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This article focuses on the Season One episode.
For the special, see "The Price of Magic".
For the Season Five episode, see "The Price".
All magic comes with a price.
Rumplestiltskin to Cinderella

"The Price of Gold" is the fourth episode of Season One of ABC's Once Upon a Time. It was written by David H. Goodman and directed by David Solomon. It is the fourth episode of the series overall, and premiered on November 13, 2011.


Emma Swan tries to help a young pregnant woman escape from the clutches of Mr. Gold. Meanwhile, back in the fairytale world that was, Cinderella makes a regrettable deal with Rumplestiltskin.[1]


This section is a detailed recap of this episode. There are major spoilers. Click to expand.

Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters are going to a ball. The Fairy Godmother appears to Cinderella and tells her that although her stepmother has said she cannot go, she is going to go anyway. However, immediately after this, the Fairy Godmother explodes in an horrendous, yet amazing display of fire.

She is swiftly incinerated, and Rumplestiltskin appears and grabs her magic wand. Cinderella shouts in despair, saying he has just killed her Fairy Godmother, and that the wand is pure magic. He replies that the wand is pure evil and that he has just saved her. Cinderella asks if he knows how to use the wand.

He tells her all magic comes with a price. She tells Rumplestiltskin that she will do anything to have her life change for the better. He tells her that if she can shoulder the consequences he will give her what she wants, in exchange for a favor. Cinderella tells him that she will give him anything if he can get her out of her present life of misery. He agrees to do this, for a price: she must give him something of hers, something to be decided upon by him at a later date, and taken by him sometime in the future. He makes her sign a contact agreeing to his terms. After this, he waves the wand, and she has a beautiful ball gown and glass slippers. He wishes that she has a good time, but tells her to watch the clock.

Back in Storybrooke, Henry and Emma are walking down the streets of Storybrooke. Emma drops Henry off at his school bus, and Sheriff Graham shows up, siren blaring. He thanks Emma for helping to find David Nolan and offers her a job as a deputy. He asks her to think about it.

Emma heads to the diner for hot chocolate and meets with Regina who wants to know how her walk with Henry went. Regina tells Emma that her presence in town no longer worries her, because Emma has a history of not staying anywhere for very long. Regina knows that Emma is living with Mary Margaret, but believes that Emma will not change her transient life.

After Regina leaves, Emma drops the hot chocolate all over herself. She heads to the laundry room in the restaurant to wash her clothes. She meets a pregnant girl named Ashley Boyd who tells her that her baby could come any day. She tells Emma that no one thinks she can take care of the baby, because she is only 19. Emma tells her the choice is hers, because only can she decide what she wants.

Mr. Gold is leaving his pawnbroker shop. Once the coast is clear, Ashley puts a brick through the window of his shop. She finds a wall safe, but Mr. Gold walks in, discovers her, and asks her what she is doing. She tells him that she is changing her life, and she then sprays pepper spray into his eyes and takes the key for the safe from his belt.

Regina is telling Henry that she does not enjoy council meetings. Regina tells Henry that under no circumstances can he leave the house. Henry watches her leave and then gets his bag. He is clearly leaving the house.

Mary Margaret and Emma are eating, and Mr. Gold comes to see Emma. He tells Emma that he has a proposition for her, as he is looking for someone. Mary Margaret leaves them alone, and Mr. Gold gives Emma a picture of Ashley. Emma asks why he does not go to the police, and he says he does not want to ruin her life. He just wants something back she has of his. Mr. Gold begs her to help him, because he does not want to see Ashley's baby born in jail.

Henry bursts in the door and sees Mr. Gold. Mr. Gold wishes Emma good luck as he leaves. Henry asks Emma if she knows who that was, since he has had a hard time trying to figure out who Mr. Gold's fairytale counterpart is.

Emma tells Henry that Ashley is pregnant and desperate, and she has to find her. Henry wants to help her look, because he wants to spend time with Emma.

