My favourite Western ever! I've seen it so many times that I didn't even need to listen to the sound while screencapping it. I think it's one of the best Westerns ever, regardless of it being a comedy. The cast is superb and the writing and the pace of the plot is perfect and the soundtrack is terrific.
As you can see, this small town is experiencing a gold rush and anything goes.
As is normal in Westerns, a stranger rides into town. Yes, it's James Garner as
Bret Maverick Jason McCullough. He's just passing through on his way to Australia and thought he'd pan for some gold on his way West.
Jason walks into the saloon and sees this guy called Joe kill a man over a poker game. Naturally all of the locals will swear that the corpse drew first, except for Jason.
$3 for a plate of beans! Ridiculous!
Far too expensive to waste on a food fight. Actually, Jason has the power to stop a food fight, but I wont tell you how.
Seeing as Jason will go broke by the middle of the afternoon and all of the prospecting spots are taken, he decides to get a job.
His only qualifications for being sheriff are that he's an excellent shot and he's willing to take the job, which has a poor track record of sheriffs lasting more then a couple of hours. Henry Morgan, great character actor, plays Perkins the mayor/hardware store owner/gold mine owner. Actually all of the town council members are mine owners.
This is the jail. They've ordered the bars but they haven't arrived yet. Jason doesn't like this, but he does get free room and board at Perkins' house and besides this is only a temp job, he's on his way to Australia you know.
This klutz is Prudy Perkins, Henry Morgan's daughter. She discovered the gold and is now the richest girl in this part of the country. Becoming rich overnight does sort of unhinge you a bit.
On his way to the saloon, Jason meets Jack Elam, another great character actor who played the town drunk in Westerns. In this film, he plays Jake, the town drunk. Guess who's the new deputy?
As his first act as sheriff, Jason arrests Joe for murder.
Joe isn't that bright. Actually, he's quite stupid. Which is why he stays in a cell with no bars.
Love that blouse!
Perkins wears a cool suit. Yes, the knot's a little big, but check out the pipping.
Now, the problem that the town has is that in order to ship the gold to the train, it has to pass through the land that's owned by the Danby family and they charge 20% and so they practically run the town. Pa's not too happy that the new sheriff has arrested his youngest son. Pa Danby is played by Walter Brennan, who won three Oscars for character work.
So, he goes to have a little chat with Jason and is surprised with the lack of respect that Jason displays towards his gun.
Gunne Sax does the 1860's! Westerns aren't about historical accuracies and this is 1969 after all
Message to the viewer: Don't mention on the first date that you're just passing thru on your way to Australia.
With the Danby family back at their ranch figuring out how to get Joe out of jail, Jason sets about cleaning up the town and making it respectable and quiet, using a robe and some rocks.
But he still has time to take Jake out fishing.
Hey look, the bars have arrived! That's real nice for Joe, makes it less embarrassing for him.
Meanwhile, Pa has hired a bunch of gun men to try to kill Jason. The undertaker is certainly doing a lot of business, even if Jason gets tired of killing them.
Well, looks like the sheriff doesn't scare as easily as the other ones. Pa and his two equally bright sons ride off to round up their uncles, cousins and their hired hands for a show down.
French cuffs on a blouse! Awesome.
Anyway, Jason has decided that it's time for him to leave town before the Boys get there. Prudy thinks that is the most mature thing she's ever heard a man say. Jason thinks it's cowardly, so he decides to stay and fight it out. Because that's what sheriffs do in Westerns.
Meanwhile, the Boys are heading back into town.
All those in favour of not getting involved in the gun fight?
Ooo, High Noon reference shot! What could this mean for Jason, Prudy and Jake? It's a comedy, so none of the main characters die, but a terrible thing does happen.