The blacksmith of a small western town finds himself an outcast. He had led the townspeople west in hopes of starting a new life, only to find the town that they founded is to be bypassed by the railroad.
In Tomahawk, the crooked Jackman brothers control the town, Sheriff Dunham is up for re-election, the sheep growers are banned in town and a stagecoach line undercover investigator arrives to catch the gang that regularly robs the stages.
Charley (Dan Blocker) is the kindly but simple-minded blacksmith who sends a year's earnings back East for a mail-order bride. When he and the town turn out for the woman's arrival at the train station, he is embarrassed when she never appears. The saddened giant plans to leave town. The townspeople recruit the new saloon-girl Sadie (Nanette Fabray) to pose as the bride-to-be so the residents will retain the services of the blacksmith. Jim Backus is the Sheriff who runs for Mayor. Wally Cox plays Mr. Bester, the henpecked husband of his harridan wife (Marge Champion). Mickey Rooney, Stubby Kaye, Iron Eyes Cody, and Jack Cassidy appeared in this western comedy.
[Indian Tom and another character are attempting to remove an anvil from Charley's wagon while he is away from it. Indian Tom appears to suffer a crisis of conscience, then a quick recovery]
It ain't right, stealin' a man's anvil.
Let's steal his trunk.
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The opening credits pan through an old-time western catalog, with actors listed alongside their respective role or characterization: Jim Backus ("Support Staunch for Mayor and Sheriff"); Wally Cox (Acme Hauling and Construction Company); Jack Elam - (Solid Gold Spectacles... character is near-sighted); Henry Jones (Hanson's Atristic Tonsorial Saloon and Funeral Parlor); Stubby Kaye (Spirits... saloon-keeper); Mickey Rooney ("Dumb Bells"). See more »
Backlot western with a mugging cast of old pros...
When the only blacksmith in the tumbleweed town of Calico is set to pack up and leave after he's humiliated by his no-show mail-order bride, the other residents band together to replace her with a substitute: the trampy bar-hostess. Universal originally intended "Cockeyed Cowboys" as a television movie to be entitled "A Woman For Charley", but released it theatrically first. While lacking seriously in budget (not to mention originality), the film does have Dan Blocker in the lead, and the gentle giant from "Bonanza" really knows how to work the 'bruised big guy' routine for a touching affect. Unaware of his lady love's true identity, Blocker is quite charming "courtin' her at full steam"; though Blocker occasionally looks winded or overly-tanned, his crestfallen bachelor is the best thing in the picture (and when he's not around, it dies). Blocker inexplicably vanishes from the action twice: after a drinking binge and during a walk into town, leaving the supporting players to pick up the slack. Jim Backus is good as the sheriff, Jack Elam isn't bad in a slapstick role as a near-sighted bounty hunter, but Mickey Rooney chews the scenery (what little of it there is) and Nanette Fabray is disappointing as the bridal ringer. Ranald MacDougall wrote, produced, and co-directed the film...and maybe could have used some extra help. *1/2 from ****
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