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The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 10 July 1968 (USA)
A pardoned stagecoach robber, becomes government agent and marries a naive unsuspecting east-coast dentist in order to join a wagon train and catch the smugglers who have been selling guns to the Indians.


Alan Rafkin


James Fritzell (screenplay) (as Jim Fritzell), Everett Greenbaum (screenplay) | 2 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Don Knotts ... Jesse W. Heywood
Barbara Rhoades ... Penelope Cushings
Jackie Coogan ... Basch
Don 'Red' Barry ... Rev. Zachary Gant (as Donald Barry)
Ruth McDevitt ... Olive
Frank McGrath ... Mr. Remington
Terry Wilson ... Welsh
Carl Ballantine ... Swanson
Pat Morita ... Wong
Robert Yuro ... Arnold the Kid
Herb Voland ... Dr. Friedlander (as Herbert Voland)
Fay DeWitt ... Violet
Dub Taylor ... Pop McGovern
Hope Summers ... Celia
Dick Wilson ... Indian Chief


Jesse W. Haywood graduates from dental school in Philadelphia in 1870 and goes west "to fight oral ignorance." Meanwhile stagecoach robber Penelope "Bad Penny" Cushing is offered a pardon if she will track down a ring of gun smugglers. She tricks the bungling Haywood into a fictitious marriage as a disguise, and he becomes the heroic "Doc the Haywood" after he guns down "Arnold the Kid" and performs other exploits with Penny's help (unbeknown to him or anyone else). Written by Doug Shafer <dsshafer@uncc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


WANTED! For fracturing the frontier with a Sick-Shooter! (original poster) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


In the original version of this material, 1948's The Paleface, Jane Russell's character was the famous female sharp-shooter Calamity Jane. See more »


When Heywood is following the wagons through the desert (after the outlaws take Penny) there are tracks from the wagon wheels in the sand, but no tracks from the horses that were pulling the wagons. See more »


Penelope 'Bad Penny' Cushings: You know something? You're a lot spunkier than I thought you were.
Jesse Heywood: I get that from my mother.
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Referenced in Beethoven's 3rd (2000) See more »


The Shakiest Gun in the West
Words and Music by Jerry Keller and Dave Blume
Sung by The Wilburn Brothers
Courtesy Decca Records
See more »

User Reviews

Don Knotts meets Bob Hope
14 September 2012 | by aadue-186-652060See all my reviews

If you happen to own or rent the Don Knotts "Reluctant Hero" pack, this is one of the four films, and probably the least strong in terms of comedy. It is a remake of the movie Paleface, with Bob Hope and Jane Russell, not exactly shot for shot, but close. A lot of the same jokes were used, and the plot is identical.

However, I still recommend this film. It's got some very funny stuff. While I'm not usually a fan of remakes, I thought this WAS better than Paleface, though it could just be I saw this one so many times first. Son of Paleface I had seen before Paleface, and I enjoy that one quite a lot.

Apart from the comedy in this film, we get Barbara Rhoades, the love interest. Let me just say, VA VA VOOM! YOWZA! and COR, BLIMEY! You'll have to see for yourself though....

This fits nicely into Knotts' "reluctant hero" idea, and I recommend it overall. It's a fun film.

P.S. "How's it going, Heywood?"

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Release Date:

10 July 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Shakiest Gun in the West See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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