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Cowboy Episode
An Out-of-Genre Experience when a series other than The Western picks up a six-shooter, dons a Stetson and rides off into the sunset. In other words, a non-Western temporarily becomes a Western (or at least a pastiche thereof).

This can be done through Time Travel, virtual reality, a Dream Sequence or, for works set in the right period but wrong location, a trip out West. The effect can also be achieved with a Fantasy Counterpart Culture.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Cowboy Bebop had one; while the main character is a "cowboy" (i.e., a bounty hunter), one episode had Spike face off against a cowboy cowboy, complete with hat, revolver, horse, lasso and everything.
  • Pokemon has one during the Orange Islands season. Ash, Misty, and Tracey meet a cowboy named Ethan who has a Jolteon he uses like a cattle dog to keep track of his 'herd' of Magnemites. Team Rocket tries to steal them of course, so they can harness their electricity and give it to the Boss.
  • Done in the Tenchi Muyo! TV series, Tenchi Universe. After Tenchi's been kidnapped by the bounty hunter bent on defeating Ryoko, the two agree to meet at a location suspiciously similar to a small western town, complete with tumbleweed, saloons, and an eerie sunset. Whether Tenchi's status as the male version of the Bound and Gagged Damsel in Distress is Played for Drama or Played for Laughs generally depends on the viewer's opinion.
    • Washu actually created the western town specifically for the duel to invoke the trope. She seemed pretty proud of it.
    • Speaking of Tenchi Muyo: Its spinoff Magical Project S has one episode featuring a Wild West theme park in competition with a ninja theme park. It ends with them joining forces to build a deliberately anachronistic cowboy ninja theme park. "The kids will love it!"
  • This trope frequently appears in the works of Leiji Matsumoto, with characters visiting a planet patterned after the old west (which may be named "Gun Frontier"). Appropriately enough, the series Gun Frontier was a Cowboy Spinoff genre shift for Captain Harlock, featuring the wacky Western misadventures of the space pirate's Identical Ancestor.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds had the Crashtown arc, where Yusei goes to Crashtown, where it resembles the old west and the duelists there tend to use cards that emulate the old west.

Comic Books

Eastern Animation
  • Dziwne Przygody Koziolka Matolka: The episode "Czarny Bill" ("Black Bill") has the protagonist finding himself in a typical Wild West town menaced by a typical bandit. It's unusual, since the series is set in modern day, but then again Anachronism Stew is heavily present in the original books as well.

