Chester Wooley (Lou Costello) and Duke Egan (Bud Abbott) are traveling salesmen who make a stopover in Wagon Gap, Montana en route to California. During the stopover, notorious criminal ...
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Chester Wooley (Lou Costello) and Duke Egan (Bud Abbott) are traveling salesmen who make a stopover in Wagon Gap, Montana en route to California. During the stopover, notorious criminal Fred Hawkins is murdered and the two are charged with the crime. They are quickly tried, convicted, and sentenced to die by hanging. The head of the local citizens' committee, Jim Simpson (William Ching), recalls a law whereby the survivor of a gun duel must take responsibility for the deceased's debts and family. The law spares the two from execution, but Chester is now responsible for the widow Hawkins (Marjorie Main) and her seven children. They go to her farm, where she works Chester from dawn to dusk, and at night he must work at the saloon to repay Hawkins' debt to its owner, Jake Frame (Gordon Jones). Her plan is to wear Chester down until he agrees to marry her. Chester quickly learns that no one will harm him, for fear that they will need to support Mrs. Hawkins and her family. Simpson makes ...Written by
Abbott and Costello bring law and order to Wagon Gap
The prologue on this film, gives one an idea of what's ahead in "The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap." It reads, "Montana, in the days when men were men - with two exceptions." I agree with those reviewers who find this as one of the better films of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, along with "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein."
The boys play a couple of peddlers working their way to California in this comedy Western. The advertisement on their suitcase reads, "Eagan & Wooley, Household Specialties, 'Our Specialty", Home Office, Patterson, N.J." But once in the stopover town of Wagon Gap, their means of livelihood changes over night.
This film has the usual comical antics and horseplay that mark Abbott and Costello films, and it's quite funny. It has a couple of very good original scenarios (e.g., the dinner table and a frog in Lou's soup). But the best comedy comes from a script that is peppered with very funny lines. The premise of the plot drives most of the humor here.
Costello plays Chester Wooley who is charged with providing for the widow and family of a man he's accused of shooting on arriving in town. One has to see this very early scene to even comprehend that. The Widow Hawkins is played superbly by Marjorie Main who would become known in the future for her starring roles opposite Percy Kilbride in the 1950s' series of Ma and Pa Kettle films. Since every sober man (and even those who aren't) in Wagon Gap dreads such a prospect for himself, Chester becomes fearless and very successful when he is made sheriff.
Bud Abbott is mostly a sidekick to Costello and Main who carry this film. There's a little anomaly with Abbott's character - in the spelling of his name. The only time it's written in the film, it's spelled Duke Eagan on their suitcase. But the credits that role on the film, spell his last name without the first "a" - as Egan.
This is a fun film that most people should enjoy.
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