Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • An English valet brought to the American west assimilates into the American way of life.

  • While visiting Paris in 1908, upper class Lord Burnstead loses his butler playing poker. Egbert and Effie Floud bring Ruggles back to Red Gap, Washington. Effie wants to take advantage of Ruggles' upper class background to influence Egbert's hick lifestyle. However, Egbert is more interested in partying and he takes Ruggles to the local 'beer bust'. When word gets out that "Colonel Ruggles is staying with his close friends" in the local paper, the butler becomes a town celebrity. After befriending Mrs. Judson, a widow who he impresses with his culinary skills, Ruggles decides to strike out on his own and open a restaurant. His transition from servant to independent man will depend on its success.

  • 1908. Married couple Egbert and Effie Floud are among the nouveau riche in the small but booming town of Red Gap, Washington. Egbert is a self-made millionaire in local resources and ranching, while Effie comes about her money through her mother, 'Ma' Pettingill, who struck oil. Egbert is a good old boy who likes to hang out and drink with his equally down home friends - rich or poor - which is much like Ma, while Effie, who wears the pants in the family, wants to be seen as socially and financially important, with all the trappings. The Flouds live in Ma's mansion, with Effie's equally snobbish sister and brother-in-law, Mr. & Mrs. Charles Bellknap-Jackson, who flaunt their wealth and self-importance. While vacationing in Paris, the Flouds meet British Lord, the Earl of Burnstead, and his manservant, Ruggles, who comes from a long line of gentlemen's gentlemen. In a drunken stupor, the Flouds "win" Ruggles in a poker game against the Earl. By the sober light of the next day, Egbert has no intention of collecting on the bet, while Effie has every intention of doing so, seeing the addition of Ruggles to their Red Gap lives, specifically as Egbert's manservant, as elevating their social standing. Egbert sees the addition of Ruggles to their lives solely as another drinking buddy with who to hang out. Beyond Ruggles being a fish out of water in Red Gap, he faces the struggle of whether Egbert or Effie is his ultimate master. Complications ensue when before Effie can make the official social announcement of Ruggles being Egbert's new manservant, the newspaper reports that he is actually the Floud's important house guest, British Colonel Marmaduke Ruggles, this misunderstanding based partly on Egbert referring to him in public colloquially and in friendship as colonel. Regardless, Ruggles may get a different perspective on life residing in the frontier of the proverbial land of the free.

  • An English gentleman loses his stuffy manservant, Ruggles, in a poker game with an unmannered cowboy and his wife. Ruggles accompanies his new employers to the tiny, wild town of Red Gap, Washington. Rich, rowdy Egbert Floud introduces Ruggles as "Colonel" Ruggles, and the town ladies are quite taken by the sophisticated servant in disguise as he enamors them with fictitious stories of battles gone by. Ruggles proves his newfound patriotism in one of the best scenes of the film, his recitation of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in the Silver Dollar Saloon. The dream of freedom leads him to open his own restaurant, where one of his first customers is the nobleman who has come to reclaim his former servant.


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