Cinderella and Prince Thomas are watching the fireworks held to celebrate their wedding. Snow White and Prince Charming are at the wedding, and Snow White compliments Cinderella, because she is an inspiration that anyone can change their life.

Rumplestiltskin shows up and tells Cinderella that he is proud of her as well. He asks if she has gotten everything that she desired, and Cinderella immediately asks what his price is. He tells her it is something she does not possess yet, but it is something that is coming, her first born.

Cinderella is in her room packing a bag, when Thomas, comes in and asks her where she is going. Cinderella tells him she is pregnant, and he wonders why this has upset her. Cinderella tells him of the deal she made with Rumplestiltskin, that she would give him her first born child. She tells her husband that she is going to lose everything, as Rumplestiltskin is too powerful. Thomas tells her that they will make another deal.

Emma is questioning Ruby about Ashley. Ruby tells Emma that she has a step-mother and two step-sisters; all of which she does not talk to. She tells Emma that Ashley is really trying to put her life back together. Emma heads over to Sean Herman, Ashley's ex, who is Thomas's real world counterpart. Sean's father comes out and tells Emma that he is not going to let his son ruin his life, and that he made a deal with Ashley that she would give up her child. He tells Emma that he found someone who will pay her very well for the baby. Emma realizes it is Mr. Gold who has bought the baby.

Henry is telling Emma that she cannot make Ashley break a deal with Mr. Gold. Emma and Henry head to the restaurant to see Ruby, and Emma is upset, because Ruby did not tell her that Ashley sold the baby. Emma realizes that Ruby gave Ashley her car. Emma asks Ruby to tell her where Ashley is so that she does not have to deal with Mr. Gold alone. Ruby tells her that Ashley left half an hour ago for Boston, because she believe that she can disappear there.

In the Enchanted Forest, Cinderella, Thomas, Charming, and the dwarves are in a cave where they have set up a prison in which they are planning to trap Rumplestiltskin. They have sent a message to Rumplestiltskin telling him that the doctor has heard two heartbeats, thus they have to make a new deal. They show her a red feather quill which has a spell put on it so that anyone who signs with it will be immobilized and temporarily powerless.

Emma and Henry are driving, when they see Ruby's car crashed and deserted at the town line. They hear screaming and find Ashley on the grassy side of the road having contractions.

Emma and Henry help Ashley into the car and drive back to the hospital. Ashley is distressed and frightened that Mr. Gold is going to take her child. Emma tells her that if she wants her baby she must grow up.

Back to the Enchanted Forest, Cinderella is meeting Rumplestiltskin and tells him she wants to alter the bargain. He tells her that is not what he does, she lies and tells him she's having twins. He asks her if she wants to give up both. She tells him that her husband is having problems, as the lands are poor and they cannot feed their people. She tells him that she can have more children, but she cannot make their lands fertile. She tells Rumplestiltskin that, if he signs on the dotted line and makes their lands fertile, he can have both children.

Rumplestiltskin reminds her that: the only way to stop him is with magic, all magic comes with a price, and if she imprisons him she will be even more in dept to him. He takes the quill and signs the contract, and he is frozen. He tells her that no one breaks deals with him and assures her that, no matter where she goes, he will have her baby one day.

In the current time, Henry tells Emma that she is different, because she is the only one that can leave Storybrooke. Henry tells her that she is the savior, and she can do anything she wants. The nurse comes to tell Emma that the baby is born, and the new baby girl and mother are doing fine. Mr. Gold shows up and thanks Emma for finding his baby.

Cinderella tells Thomas she is so happy, because she thought she would have to go back to her old life. Thomas tells Cinderella that as long as he is alive nothing will happen to her. Cinderella starts to feel sick and Thomas runs to get water for her from the well. She calls Thomas to come back since she feels fine now, but when he does not respond she goes to the well and finds nothing but his cape. Cinderella confronts Rumplestiltskin, and demands to know where her husband has disappeared to. Rumplestiltskin reminds her that all magic comes with a price. He tells her she will not find her husband, until the price is paid from the original deal they made.

