Support Your Local Sheriff


James Garner-Jason McCullough

Joan Hackett-Prudy Perkins

Walter Brennan-Pa Danby

Harry Morgan-Olly Perkins

Jack Elam-Jake

Henry Jones-Henry Jackson

Bruce Dern-Joe Danby

Willis Bouchey-Thomas Devery

Gene Evans-Tom Danby

Walter Burke-Fred Johnson

Dick Peabody-Luke Danby

Chubby Johnson-Brady

Kathleen Freeman-Mrs. Danvers

Dick Haynes-Barkeeper


This 1969 spoof of western movies stars James Garner as a stranger just passing through town on his way to Australia. He’s been on his way to Australia for four years so he obviously isn’t in any hurry to get there.

The movie begins with the townsfolk marching up boot hill to bury a man who’d been in town only two days and then died from some unknown disease. The eulogy comment was, “We can only hope whatever deadly disease it was wasn’t particularly contagious.” Naturally, they discover gold in the freshly dug grave and overnight the little cluster of buildings becomes a prosperous, lawless boom town.

The town has already gone through three sheriffs (two were killed and the third ran off) when Jason McCullough (Garner) rides into town. His first stop is the saloon where he witnesses Joe Danby (Bruce Dern) kill another man in a gunfight. The Danbys are the local ranchers whose word is law, much the same as in many western movies. The mine owners have to pay the Danbys twenty percent of the gold they haul out of town.

Prices are sky high in town and going higher so Jason decides to look for a job to supplement the gold prospecting he plans on doing. He applies for the job of sheriff and the mayor (Harry Morgan) and the town council are only too happy to hire him.

Jason’s first order of business is to arrest Joe Danby for murder since the gunfight he’d witnessed was far from fair. The only trouble is, the jail doesn’t have any bars on the cells because they’re on order and haven’t arrived yet. Jason convinces Joe that he’ll be shot of he crosses a chalk line on the floor, right where the cell doors should have been. Joe pretty much stays in the insecure cell.

Jason also convinces Jake (Jack Elam) to become his deputy. Jake’s previous job was cleaning up the livery stable.

The mayor has a daughter, Prudy (Joan Hackett), who develops a crush on Jason but every time he’s around, something untoward happens to her

It isn’t long before Joe’s Pa (Walter Brennan) comes riding into town along with Joe’s two brothers Tom (Gene Evans) and Luke (Dick Peabody). Their goal is to get Joe out of jail. Pa tells the two brothers that he can handle getting Joe out himself. He walks into the sheriff’s office and pulls a gun on Jason. Jason then plugs up the barrel of the gun with his finger. This forces Pa to lower the hammer and give the gun to Jason. “If that gun had gone off, it’d blown up right in my face,” he says to Jason. Pa seems a little bit confused by the new sheriff and isn’t quite sure what to do to get Joe out. His first plan is to hire a gunfighter to kill the sheriff but Jason kills that gunfighter as well as the next one that comes into town. He runs the third one
out by throwing rocks at him.

Meanwhile, the bars for the cells arrive and Joe helps to put them in. Pa and the boys try to pull the bars off the window of Joe’s cell with their horses but only manage to pull the saddles off without budging the bars. Joe tells Pa that he knew the bars were in too solid because he helped with the installation.

Pa Danby has then had enough. He sends for family members that live on ranches elsewhere to help him get rid of the sheriff once and for all. When they get to town, a gunfight between Jason, Jake and Prudy on one side and the Danbys on the other breaks out. Jason ties Joe in front of the town cannon. The Danbys surrender when he threatens to light the fuse. He tells Prudy that the cannon wasn’t even loaded and he lights the fake fuse to prove it. The fuse fizzles and goes out. As they’re walking down the street, the powder in the cannon ignites and fires a cannon ball which blows up Madam Orr’s House.

This is one of the more enjoyable movies ever made. It is well worth taking another look at, even if you’ve seen it before.

Wav Sound Files (11KHz)

(click on brown link to download)

Jason: “How much does it pay?”

Citizen: “Well, none of our other sheriffs ever lived long enough to find out.” (47K)

Jason: “Well, it must have saved the life of whoever was wearing it.”

Mayor: “Well, it sure would have if it hadn’t been for all them other bullets flying in from everywhere.”  (76K)

Mayor: “The only thing it hasn’t got is iron bars for the cells.”

Jason: “You’re kidding.”

Mayor: “Which we had to send away for them and they ain’t arrove yet.”  (87K)

Jake: “You want me to tell Joe Danby that he’s under arrest for murder? What are you going to do after he kills me?”

Jason: “Then I’ll arrest him for both murders.”  (88K)

Mayor: “Our last sheriff was a good organizer. Yellow clear through but a good organizer.”  (56K)

Jason: “But the Mayor seemed to think that my qualifications suited the job perfectly.”

Jake: “Yah, well, he’d a thought that if you were blind in both eyes and crippled in both legs.”  (88K)

Jason: “How dare you walk into my office and pull a gun on me.”

Pa Danby: “Get your finger out of the end of my gun.”  (49K)

Pa Danby: “Couldn’t you at least done it when the sheriff wasn’t looking?”

Joe Danby: “He wasn’t the sheriff when he done seen me do it.”  (48K)

Tom Danby: “Besides, what could he do against three of us?”

Pa Danby: “He could kill two of us.”  (38K)

Tom Danby: “What’s a martyr?”

Pa Danby: “Oh, I’m sorry. They didn’t use words like that in the third grade, did they?”

Tom Danby: “Well, how would I know? I didn’t get that far.”  (87K)

Pa Danby: “What do you mean, you helped them put in them bars?”

Joe Danby: “Well, I didn’t have nothing else to do and they was going to put the bars in whether I helped them out or not.”  (76K)

Joe Danby: “And you know Pa. Got a heart as big as the whole outdoors but he don’t have one brain in his poor old head.”  (83K)




Airplane! (1980) Story of dysfunctional crew and passengers on board a Chicago bound flight.
American Graffiti (1973) One night in the lives of teenagers in 1962
Animal House (1978) A run down fraternity’s members cause chaos on campus.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) Two elderly matrons poison lonely men and bury the bodies in the basement.
Cat Ballou (1966) An outlaw and her gang rob trains to try to break a town.
The Cheyenne Social Club (1970) A cowboy inherits a brothel called The Cheyenne Social Club.
Dr. Strangelove (1964) Insane base commander sends his B52 bombers into the Soviet Union.
Harvey (1950) Quiet, unassuming man has a giant rabbit for a friend.
The Mouse That Roared (1959) Smallest country in the world declares war on the U.S. and wins.
On Golden Pond (1981) Elderly couple spend a summer at their cottage on a lake.
The President’s Analyst (1967) A prominent psychoanalyst becomes the psychiatrist for the president.
Raising Arizona (1987) An ex-con and a policewoman kidnap a baby to raise as their own.
Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) A drifter on his way to Australia takes the post as sheriff of a western boom town.
Waking Ned Devine (1998) Villagers try to collect a dead man’s lottery winnings.

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