This saga of the old west involves twin brothers who compete for possession of a rickety cow town founded by their father while a crooked mayor tries to put an end to the competitors so he can inherit the town himself.
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Amos and Theodore the two bumbling outlaw wannabees from The Apple Dumpling Gang are back. They are trying to make it on their own. When they arrive at the town they are going to, all sorts of things go awry. They accidentally subdue the town's legendary lawman, Wooly Bill Hitchcock thus enraging him into tracking them down. They also are accused of bank robbery. And they "enlist" in the army, and burn down the fort. Amid all this the army is beseiged by someone stealing their supplies. Written by
Tim Conway and Don Knotts proved to be so popular in the first Apple Dumpling Gang movie that the Magic Kingdom felt they had to be reteamed for The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again. Leaving behind the two children they were involved with in the first film, our two outlaw wannabes find themselves enlisting in the cavalry after unwittingly helping in a bank robbery.
Conway and Knotts's fiddlefooted fumblings are happening at the same time that army supplies are being systematically robbed from Fort Concho with commandant Harry Morgan having no clue why. And Morgan's got other things on his mind as well. His daughter Elyssa Davalos is arriving to marry her fiancé, Lieutenant Robert Pine. But a most amorous private played by Tim Matheson keeps getting in the way.
It was a stroke of genius at the Magic Kingdom when someone got the idea to team Don Knotts and Tim Conway. Like Bing Crosby and Bob Hope who had very successful careers as solos, when they teamed they really clicked. I only imagine that the individual projects both men were involved in kept them from doing even more films together. Each had a really good feel for the timing of the other and the comedy styles blended well.
Disney Studios gave them a good cast in support as they always did. Ruth Buzzi has a nice turn as a blind lady who keeps trying to raise the town alarm about a bank robbery. But the absolute best was Kenneth Mars as Marshal Wooly Bill Hitchcock, a man who can't stand to lose. A feared legend of the west, he can't close the deal on Knotts and Conway, because strange fate keeps intervening. He gets driven to madness the same way Inspector Dreyfus is with Clousseau.
Best scene in the film are Conway and Knotts as they bungle their way into burning the whole fort down, a bit taken from the Gary Cooper comedy, Cassanova Brown. Second best scene is Knotts and Conway in drag as saloon entertainers, taken of course from Some Like It Hot.
Reused material or not, the stuff is very funny and more than kids will get laughs from two comic geniuses in The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again.
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