Mr. Gold is speaking to Emma, and she wants to know why he called a baby his merchandise. He tells her that if anyone could understand why someone would give up a baby she should. Emma tells him that he is not getting the baby, and he tells her that if the deal is not met, he will simply call the police, and the baby will end up in the system.

Emma tells Mr. Gold that she is willing to go to court and testify against him, and that she doubts that the contract will hold up in court. Mr. Gold realizes that he cannot bluff Emma. Emma asks him to tear the contract up. He tells her it is not what he does. Mr. Gold then offers a proposition; if he lets Ashley have the baby, would Emma be willing to give him a favor, in the future. Emma agrees. Mr. Gold is the only one beside Henry who seems to understand that Emma is very special, because she is the daughter of Snow White.

Emma goes to visit Ashley who tells her that the baby's name is Alexandra. Emma tells her that she has taken care of Mr. Gold, as she has made a deal with him.

Emma realizes that it is almost 5 PM, and she has to take Henry home, because his mother will be expecting him. Emma tells Henry that she has decided that her code name is Pumpkin in honor of Cinderella. Henry tells her that he has a better one, but is not sure she is ready to hear it yet.

She lets Henry off and he runs up the stairs, just as his mom gets home. Regina storms up the stairs and tells him not to leave his shoes lying on the stairs, as someone could get hurt.

Sean shows up at the hospital to see Ashley and the baby and tells her he is back. He brought a present for the baby, a pair of slippers and Ashley tells him "they're perfect".

Emma calls Graham and asks whether the deputy job is still open. She wonders if Regina is going to be happy about this, but Graham is not concerned. Meanwhile, Regina is seen dressing and leaving someone's house, which is alluded to be Graham's house. She speaks to him as he is in the shower, revealing he and Regina are having an affair.



Guest Starring





Production Notes

Event Chronology

Episode Connections


Fairytales and Folklore


Popular Culture

Props Notes

Set Dressing

Costume Notes


  • When Henry's school bus leaves, a real-life Steveston business known as the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, which doubles as the Storybrooke Cannery in later episodes, can clearly be seen in the background.[68]
  • When Graham offers Emma a new job, the sign on the building behind Emma says Storybrooke Coffee Co.[69] However, when Graham gets out on the police car, you can clearly see a circular sign on the side of the building, which says "Steveston Coffee Co".[70]
  • When Graham offers Emma the job as deputy sheriff, as he says, "Why don't you think about it", in the background, you can see the name "Steveston" on the sign of a business next to Kisamos Greek Taverna.[71]
  • In Mary Margaret's loft, the wall clock reads as 5:50 A.M.,[72] which is impossible considering the bright daylight in the previous scene as well as Regina's mention to Henry that she will be back before noon, which indicates the clock is set at the wrong time.
  • As Emma and Henry cross the street after leaving the apartment, in the background, you can see a real-life Steveston business called Steveston WineMakers.[73]
    • Curiously, the business next to it, which is known as Budget Appliances in real-life,[74] has, unlike its neighbor, been properly renamed for the filming of the show (it is now called Bravura Appliances).[73]
    • However, Bravura Appliances becomes the real Budget Appliances in the Season Four episode "Best Laid Plans"[75] and the Season Five episode "The Price".[76]
  • When Henry lays on his bed, he crosses one leg over the other.[77] In the next shot, his legs are parallel to each other.[78]

