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Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969)

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In the old west, a man becomes a Sheriff just for the pay, figuring he can decamp if things get tough. In the end, he uses ingenuity instead.

Director:

Burt Kennedy

Writer:

William Bowers
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Garner ... Jason
Joan Hackett ... Prudy
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 Dick Peabody ... Luke Danby
Chubby Johnson ... Brady (scenes deleted)
Kathleen Freeman ... Mrs. Danvers
Dick Haynes ... Bartender
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Storyline

McCullough is "passing through on my way to Australia" when he takes a job in a gold rush town. After a startling display of marksmanship, he immediately arrests the youngest son of the evil landowner (Danby). A battle of hired guns begins as McCullough continues to tame the town and defeat the gunslingers with a combination of skill and wit. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Our trouble-shooting sheriff always put his finger on it (or in it). No wonder they call him The Fastest Finger in the West. See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 March 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sheriff See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Stewart did this same show of expert marksmanship in Winchester '73 (1950) in order to win the one-of-a-kind Winchester '73 rifle in a shooting contest. Instead of a washer, he used an ornament from an Indian necklace with a hole in the center. To prove that he does indeed shoot through the center of the ornament for the second time, he places a postage stamp over the hole. See more »

Goofs

During the fight scene in front of the hardware store, every other camera shot has bright sun and shadows or heavy overcast. Also, Prudy's (Joan Hackett's) location changes from camera shot to camera shot. See more »

Quotes

Jason McCullough: Well, when you set out to clean up a mess, you don't just sit around while the mess gets bigger and bigger.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Eureka: Sight Unseen (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady
Music by Thomas Hastings
Hummed by Joan Hackett
See more »

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User Reviews

James Garner shines in highly agreeable western spoof
28 June 2001 | by rmears1See all my reviews

Here is a funny, good-natured parody of classic westerns, starring James Garner in the role he was born to play - the reluctant hero, tackling crises with his wits, not his fists. You don't have to be familiar with western clichés to enjoy this film, but those who are in on the jokes will find it especially rewarding. Of course, Mel Brooks' similar `Blazing Saddles' is better remembered today, but I feel that `Support Your Local Sheriff!' is the more successful film. It achieves its results through the writers' ingenuity and the actors' flawless timing and delivery, as opposed to the riotous, hit-or-miss gags of Brooks' film.

Garner plays a drifter who is gradually making his way to Australia, for no discernable reason. He arrives in an unruly western town that's been through three sheriffs in the past two months and is now in desperate need of another. The town council is not choosy, and he is hired almost sight unseen. Then he sees the jail - real nice, but no bars for the cells. He picks the most incompetent man in earshot (Jack Elam) for his deputy, and sets about cleaning up the town. Garner is adept at all the usual gun tricks and is in fact an expert marksman, but he prefers to talk his way out of tight situations, always getting the better of his intellectually-challenged opponents.

The real trouble begins when he arrests a whiny ruffian (Bruce Dern) for murder, and books him in one of the cells without bars. In the true western fashion, his crotchety pop (Walter Brennan) and all his brothers ride into town to engineer a jailbreak. What happens next would be criminal to reveal here, except to say that it consists of one comic gem after another.

Each line is written and delivered to perfection by a cast that seems to have been formed from a convention of old character actors. Brennan is hilarious sending up his Old Man Clanton role from "My Darling Clementine." His very presence in any western gives it a feel of authenticity, but here he proves to be a good sport in spoofing one of his definitive parts. Elam, Dern, and Harry Morgan contribute priceless support, and Joan Hackett is effective as Garner's most unorthodox love interest. All this would be for naught, however, without Garner in the central role. It calls for a very specific type of actor: quick-witted, sarcastic, astute, overly accommodating, and not especially tough. This is a tailor-made role for Garner, and he fills it in such a way that any other casting would be inconceivable. Thanks to him, the other performers, and the droll, clever screenplay, the film hits all the right notes for a pleasant and genial western comedy.


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