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, some form of historic re-enactment, a Dream Sequence or, for works set in the right period but wrong location, a trip out West. This can ne motivated by, or turn into, a Quest to the West. The effect can also be achieved with a Fantasy Counterpart Culture.


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     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.
  • Pokémon 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! 5D's 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.
  • The original Toei Getter Robo Anime had one in episode 21, featuring Texas Mack's debut (and, until later spinoffs, only) appearance. Texas Mack being a giant robot with Cowboy apparell, including gun, lasso and a cowboy hat (which is its own hoverjet piloted by the Texas Mack's pilot's sister).
  • Banaro Island in One Piece has a cowboy theme, with Wild West architecture and period clothing. Appropriately enough, this was the site of the duel between Ace and Blackbeard. The entire Skypeia saga could count as an extended Cowboy Episode too, as Shandians resemble Native Americans and part of the issues surrounding the region is their takeover and subjugation by the Caucasian-looking Skypeians and Bilkans.

     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  


  • Back to the Future Part III is mostly set in the Old West, and while dealing with the characters' various attempts to get back to the future plays with many of the genre's stock characters and situations.
  • The Three Stooges has a number of Cowboy Episodes, including Goofs And Saddles, The Three Troubledoers, Out West, Punchy Cowpunchers, and Shot in the Frontier.


     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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • CSI: In "The Good, the Bad and the Dominatrix", Lady Heather is dressed as a saloon girl when she is assaulted by a client dressed as a cowboy and left for dead on the grounds of a Wild West theme park.
  • 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.
  • Farscape has "Home On The Remains" (in which the crew find themselves on a mining colony with lots of Western stereotypes, including prospectors, an eye-shielded gambler, and a Corrupt Hick in charge), and "Different Destinations" (which is an SF version of Westerns with a small group of cavalry besieged by Indians in a fort, complete with a group of nuns to protect).
  • Gilligan's Island had an episode ("The Sweepstakes") where Mr. Howell dreamt he was prospector in the old west.
  • Girl Meets World had the 3 part "Girl Meets Texas" where the gang head back to Lucas' home town for him to compete in a bull riding competition. It was pretty much a dude ranch episode.
  • Good Eats featured this in the episode about chili
  • The Goodies: "Bunfight at the OK Tearooms"
  • Happy Days had a dude ranch episode.
  • I Dream of Jeannie: In "Fastest Gun in the East", Jeannie blinks Major Nelson back to the old west.
  • Legends of Tomorrow: Season 1 had "The Magnificent Eight", and Season 2 had a Sequel Episode, "Outlaw Country". Both involve the Legends travelling to the Old West and teaming up with classic DC Western character Jonah Hex.
  • MacGyver (1985): 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".
  • Man from Atlantis: In "Shoot-Out at Land's End", Mark is mysteriously drawn to a location and finds himself in the Old West.
  • 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 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.
  • Mission: Impossible: In "Gunslinger", the IMF go undercover in an old west tourist attraction run by a villain with a cowboy fixation. Includes a gunfight between Jim Phelps and both the Big Bad and The Dragon.
  • Modern Family's third season opener was a dude ranch episode.
  • The Muppet Show: In the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans episode, the entire show takes on a Wild West motif, including a huge herd of cows backstage.
  • 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 an apparent Elseworld Wild West setting. Number Six is a sheriff who turns in his badge and gun and tries to leave town. It turns out to be a Virtual Reality Interrogation created in-universe with a stage set and hallucinogenic drugs.
  • 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 
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: "The Wild Wild Witch."
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 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.

  • Civil War's song "Tombstone" tells the story of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral from Doc Holliday's perspective. Civil War usually sings about military history (they were formed by four former members of Sabaton).
  • "Paul Revere" from the Beastie Boys' debut album Licensed to Ill, which provides the extremely 80s-Brooklynite Beasties with an inexplicably Wild West-themed Origin Story involving horses, shotguns and running from the sheriff. As a matter of interest, the Beasties would later record a full-length country album, Country Mike's Greatest Hits, as a Christmas present for friends and family.

     Newspaper Comics  

     Video Games  

  • While the Fallout series is normally based in a post-apocalyptic version of a 1950s Zeerust Retro Universe, Fallout: New Vegas combines that style with old Westerns. Six-shooters and lever-action repeating rifles are far more prolific than in other games, one will find Sunset Sarsaparilla soft drinks in addition to the ubiquitous Nuka-Cola, the various towns and characters in the Mojave Wasteland bear plenty of Western tropes, the "Honest Hearts" expansion is set in the popular Western shooting location of Zion National Park, the "Dead Money" expansion is inspired by the film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and the eastward expansion of the New California Republic is heavily inspired by America's own westward expansion.

     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  

  • In the 3-2-1 Penguins! episode, "Git Along Little Doggies!", the Rockhopper crew visits Planet Roo-Tin Too-Tin to help get Wild Bill Quasar's cows back.
  • 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.
  • Alfred J. Kwak: There's an episode that consists entirely of Alfred dreaming that he is a sheriff in the Wild West (and because this is a kid's show, the saloon only has Frothy Mugs of Water) and has to take down several dangerous gunmen including Krabnagel and Dolf.
  • American Dad!: "West to Mexico."
  • The Angry Beavers: "The Legend of Kid Friendly."
  • Animaniacs: Chicken Boo gets one in "The Good, the Boo and the Ugly".
  • Atomic Betty has the episode "Rodeo Robots".
  • 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 Backyardigans had two cowboy episodes: "Polka Palace Party" and "Riding the Range".
  • 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!
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • "Operation: R.O.B.B.E.R.S." 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.
  • The DuckTales episode Ducks of the West. Scrooge's oil wells go dry, and he heads out to Texas with Huey, Dewey and Louie in tow.
  • 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 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.
  • At least seven episodes of Garfield and Friends had Jon and his pets visit a dude ranch called "Polecat Flats" ("polecat" basically meaning "skunk"), which happens to be run a by cowboy-friend of theirs who goes by "Cactus Jake," and who's revealed to have three sons named Cactus Joe, Jimmy and Josh and a daughter named Cactus Jackie.
  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi episode "Showdown".
  • 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".
  • Johnny Test episode "Johnny the Kid".
  • 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.
  • Kaeloo: "Let's Play Cowboys and Indians" and Episode 88.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes episode "Unnatural Alliances".
  • The Little Rascals episode "Showdown at the Rascal Corral" wasn't set in the Old West as such, but Alfalfa did play cowboy.
  • Milo Murphy's Law had "Wilder West," where the cast went to a dude ranch. The plot focuses on Zack getting a Girl of the Week who's a descendant of Calamity Jane, and acting unusually reckless to impress her. Also In-Universe, as Sara spends the episode obsessing over the fact that said ranch was apparently the set of a Cowboy Episode of Doctor Zone.
  • 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.
  • Rocko's Modern Life has the episode, "The Good, The Bad, and the Wallaby", where Rocko visits his Uncle Gib's cattle ranch. Heffer tags along, and gets sold to market with the rest of the herd, leaving Rocko and his childhood horse, Jezebel (who's been dead for six years) to save him.
  • Both Rugrats and its spin-off, All Grown Up! have at least one episode covering this theme. In Rugrats, it happens at least three 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, 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.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo?: the episode "Go West, Young Scoob" had the gang visit an animatronic Wild West theme park called Cyber Gulch, and investigate why the robots have turned evil.

Alternative Title(s): Wild West Episode