Filming Locations

Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale

International Titles



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 LISTINGS: ONCE UPON A TIME. The Futon Critic. “Air Date: Sunday, November 13, 2011. Time Slot: 8:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on ABC. Episode Title: (#104) "The Price of Gold".”
  2. TV Ratings Broadcast Top 25: ‘Sunday Night Football,’ ‘Big Bang Theory’ Top Week #8 Among Adults 18-49. TV by the Numbers (November 15, 2011). “ONCE UPON A TIME. ABC. 11,359.”
  3. InstagramIcon jandlesmith (Jan Brandle Smith). January 23, 2019.  "Hi guys. I found another clip of me in Once Upon a Time "The Price of Gold" taken from YouTube. I DO NOT own the rights to this video. All Rights belong to ABC/DISNEY. I am in the middle in the blue dress. Taken from Lovin Lana Padilla [sic] channel." (archive copy)
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  6. JEFFREY MORTENSEN - ACTRA, - UBCP/ACTRA. da Costa Talent. Retrieved on December 27, 2018. “Once Upon A Time- Eps. 104, 216 – Dancer”
  7. PAM ROSA - CAEA, - UBCP/ACTRA. da Costa Talent. Retrieved on December 27, 2018. “Once Upon A Time- Eps. 104 – Dancer”
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  9. File:104Title.png
  10. File:104MrGoldsShop.png
  11. File:104Waltz.png
  12. King Xavier's castle: File:216AllHailRegina.png
    Prince Eric's castle: File:306Arrival.png
    Camelot castle:File:502BallBegins.png
    Prince's castle: File:701Ball.png
  13. File:104Celebration2.png
  14. File:104BackseatOfACar.png
  15. 15.0 15.1 File:104WhatDoYouMean.png
  16. 16.0 16.1 File:405Box.png
  17. 17.0 17.1 File:611EmmaBox.png
  18. 18.0 18.1 File:620OpeningBox.png
  19. File:111SecretPlace.png
  20. File:104AssaultedMr.Gold.png
  21. File:104ItsFine.png
  22. 22.0 22.1 Dove, Steve (November 14, 2011). Storybrooke Secrets: The Price of Gold. ABC. “Regina mentions that Emma lived in Tallahassee for 2 years. This is a reference to the LOST episode, "The Man from Tallahassee." Ruby has a wolf charm hanging from the mirror in her car. This is a reference to her character’s fairy tale adversary, the Big Bad Wolf.”
  23. File:104TheRules.png
  24. File:104ReadingFlipped.png (flipped screenshot)
    File:104Reading.png (original screenshot)
  25. File:104Chess.png
  26. File:111AnotherMan.png
  27. File:719ThisConversation.png
  28. File:104AshleyBoyd.png
  29. File:104EllaAtTheWell.png
  30. File:108Noooooo!.png
  31. File:217GoThroughUs.png
  32. File:104GoodBoy.png
  33. Cherokee Rose (Rosa laevigata) in the Roses Database. National Gardening Association. Retrieved on June 11, 2018.
  34. File:217NewSurroundings.png
  35. File:318DoorFliesOpen.png
  36. File:102BailMoney.png
  37. File:103StillAvailable.png
  38. File:104Briefly.png
  39. 39.0 39.1 File:104HenrysRoom.png
  40. File:101IDontHaveASon.png
  41. Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis on Season One Blu-ray/DVD Audio Commentary for "Pilot"
  42. File:515CanWeTalk.png
  43. Compurobot Elami Jr. by Robotland Inc.. The Old Robots. Retrieved on June 11, 2018.
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 44.4 44.5 44.6 44.7 44.8 File:104ShoeOff.png
  45. Meyers, Robert J. (June 21, 1975). The New Republic’s Original Review of ‘The Annotated Dracula’. The New Republic.
  46. File:104DoorCloses.png
  47. File:104FirstBorn.png
  48. Betsey Johnson Bow & Teardrop Earrings. Coolspotters. Retrieved on June 11, 2018.
  49. File:104AndIHope.png
  50. Screenshot from The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
  51. File:216Personage.png
  52. File:W102Drumming.png
  53. File:W105ReleasingBanner.png
  54. File:321MyLord2.png
  55. File:603CinderellaAndGusEnter.png
  56. File:610EmmaWalksAroundTable3.png
  57. File:701EllaArrivesAtTheBall.png
  58. File:710LuckyWeAre.png
  59. File:104ThisIsTruly.png
  60. File:216PoorPrinceHenry.png
  61. File:104CouldBeDangerous.png
  62. FacebookIcon @oceandriveleather (Ocean Drive Leather). August 19, 2012.  (October 9, 2016) "Emma Swan leather jacket collection." (archive copy)

