Jim drives along a highway on a sunny California day, following a man in a cowboy hat driving an old, robin's egg blue pickup truck. The man pulls to the side of the road and gets out. He walks through a gap in a weathered wire fence, across a field of tall grass towards the water. Jim turns his car around, looking for a place to park. He stops, then opens his trunk, there trading his dust colored sport coat for a fishing rod. At the fence gap he sees Cowboy Hat has crossed most of the field. Cowboy Hat reaches the rocky edge of the beach and drops from view. Jim hurries then, arriving at the top of the slope moments later. The man has vanished! There are only rocks, sand, beach scrub, and the cries of seagulls. And, concealed beneath the lip of rock, a narrow sea cave...Read the full recap
(The answering machine joke.)
Rockford: This is Jim Rockford. At the tone leave your name and message, I'll get back to you.
Norma: Jim? It's Norma at the market. It bounced. You want us to tear it up, send it back, or put it with the others?
Tonya: Well, what else could I think? I mean, I'm sitting at the beach and I look up, and there you are with a trout fishing pole, asking about a cowboy! I mean, I hate to tell you, but the trout fishing in the ocean is lousy.
Jim: Well, it was a disguise, sort of.
Tonya: Oh, that's clever... wingtip shoes and a spinning rod...
Tonya: Oh, you'd be surprised how hard it is to be spontaneous and blunt at the same time. Rich people find that an attractive quality.
Jim: My bank statement is a nightmare in red.
Travis: (waving a revolver in Jim's face) You're gonna start telling me what I wanna know or you're gonna wind up on the critical list in one big hurry, savvy?
Travis: (about Jim) This guy could start trouble for us. I'm going to make sure he stays out of our way.
Jim: If you want my opinion, he didn't kill your parents.
Larry Kirkoff: I'm not paying you for your opinions, Mr. Rockford. Only for your observations.
Jim: Well, I'm having a special this week. So my opinions come with no extra charge.
Jim: I'm going to sit on you until you hatch into something.
Muzzy Vinette: I'm gonna give you a little advice, and I got a feeling you're gonna take it. 'Cause if you don't - I ain't gonna talk nice with you again. I'm just gonna sharpen your heels and pound you down into the hard ground.
Jim: I get kidnapped by two guys and they beat the poo out of me. I'm making a legitimate complaint. What do you mean, don't count on too much? I'm counting on you and this girl scout troupe in here to solve it!
Dennis: Shut up, will ya? What do I have to do, spell it out for ya? You know, you're not exactly Princess Margaret in this department. Every time you come in here with a bloody nose, morale goes up ten points!
Al Dancer: This is the age of public relations. Mr. Vinette is not called a goon.
Rockford took a picture of a woman in an apartment. When he developed the picture later, only the woman was present – none of the apartment background details were visible.
In one scene, Larry Kirkoff tells Jim he saw Tonya leaving his father's hunting lodge a few days before the murder. In a later scene, the pair was at a beach house. While it's possible that a hunting lodge could be on a beach, it's not very likely.