Fan Fic

Film

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • An episode of The Adventures of Superman takes place at what is explicitly a recreation of an old west town, but Lois and Jimmy act as if they think the danger from the black-hatted baddie is real.
  • The Aquabats! Super Show! has "Cowboy Android!".
  • Batman: The two-part "Come Back, Shame"/"It's How You Play The Game" featuring Western-themed bad guy Shame.
  • The Brady Bunch had a dude ranch episode.
  • Charmed episode The Good, The Bad and The Cursed sees Prue and Cole time traveling back to the Wild West in an attempt to break a time loop, whilst Piper and Leo investigate the same town in the present - where it has been abandoned due to all the residents being trapped in the loop.
  • The second paintball episode of Community starts off with a very western feel.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show: Rob gets knocked out for a dental procedure while worried about a sketch Alan Brady wants for the show. He dreams he's a wild west sheriff and Alan is "Big Bad Brady," a local outlaw who calls him out for a Showdown At High Noon. After he wakes up he realizes it's perfect for the sketch, and asks his dentist to put him out for Just Five More Minutes so he can remember what he dreamt.
  • Done surprisingly rarely in Doctor Who: just twice in fifty years. The First Doctor visited in 1966's "The Gunfighters", and the Eleventh in 2012's "A Town Called Mercy".
  • On Family Matters, Carl dreams he's a sheriff in the Old West who has killed the father of the town's most annoying gunslinger, "Two-Gun" Urkel.
  • Gilligan's Island had an episode ("The Sweepstakes") where Mr. Howell dreamt he was prospector in the old west.
  • The Goodies: "Bunfight at the OK Tearooms"
  • Happy Days had a dude ranch episode.
  • MacGyver: Has two Wild West dream episodes, "MacGyver's Women", when MacGyver dreams that he's in the Wild West and has to defend three women from outlaws , and "Serenity".
  • Matlock had an episode called "The Nightmare", in which the show's title character gets knocked out and finds himself in a Wild West setting.
  • Midsomer Murders: "Blood on the Saddle" featured Wild West recreationists; at least one of whom took the hobby way too seriously.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers had the episode "Wild West Rangers" where Kimberly is sent back to 1880 during Angel Grove's Wild West era.
  • MI High: In "Dark Star", an old enemy of Frank's breaks out of prison and comes gunning for him. Colt Winchester (really Colin from Winchester) and his men have adopted cowboy outfits and affectations and the whole thing plays out like High Noon.
  • Modern Family's third season opener was a dude ranch episode.
  • Murdoch Mysteries had episode "Mild Mild West" in which Buffalo Bill Cody comes to Toronto with his road show. A stunt goes wrong, and it's concluded it was a murder.
  • My Favorite Martian used Time Travel in the two-part "Go West, Young Martian".
  • The Prisoner episode "Living in Harmony" takes place in a Wild West setting. Number Six is a sheriff who turns in his badge and gun and tries to leave town.
  • An episode of Psych had Shawn and Gus investigating a murder in an old-west theme park. They, of course, dress up in cowboy clothes and start playing Sheriff...the whole episode them because an exploration of various old-west tropes, even a By Wall That Is Holey example.
  • In Quantum Leap Sam leaps into a man just about to have a Showdown at High Noon - but it turns out it's just an old man in a Wild West recreation. But then his old partner shows up demanding a real showdown, claiming the man Sam leaped into has stolen his life story for the sake of a few dollars.
  • Red Dwarf: The episode "Gunmen of the Apocalypse" involves the characters entering a virtual Western town that serves as a metaphor for Kryten's struggles with computer virus. The episode even ends with Starbug flying off into the sunset.note 
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyles The Lost World: When Roxton happens upon a hangman's noose dangling from a lonely tree in the jungle in "Dead Man's Hill", he's suddenly transported back to the American West where he finds himself at the end of the rope.
  • Star Trek has several:
  • Supernatural episode “Frontierland”. Sam and Dean go back in time to Old West Wyoming, get a magical gun from Samuel Colt, have a High Noon moment with a phoenix, and return to the present still dressed in cowboy paraphernalia (which Dean very likely kept, as he has “a fetish” for western wear).
  • Unhappily Ever After did a Western episode that lampshaded the fact that this type of episode often takes place entirely in one saloon: "This was a one-set town."
  • Wayne and Shuster: "A Fistful of Fingers" which was a send-up of Spaghetti Westerns.
  • The Castle episode "Once Upon a Time in the West" features the duo solving a poisoning at an Arizona dude ranch resort, while pretending to be honeymooners there. As expected, it features a wide array of western-themed tropes, including the reason for the murder.

Newspaper Comics

Web Original
  • Journey Through The Multiverse had Linkara's World as a Cowboy Episode. The setting even echoes that of a wild western setting, though without the Humongous Mecha that the villains for the episode were given. Not to mention that Linkara's hometown is based off another town from a Cowboy Episode mentioned here.

