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Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969)

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.


Burt Kennedy


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


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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


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


Bad men... Bad ladies... Bad horses... See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

26 March 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sheriff See more »


Box Office


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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Though not a sequel nor related to this storyline, this movie was followed by Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971), with most of the cast intact playing similar characters. See more »


When Jason, as the newly appointed Sheriff goes to arrest Joe Danby, he is saved from being shot in the back by Jake. When the camera goes to Jake, he is behind and to the right of the Sheriff. However, in the shots showing the sheriff from the front, Jake is not visible in the saloon. See more »


Joe Danby: [about his father] He's got a heart as big as the whole outdoors, but he don't have one brain in his poor old head.
See more »


Referenced in Full House: Support Your Local Parents (1993) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Local Law Enforcement On Its Own
28 March 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

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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