These are the original episode synopses which are listed with the Background Bible document. This document has circulated on the internet and been sold on Ebay. We can’t prove that these are authentic, but it seems reasonable that they could have been first drafts for the episodes. One copy of this document seen on Ebay had an issue date of April 1986, which would have been around the time season 2 was in planning.
Name: The Hard Way
STATUS: Never made
MacGyver is entrapped into a daredevil, death-defying, high-speed, high-tension race — from California to the Canadian border. His only minor handicap is that he’s on foot, penniless and totally without support. His opponent has a hot-rally car, a full backup team, and lavish financing. So the odds are only slightly in MacGyver’s favor.
They’re balanced somewhat, as he’s further burdened with the problems of a lady trucker who has serious problems of her own.
Along the way, MacGyver will 1) use a truck’s own exhaust to float it up out of a riverbed, 2) construct an instant semi-ramp. So that an eight-foot-wide massive truck-trailer can squeeze through a five-foot-six-inch alley, 3) borrow a local moonshiner’s cache of white lightning and turn it into instant racing fuel, 4) divert a threat by combining a bikini, a swimming pool and a measure of Epsom Salts and 5) alter a jet pod to turn a lumbering truck into a racing machine.
The story begins:
In a seminar at the Tine Corporation. MacGyver gets into a fierce debate with industrialist BEN TOWLE. The crux: MacGyver’s insistence that the best preparation for the future is an open mind. Not reliance on game plans and battle simulations — but the ability to extemporize. The argument escalates — into a bet.
A race. A contest.
Between Ben Towle, an amateur rally driver of some intensity, with his backup team, rally car, mechanics and support group.
And MacGyver. With nothing. Nothing. No papers, no money, no vehicle, no credit cards. Just a map and a twenty-four-hour head start. In which to cover seventeen hundred miles to the Canadian border any way he can. It is a race that matches preparation against ingenuity.
MacGyver uses his twenty-four-hour head start to hitch a ride, and capitalizes on it, at a truck stop, by helping to repair a broken-down truck belonging to gypsy trucker REBECCA ALLEN. A woman trying to make it in a man’s world. In debt, in trouble — and willing to trade some use of her battered vehicle for the mechanic she can’t afford. Problem is, she’s also running a race. To get a load delivered before her truck’s repossessed. And simultaneously fending off the unwelcome attentions of another trucker, JACK BRADY, who are both rival and suitor — on his own macho terms.
MacGyver signs on, they pull out — and as that twenty-four-hour lead vanishes — we see Ben Towle take off in his sleek rally car, eating up miles.
It’s a spine-tingling race, with MacGyver’s ingenuity keeping him a contender — scrounging parts — earning fuel — working out a relationship with Rebecca — as Towle, competitive to a fault, keeps track, realizes it is a race — and accelerates the competition.
Add in Jack Brady, who sees MacGyver as a rival, and we have a wild card. And at the climax, MacGyver is faced with a dilemma: either to win his race, or to win Rebecca’s battle, gets the cargo in on time. He chooses to honor his implicit debt to her — and loses. And wins.
The Background Bible also includes synopses for 6 stories:
Blood Money (never made)
Fire Mountain (made as Final Approach, but modified)
Labyrinth (made as The Human Factor)
The Cure (never made)
The Eraser (made, but modified)
The Hard Way (never made)