->''In 1936 it was clear to everyone that if Britain would only help the Spanish Government, even to the extent of a few million pounds' worth of arms, Franco would collapse and German strategy would be severely dislocated... Yet in the most mean, cowardly, hypocritical way the British ruling class did everything they could to hand Spain over to Franco and the Nazis.''
-->-- '''Creator/GeorgeOrwell''', ''Looking Back on the [[UsefulNotes/SpanishCivilWar Spanish War]]''


Our heroes are in trouble. They're being completely slaughtered by the BigBad's [[{{Mooks}} forces]], who are obviously too strong for them... but wait! There is a large regiment of [[TheCavalry cavalry]] in the area. Let's just [[GondorCallsForAid call in]] these guys and the Big Bad will be easily defeated.

Or so you'd think. In fact, the cavalry don't feel like rushing in to save the day at all, and stubbornly refuse your desperate call for help. Perhaps they have some kind of ObstructiveCodeOfConduct forbidding them to intervene. Perhaps the BigBad has powerful friends whom they don't want to get into trouble with. Or the Cavalry are organised more or less democratically and [[DividedWeFall some of them are opposed to helping the heroes]] (or they all agree about ''that'', but argue endlessly about the details). Whatever the reason, the Cavalry refuses.

This trope is in play when the heroes need help, and there is an entity which could and/or should provide it but says 'Screw you'. Can lead to the heroes (and, if the unwilling Cavalry's excuse is particularly poor, the audience) exclaiming 'Why don't you do something?' or [[WhatTheHellHero 'What The Hell, Hero?']] If the heroes looked up to their supposed protectors, this will result in a BrokenPedestal.

Comes in two varieties:
* '''Type A''' is when the unwilling Cavalry is a (supposedly) neutral authority figure with power over both the heroes and the villains. They don't rush in to protect the heroes, even if the villain is clearly violating the rules which they are supposed to enforce - for example, in a schoolyard setting, a teacher not doing anything to protect the bullied protagonist. Related to AdultsAreUseless and PoliceAreUseless.
* '''Type B''' is when the Cavalry have no formal power over the villains, but are big and strong enough to significantly aid the heroes. They are supposed to be on the heroes' side (thus making them potential Cavalry), but refuse to help.

Compare CavalryBetrayal (when the Cavalry does show up, but turns out not to be on the heroes' side after all).

!Examples:

!!Type A

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime ]]

* In ''LastExile'', the Guild (an organisation supposed to enforce [[UsefulNotes/TheLawsAndCustomsOfWar The Laws And Customs Of War]]) does nothing to help an army which is being attacked with "forbidden" tactics, because they favour the offending army.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* It's hard to keep count of the times the UsefulNotes/UnitedNations have refused the Cavalry call, due to the decision-making process which allows several powerful nations, whose interests are often diametrically opposed, a veto.
** The General Assembly attempted to LoopholeAbuse their way around this deadlock of the Security Council through enacting Resolution 377(A), i.e. "Uniting for Peace". It's only worked once in a while.
* The UsefulNotes/UnitedNations' predecessor, the League of Nations, wasn't exactly eager Cavalry, either - they stood and watched while the Japanese invaded (Chinese) Manchuria, the Italians brutally conquered Abyssinia and a handful of Spanish generals staged a coup against their government which led to the UsefulNotes/SpanishCivilWar.

