In Apache territory, a supply Army column heads for the next fort, an ex-scout searches for the killer of his Indian wife, and a housewife abandons her husband in order to rejoin her Apache lover's tribe.
Sergeant Major Zack arrives at a new army base with his wife, son and Sherman tank. One night at a bar he "stops" a pimp/deputy from beating a girl. The corrupt sheriff uses Zack's son for revenge and Zack uses his tank.
Marvin J. Chomsky
C. Thomas Howell
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
When the sheriff first goes to the new jail, he finds a bucket of red paint and yet nothing in the entire office had been painted red. The cell blocks were brick and the walls in the office were yellow. See more »
There's always some tramp that's good with a gun that can be hired.
Yeah, but you always said that the Danbys fight their own battles.
Well, maybe I was talkin' 'bout another branch of the family.
See more »
The late sixties and early seventies were an extraordinary period for the comic western. Although not all western comedies were directed by Burt Kennedy, some of the best of them were. Kennedy worked with some of the best if slightly aged Hollywood leading men who looked right at home on a western set.
In James Garner, Kennedy found his perfect leading man. Although Garner had done some really serious westerns like Duel at Diablo, Hour of the Gun and A Man Called Sledge, he was really at his best in comedy. The man who first became known to us on TV's Maverick was perfect for films like Support Your Local Sheriff.
One element of the humor of Support Your Local Sheriff is lost on today's audience. Back in the day among the more conservative elements in America there was a backlash against protesters in the Sixties. The right wing kind of liked police using nightsticks on the heads of irate citizens. Three years before in New York City when Mayor Lindsay tried to put in an independent Civilian Review Board for the NYPD, the Conservative Party of New York State and the Patrolman's Benevolent Association led a referendum campaign against it. The slogan of the campaign; Support Your Local Police.
Out west of course that means Support Your Local Sheriff. So as Kennedy spoofed the title, it has a double meaning, because in this film James Garner, an amiable stranger who drifts into a mining boom town, gets the job so he can earn enough money to get passage to Australia. And when he does need help the town council consisting of Mayor Harry Morgan, Willis Bouchey, Walter Burke, and Henry Jones is convened in a secret meeting in the town pleasure palace.
The only two people Garner can count on is Morgan's tomboy daughter Joan Hackett and Jack Elam who shovels horse waste product at the stable. Hackett patterns her role after Betty Hutton or Doris Day and a generation earlier they would have been in her part. Charlton Heston who worked with her in Will Penny said she was kind, loving, and talented and a great loss to acting at a young age.
As for Jack Elam, when he started in the Fifties he parlayed that blind eye of his into playing some of the most vicious psycho villains ever on screen. Look at him in such films as Rawhide and Kansas City Confidential and you can hardly believe it's the same actor. Starting in the Sixties, Elam began playing more and more comic parts and he had a natural gift for comedy. No one thought more of that than Burt Kennedy who started using Elam in just about all his projects after Support Your Local Sheriff.
The main villain in the piece is Walter Brennan in what turned out to be his last major theatrical film. He's the father of a trio of lunkhead sons one of whom, Bruce Dern, gets himself arrested for murder after Garner is made sheriff because Garner witnessed the killing. The rest of the film is Brennan trying to free Dern and calling in all kinds of reinforcements to do it.
Best scene in the film: Garner throwing rocks at a gunfighter instead of drawing down on him. Second best scene: Garner disarming Brennan by sticking his finger in the barrel of the six shooter Brennan is pointing at him. Burt Kennedy had a great sense of humor.
Support Your Local Sheriff is Burt Kennedy and James Garner at their best. They did another film, Support Your Local Gunfighter, which is not a sequel to this film, but just as funny. Too bad they didn't team for more films.
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