A Henry .22 lever-action was my first firearm.
Never fails, its a good solid design that is massively popular and I am sure one can be found at prices that won't hurt the wallet. Not the easiest gun in the world to take apart, but I have never had to take it apart for any reason other than periodic thorough cleaning after putting hundreds upon hundreds of rounds through it.
I don't know about the golden boy, this is the sort of gun you take out with you over the river and through the woods. I will take function over cosmetic appearance any day. Its pretty, and probably works just as well as any other Henry rifle.