!!Type B

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* In ''{{Zulu}}'', a force of actual cavalry arrives upon the scene where the heroes are making a LastStand... and promptly flees. This happened in RealLife, too, but in reality, the cavalry were much more [[JustifiedTrope justified]] in their flight than depicted in the film.
* Thranduil in ''Film/TheHobbit'' is shown in flashbacks to have refused to help the dwarves, both against Smaug in Erebor and against the orcs in Moria, choosing not to lead his people into a hopeless battle against an enemy that they have no chance of defeating. The White Council (minus Gandalf) were going to be a third one but [[spoiler: the dwarves (with good reason) left before they could refuse to help them.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Professional Wrestling ]]

* Happens whenever a face (usually John Cena) and a heel are forced to be tag team partners. The heel will let the face take a beating and refuse to tag in or help him.
* This pretty much happens whenever a face is getting a beatdown. The other faces in the back will rarely come to the rescue no matter how many heels are doing the beating. Whereas if a face is beating a heel, all the heel's friends will come to help. Yes, in ProfessionalWrestling, the bad guys are more loyal than the good guys.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Television ]]

* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'''s first order of business after [[OurAngelsAreDifferent inventing a cavalry]] was [[JerkAss inventing reasons]] [[LawfulStupid for that cavalry not to help]]. The angels as a faction are stuck in a revolving door between this and CavalryBetrayal. Refusal to answer the call happens regularly, but here are some notable examples:
** Castiel turns down Dean's pleas in Season 4's [[MetaFiction The Monster at the End of this Book]], although he does [[CouldSayItBut offer]] [[LetsYouAndHimFight a creative solution]].
** [[TricksterArchetype The Trickster]] refuses to help the Winchesters when they come calling on the eve of Armageddon. [[ChangedMyMindKid It doesn't take]].

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOEGudEoSW4 introduction video]] to ''StarCraft: Brood War'', a Terran colony finds itself the target of a literal ZergRush; a Terran warship shows up overhead, but promptly leaves again without doing anything for the besieged Terrans on the ground.
* Shepard can pull this on [[spoiler:the Citadel Council]] at the end of ''VideoGame/MassEffect1''.
* At the Battle of Ostagar in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', the Warden is sent to light a beacon to signal Teyrn Loghain's reinforcements. When Loghain sees the beacon, he orders his forces to withdraw, allowing the Darkspawn to slaughter King Cailan's forces. Loghain does this because he believes the Darkspawn aren't massing in a true Blight and that Cailan's in bed with Orlais, the nation he fought bitterly against for Fereldan's freedom.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comic ]]

* ''WebComic/ParanormalMysterySquad'': A greater demon named K'aannl'ngua is set on attacking Las Vagas. The US Military prepares to defend the city, but is then ordered to stand down by an AnimalWrongsGroup activist with a presidential order declaring K'aannl'ngua an endangered species. The military then pulls out and lets Las Vagas get wrecked while the heroes have to defeat it alone.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuestTheRealAdventures'': That's what drove Ezekiel Rage into becoming a criminal. [[FaceHeelTurn He was a good guy]] until falling victim to the trope.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Britain and France in the UsefulNotes/SpanishCivilWar (see the page quote). They took this trope UpToEleven by enforcing an ''arms embargo'' against the Republicans, on whose side they were supposed to be. In theory, there was an international embargo against both sides. In practice, UsefulNotes/NaziGermany and UsefulNotes/FascistItaly supplied the Nationalists with weapons, aircraft and auxiliary troops; the USSR similarly aided the Republicans, but on a much smaller scale. Only Britain and France actually upheld the embargo, in an attempt to appease Germany and prevent - or rather, forestall - UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.
* The USSR did this to Poland towards the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. As the Red Army drew close to Warsaw, the Polish [[LaResistance Home Army]] rose up against the German occupation forces - but the Red Army had other priorities and did not come to their aid. The British offered to send planes to help, but they were denied access to Russian airbases. Needless to say, this ended badly for the Poles. Then again, if the Poles really considered the Red Army to be TheCavalry at all, it was at most in an EnemyMine way, considering [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katyn_massacre the kind of things]] the Russians had done to them only a few years before...
* During the [[UsefulNotes/VietnamWar Battle of Lang Vei]], Col. Lownds of the 26th Marines refused to send reinforcements to support the Green Berets and South Vietnamese militiamen being attacked by North Vietnamese tanks out of fear that his men might be ambushed en route, contributing to the disaster.

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