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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

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-at-popapostle-dot-com
Valley of the Dinosaurs: The Great Stone Robbery Valley of the Dinosaurs
"The Great Stone Robbery"

Valley of the Dinosaurs #9 (Charlton)
Art and Story: Fred Himes
August 1976

 

Another tribe in the valley accuses Greg of stealing a sacred stone from their temple.

 

Story Summary

 

Taking a stroll one morning with Digger and Glump, Greg is captured by members of the bird tribe, who accuse him of stealing a sacred stone from their temple. When Digger and Glump leap to his rescue, they are netted as well. Greg is taken to the leader of the tribe, Sha-Mir, who sentences the boy to be held inside a steaming lava cave until the stone is returned. Little does anyone else know that Sha-Mir himself has taken possession of the stone and hopes to start a war with the cave dwellers, believing his people will defeat them with the power of the stone and he will rule the entire valley.

 

A messenger is sent to the cave dwellers to relay the word of Greg's capture and demand the return of the stone. But Gorok and John convince the messenger that Greg is innocent and the messenger confesses that his people fear Sha-Mir and his powers. Gorok tells him that John Butler has even greater magic and they will free Greg and help the bird tribe become free of Sha-Mir.

 

John and Lok attempt to free Greg, but are thwarted by the pterosaurs that dwell within the cave. It comes down to a misdirection by Kim and Katie against Sha-Mir, leading the evil leader to plunge from a cliff into a lake, believing he can fly with the power of his ill-gotten stone. With Sha-Mir gone, the bird tribe is free.

 

THE END

 

Notes from the Valley of the Dinosaurs Chronology

 

This story must take place some time after "Rainfire" since it mentions the hang gliders built by the Butlers in that story.

 

Didja Know?

 

"The Great Stone Robbery" is an 11-page story appearing in Valley of the Dinosaurs #9.

 

The title of this story was probably inspired by the bestselling 1975 novel The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton, though there are a few other real world stories and incidents that have been referred to by that name. The Crichton novel is a fictionalized telling of an actual gold heist aboard a train in England in 1855.

 

Didja Notice?

 

This story introduces the existence of the Bird tribe in the Valley, which seems to worship both birds and a sacred, painted stone. They live in a village of huts against the side of a cliff and have a barrier of wooden posts built around it for protection.

 

The members of the bird tribe wear the tops of what appear to be very large bird skins, complete with beak and feathers. These may the skins of "terror birds", what Gorok refers to as "tandor" in "The Volcano".

 

The bipedal dinosaur seen on page 5, panel 6, may be intended as an Iguanodon, believed to be able to switch between bipedal and quadrupedal locomotion.

 

Sha-Mir tells Kim and Katie that he has heard that the Butler family has mastered the power of flight and Katie remarks to her mom, "He must have heard of our hang gliders." She must be referencing the hang gliders they built in "Rainfire". But they've also built a glider craft in "Test Flight" and hot air balloons in "What Goes Up" and "Secret of Nepa-Talu".

 

On page 8, panel 5, John's word balloon is mistakenly assigned to Lok.

 

Some unidentified species of pterosaur is seen to inhabit the lava cave on pages 8-9.

 

Unanswered Questions

 

Why would Sha-Mir necessarily believe Katie's story that all he needs is the sacred stone to accomplish flight? He must know that the Butlers never had the stone when they achieved it. I suppose there could have been an unseen moment when Katie claimed they had their own sacred stone when they did it.

 

What happened to Sha-Mir? Did he survive the plunge off the cliff into the water? Considering his age, it seems a bit unlikely.

 

How did Digger know to retrieve the sacred stone from the drink? He may be a smart dog, but he wasn't even around when the stone was lost in the water.

 

And speaking of Digger finding the stone, it appears he was still trapped in the bird tribe's net with Glump while he did it! Did the bird tribe toss the two ensnared pets into the lake upon capture? If so, how did they survive in it for so long, still ensnared??

 

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