Western Animation
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: In the episode, "The Magnificent Sonic", Sonic becomes the Sheriff of Tranquil Gulch after defeating Six-Gun Pete, one of Dr. Robotnik's robots.
  • The Angry Beavers: "The Legend of Kid Friendly."
  • Animaniacs: Chicken Boo gets one in "The Good, the Boo and the Ugly".
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: "Zuko Alone" has a very western feel, with the classic plot of a mysterious stranger helping a town in need.
  • The Batman: The Animated Series episode "Showdown" is a Whole Episode Flashback showing Jonah Hex battling Ra's Al Ghul in the Old West.
  • Beetlejuice had "Pest Of The West," with Beetlejuice taking Lydia (who looked very cute in her goth western garb) to a Neitherworld Wild West town and dealing with outlaw Bully The Crud.
  • The Brady Kids had two: "Long Gone Silver" (guest-starring The Lone Ranger) and "Give Me a Home Where the Panda Bears Roam and the Dog and the Mynah Bird Play".
  • Camp Lakebottom: In "High Plains Garbage Eater", it's Western Week at camp and the gang finds themselves in the middle of a good ol' fashioned showdown with mutant raccoons, over garbage!
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, one episode is set on a school bus as homework bandits invade and rob the kids on board at (pop)gunpoint. The main characters are on this bus and have to stop the bandits before the bus reaches the school.
    • "Operation: M.E.S.S.A.G.E." is packed full of Western tropes with Numbuh 2's attempt to deliver fourth grade president's message being played like a Pony Express Rider crossing hostile territory.
    • "Operation: N.U.G.G.E.T. involves Numbuh 4 finding a gold mine of chicken nuggets, and a western town is set up near it. The Delightful Children From Down the Lane claim it for themselves, leading Numbuh 4 to have a showdown with them.
  • Dan Vs. Wild West Town
  • The Duck Dodgers episode "Wrath of Canasta" is set in a Wild West theme park called Vacationworld, and is basically an excuse to reuse the costumes and concepts from the Looney Tunes shorts Dripalong Daffy and My Little Duckaroo.
  • Timmy Turner in The Fairly OddParents tries to save a Western ghost town from destruction by going back in time to its hey-day in search of its deed. Along the way, he encounters his friends' Western ancestors, assumes the role of a Lone Ranger Expy and battles a gunslinger ancestor of Vicky...in an intense match of Rock-Paper-Scissors!
  • Futurama: The episode "Where the Buggalo Roam" is a Western parody set on Mars, including Martians who closely resemble American Indians.
  • Quite a number of Garfield and Friends shorts had Jon, Garfield and Odie visit the local dude ranch Polecat Flats, run by their cowboy friend Cactus Jake.
  • The High Fructose Adventure of Annoying Orange: "Spaghetti West" has the fruits travelling to a Western town where Orange becomes sheriff and takes on an Outlaw ball of spaghetti.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures has an episode about identical relatives of the main cast living in the Old West.
  • The original series of The Jetsons (From 1962) had an episode titled "Dude Planet".
  • Justice League Unlimited has "The Once and Future Thing, Part 1: Weird Western Tales", in which Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern pursue time-traveling villain Chronos to the old West, where they encounter as many characters from classic DC Old West comics as they can cram into a half-hour episode, as well as a retooled version of Superman villain Terra-Man. Includes a specific Shout-Out to the comics when Jonah Hex recognizes the heroes as being from another time, referencing the character's brief stint as a time-displaced Mad Max Expy in the 1980s.
  • Legion of Super Heroes episode "Unnatural Alliances".
  • Hanna-Barbera's The Little Rascals episode "Showdown at the Rascal Corral" wasn't set in the Old West as such, but Alfalfa did play cowboy.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic features the episode "Over a Barrel", in which the cast come to Appleloosa to deliver a tree, and end up resolving a conflict between the resident ponies and the buffalo tribe.
    • "The Last Roundup" from Season 2 also features a decidedly Old West setting.
  • Phineas and Ferb don't go to the Old West, but they go cowboy in at least two episodes:
    • "The Magnificent Few" had them driving cattle through Danville, including along the highway and through the mall.
    • "Robot Rodeo" had them running a rodeo with robotic cattle in the backyard.
  • The Powerpuff Girls has an episode that is basically a normal episode of the show, but in the Old West. The girls become the Steamypuff Girls.
  • Both Rugrats and its spin-off, All Grown Up! have at least one episode covering this theme. In Rugrats, it happens at least 3 times. Tommy and Angelica go to the "Graham Canyon" with their parents, Tommy, Chuckie, and Susie imagine themselves as cowboys and a cowgirl on a very hot day, and Tommy and Chuckie have a run-in with the "Junk Food Kid", who's a worse playground bully than Angelica. The spin-off has the entire group go to a Dude Ranch.
  • Episode XXIX of Samurai Jack is set on a train, where Jack is pursued by a (married) couple of bounty hunters.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated had "Dead Justice", where the ghost of Crystal Cove's first sheriff returns to town to oust Sheriff Stone from the job. It turns out to be one of Stone's deputies in a Dead Justice costume.
  • The Simpsons has had a few, like "Dude, Where's My Ranch?"
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Pest of the West".
  • Squirrel Boy: "Gumfight at the S'Okay Corral"
  • The Super Mario Bros. Super Show had a few such episodes; 'Butch Mario and the Luigi Kid', 'the Great Gold Coin Rush', 'The Provalone Ranger' for example...
  • Time Squad The guys go on a mission to help out the notorious Billy the Kid, who is literally acting like a baby and needs to get straightened out and become a real outlaw. To do this, Tuddrussel makes Larry and Otto and Billy start their own gang and begin robbing trains and banks. This part is successful, as the sheriff, or The Man With No Name of A Fistful of Dollars fame comes after them and this leads to a chase that runs all over the Western states.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: The episode, "High Toon" involves Buster, Babs, Plucky, and Hamton visiting Prairie Junction and defending it from a gang of coyote outlaws.

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