is soon on their way for their intended destination ... Grand Canyon National Park.
The only real point of interest in between this and the setup for the cliffhanger is the Bradys riding a mule train to the floor of Grand Canyon, where they set up camp. Near the end of the episode, Bobby and Cindy spot a little Native American boy, about their age, near the camp and chase after him (so they can become friends, natch). However, the little boy is a bit faster than Bobby and Cindy; they lose track of him ... and then lose track of where they are. They soon realize they are lost ... and so does the rest of the family, who are out on a desperate search to find them.
Tropes present in this episode:
- Cliffhanger: Will Bobby and Cindy be found alive ... or dead? Tune in next week.
- Hilarity Ensues: The prospector locking the family in the ghost town jail, and stealing the family's car to drive into town. The prospector could consider himself fortunate that Mike decided not to press charges — in the real world, the prospector would be facing 20 years in prison for grand theft auto and unlawful imprisonment — and that the family told him goodbye with good cheer.
- Previously On : Florence Henderson in person as Carol recounts the highlights of Part 1, focusing on their encounter with the prospector and how they became locked in the jail.