McCullough is “passing through on my way to Australia” when he takes a job in a gold rush town. After a startling display of marksmanship, he immediately arrests the youngest son of the evil landowner (Danby). A battle of hired guns begins as McCullough continues to tame the town and defeat the gunslingers with a combination of skill and wit.
This is a scream!
This is yet another of those “they don’t make ’em like this anymore” gems.
And, this western is a comic gem. Okay, it’s a scream!
The whole cast is perfect, playing perfectly to a wonderful script. While all the action circles around the perfectly cast James Garner, who is light and amusing. Although he is funny, he’s still the straight man to to all the town loonies.
Bruce Dern and Jack Elam are over the top hilarious as a dimwitted bad guy and dimwitted “town character” respectively. Harry Morgan is as funny as he’s ever been, which is saying a lot considering his role in What Did You Do In The War, Daddy? Walter Brennan is typically excellent in one of his later roles as the typically grump head of the bad guy’s clan. Even the lesser roles, such as Kathleen Freeman as a passerby, are delightful in her 2-minute scene.
The late Joan Hackett is the mayor’s daughter, the madcap, eccentric Prudy. plays comedy really well. She gets lovelier every time I see this. She’s as beautiful as she is funny in this and she’s a riot. She left us way too soon.
I wish one of our revival houses would run this coupled with The Cheyanne Social Club, another delightfully comic western from that great era in films. That would be one entertaining night at the movies!
Just Plain Fun
But this is actually a very good, drown yourself in a bag of popcorn, and laugh your cares away film.
Is it a western parody or humorous homage to some of the great character actors in American western? It certainly doesn’t have a mean bone in its body and doesn’t rely on shock humor to get you chuckling. This film respects its predecessors and has good clean fun with them.