    TassyTas (March 13, 2012). Fairy Tale "it" Leather Jackets. The It Lists. Archived from the original on July 30, 2016.
  63. Fj15/Gemma. Oceandrive Leather. Retrieved on June 11, 2018.
  64. File:106WishIWasHenry.png
  65. File:111LeavingTownHall.png
  66. File:410OutOfMyWay.png
  67. FacebookIcon @oceandriveleather (Ocean Drive Leather). August 16, 2011.  "Cinderella's prince's cuff's closeup." (archive copy)
  68. File:104BusDrivesOff2.png
  69. File:104ArrestingMeAgain.png
  70. File:104GetYourAttention.png
  71. File:104ThankingYou.png
  72. File:104AllYourStuff.png
  73. 73.0 73.1 File:104BecauseIKnow.png
  74. 3760 Moncton St Richmond, British Columbia. Google Maps (August 2011).
  75. File:416AreTheyAfter.png
  76. File:502DidntAnyoneEver.png
  77. File:104DoNot.png
  78. File:104OnTheStairs.png
  79. File:IGlee j buckley-603.png
    ENCHANTING FOXGLOVE FARM – $4,600,000. Retrieved on June 11, 2018. (Pictures of the buildings that appear on the show)
  80. File:W101AliceRunningToFrontDoor.png
  81. File:709Daddy.png
  82. ENCHANTING FOXGLOVE FARM – $4,600,000. Retrieved on June 11, 2018. (The fourth photograph down)
    File:719GothelSeeingDresses.png (note the identical furniture, doors, floor, chandelier and pillars)
  83. 6742 224 St Langley, British Columbia. Google Maps (August 2014).
    File:719ApproachingShed.png (note the identical building and tree around the entrance)
  84. "The Sandkings" ~ The Outer Limits (Full Episode). YouTube (July 7, 2017).
  85. Screenshot from Stargate SG-1: "Icon"
  86. Screenshot from Stargate SG-1: "The Gamekeeper"
  87. Screenshot from The Vampire Diaries: "Pilot"
  88. Screenshot from Supernatural: "Everybody Hates Hitler"
  89. Screenshot from Supernatural: "Celebrating The Life Of Asa Fox"
  90. Screenshot from The Magicians: "Have You Brought Me Little Cakes?"
  91. Screenshot from Arrow: "Bratva"
  92. TwitterLogo @sean_m_maguire (Sean Maguire) on Twitter (January 4, 2017). "Sorry I'll get this right. Tonight @E4Tweets 9pm find out who won the war?"
    Screenshot from Timeless: "Party at Castle Valar"
  93. InstagramIcon jonwhitesell (Jonathan Whitesell). July 8, 2016.  "🏡#beyond"
    Screenshot from Beyond: "Tempus Fugit"
  94. Screenshot from Riverdale: "Chapter Nineteen: Death Proof"
  95. Screenshot from Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
  96. File:104KnockKnock.png
    431 3rd St New Westminster, British Columbia. Google Maps (July 2015).
  97. Once Upon a Time: The Complete Seventh and Final Season: "And They Lived Happily Ever After" (at 00:13:58)
  98. Beane, Odette. Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale, New York: Hyperion, 2013, p. 88
  99. Beane, Odette. Reawakened: A Once Upon a Time Tale, New York: Hyperion, 2013, p. 94

Start a Discussion Discussions about The Price of Gold

  • Emma's "Codename"?

    12 messages
    • Prince of Rascia wrote:Child of the Moon7 wrote:I always thought it was 'Mom' because in season 1 he calls her Emma and later Mom. ...
  • Why did Rumple want Cinderella's baby ?

    20 messages
    • Avatar Beta wrote:Harbinger3781 wrote:Joseph8 wrote:Rumple is an evil man who likes to subjugate people.And I guess he figure there's go...
    • Sunny's Wig wrote:Avatar Beta wrote:Harbinger3781 wrote:Joseph8 wrote:Rumple is an evil man who likes to subjugate people.And I guess...
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