Western Animation: Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa

aka: Wild West COW Boys Of Moo Mesa
Left to right: The Cowlorado Kid, Marshal Moo Montana, and The Dakota Dude.

For as long as television has been a part of our lives, there have been shows out there (animated and live-action) that are so ridiculous, so bizarre, so full of 31 flavors of batshit insane that most people today would think they're parodies of the type of schlock network executives like to feed to the functionally illiterate masses or are the products of one too many cans of beer, lines of coke (or crushed baby aspirin), hits from a homemade bong, whippets from some empty whipped cream aerosol cans, and/or handfuls and capfuls of perscription and over-the-counter cold and flu medication.

This show was one of them — and, whether you want to believe it or not, it was real.

Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa was a Saturday Morning Cartoon that aired on ABC starting in 1992 created by comic artist Ryan Brown (who inked several dozen issues of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics and designed several figures for the toy lines, which probably explains a few of the themes of the show). The show focused on the exploits of three anthropomorphic bulls who were in fact cowboys (har har).

See, in the 19th century, a random comet crashed into the Southwestern United States causing a massive transformation among not only the land, but the animals as well, turning them into intelligent versions of themselves that decided to create their own city, Moo Mesa. In this city, they basically acted as humans of the Old West did, and as such, there were good guys and bad guys....the former being the trio of C.O.W. Boys (Marshall Moo Montana, The Cowlarado Kid, and Dakota) and the latter being composed of the city's shady politician Mayor Bulloney, and Sheriff Terribull who took on the alias of the Masked Bull, a criminal mastermind.

Tropes:

  • Action Girl: Tejua and Cowlamity Kate, both are females and kick ass. The latter being a capable ranch owner, and the former is still a little girl.
  • The Ace: Moo Montana is seen as this by nearly everyone, and especially Cody.
  • Aerith and Bob: Moo Montana and Lilli Bovine is just one of the many examples of this. Along with Cody, Carly, and Jake then Puma, Saddlesore, and Boothill
  • Alliterative Name: Moo Montana, Dakota Dude, Cody Calf, Boothill Buzzard, Saddle Sore, and Buffalo Bull just to name a few. The only exceptions though are Cowlamity Kate and Colorado Kid, but they still have the same sound.
  • Always Someone Better: Cowlarado Kid was talented with a lasso, but nowhere as good as Cowlamity Kate.
    • Cowlarado Kid's horse Jezebelle was one of the fastest fillies around, but nowhere as fast as Cowline's horse Tornado.
  • Animal Superheroes: Or rather Animal Lawmen.
  • Animation Bump: The animation became a lot smoother in the second season.
  • Anti-Climactic Unmasking: When Shock Holiday was captured and unmasked, the characters witnessing the unmasking were disappointed by the lack of any special features at his face. Then again, it was overshadowed by the previous unmasking of the criminal's impersonator. (Marshall Moo Montana and Sheriff Terribull made a bet over who captures Shock Holiday and agreed the lose would leave Cow Town)
  • Art Evolution: The series is a lot more detailed in the second season.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Many characters had these, but Shock Holiday stands out quite a bit in this area.
  • Back from the Dead/Came Back Wrong: Tom Duggery who is resurrected as Skull Duggery.
  • Badass: Nearly the entire cast in so many ways.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animals: Few of the characters actually wear boots.
  • Bash Brothers: Moo and his deputies who fight crime together, along with Sheriff Terribull and Horibull who are actually brothers and do crime together.
  • Bat out of Hell: Bat Blastagun, a anthropomorphic bat.
  • Berserk Button: Never ever threaten or disrespect Cowlamity Kate when Dakota's around.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Most of the heroes fall under this category, their friendly demeanor lasts so long if anyone is foolish enough to piss them off.
  • Big Bad: The Masked Bull, who's really the corrupt Sherrif Terribull.
  • Bound and Gagged: Given this is a Western, expect this every other episode. Cody, and at least once Cowlorado, end up getting in this situation the most.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Dakota, after being defeated by Skull Duggery and his gang.
  • Brainy Brunette: Tejua, Cowlamity Kate, and Buffalo Bull, all are brunettes and intelligent in their own fields.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Dakota Dude, who's massive strength is big as his heart and love for justice.
  • Canon Immigrant: Buffalo Bull was made up for the arcade game in order to provide a fourth player character, but he became a real character on the show.
  • Can't Catch Up: Cowlarado's horse Jezebelle is fast, but nowhere near as fast as Cowline's horse Tornado.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Cowlorado Kid and Swifty Buckhorn, the former often serenades or flirt with the ladies.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Boothill Buzzard isn't exactly right in the head to say the least. Saddlesore Scorpion also like this, to a lesser degree.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: This is averted when Moo and his deputies were suspicious of Jacque Le Beef when he became extremely popular in Cowtown, especially with the ladies. It turns out they were right since he was a con artist that was using a fake name to hide his true identity and cover up his scam.
  • Cool Big Sis: Bessy for her two brothers Frank and Beans. Also Lilli to Cody to a certain degree.
  • Cool Uncle: J.R. is this to his niece.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: While Mayor Bulloney is mainly a politician, he's also a corrupt businessman.
  • Country Star Composer: The theme song was co-written and sung by 1990s country singer Billy Dean.
  • Courtroom Episode: While no episode had too much, if any, of courtroom time, a good deal of "Bulls of a Feather" was about the good guys keeping the witness safe for Sheriff Terribull's trial and the bad guys trying to either prevent the witness from showing up or make sure the witness' testimony wouldn't be enough to convict Terribull as the Masked Bull.
  • Cowboy: No pun intended.
  • Cross Over: The main heroes appeared as starring roles in the Tales of the TMNT series for a few issues, as well as in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward episode. This pretty much confirms the show being part of the Turtles multi-verse.
    • The Fast Forward episode doesn't feature the actual Moo Mesa-verse but a virtual simulation.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: When Cowlamity Kate is attacked and aged by Skull Duggery's gang, Dakota tries to avenge her, but it really doesn't go as planned.
  • Cute Bruiser: Cowlamity Kate, she maybe pretty but doesn't stop her from kicking ass like the men.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Several characters aside from the main heroes had episodes that focused on them and allowed for some nice Character Development along the way.
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: Subverted when Cowline defeats both Cowlarado and Swifty in the horse race causing them to put aside their differences.
  • Dem Bones: Skull Duggery, once a greedy miner, now resurrected to a skeleton in his debut.
  • Disguised in Drag: Cowlarado Kid does this to try to infiltrate Barbwire Babs' gang. It doesn't go very well.
    • Also Boothill Buzzard tries to pose as the school's female teacher to trick the children into helping him commit crimes.
  • Distressed Damsel: Lilli Bovine, at times in the arcade game where you have to save her.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: When a circus arrived in town, Mayor Bulloney tried to use a mouse to scare an elephant so the resulting distraction would allow Saddlesore and Boothill to steal a diamond.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas:
    • The Cacklin' Kid uses this as a means to gain sympathy from the judge to keep the picture he has of his mother, although the real reason he wants to keep it is because the back of it has a treasure map to his stolen loot.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Moo Montana at least for his first girlfriend Bessy in his hometown, and Lilli for Moo back at Cowtown.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: This is how Jacque Le Beef is able to win over the ladies of Moo Mesa, although it turns out that he's a con artist and his real name is Barney Finklestein who was just using a fake French accent and a disguise to hide his true identity.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Buffalo Tribe were this to Native Americans while the rest of the animals are settlers and townsfolk.
  • Fat Bastard: Mayor Bulloney, his weight is big as his corruption.
  • First Girl Wins: Averted, as Moo chose to stay with Lilli in Cowtown as opposed to staying with his hometown girlfriend Bessy Bluebell.
  • Fragile Speedster: Cowlarado Kid and his horse Jezebelle were the fastest of the main heroes, but they also got into the most trouble.
  • Friend to All Children: Lilli Bovine loves children as if their her own, and the children loves Lilli as if she was their mother.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The C.O.W. in the series title stands for Code Of the West, which is what the heroes live by.
  • Furry Confusion: Justified, as the theme song explains that only "the chosen few" were affected by the comet and turned into anthropomorphic creatures.
    • This explains why anthropomorphic cows are riding non-anthropomorphic horses.
    • Or anthropomorphic cows rustling non-anthropomorphic cows.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Lilli and Sadie's fight in the episode "Thoroughly Moo-dern Lilli" involved them tearing apart each others' skimpy dresses and causes Dakota to put his hand over Cody's eyes when he seemed a little too interested.
  • Genius Bruiser: Moo Montana, Buffalo Bull, and The Masked Bull are intelligent in the battlefield and out.
  • Greed: Tom Duggery. In fact, it was Tom Duggery's greed and selfishness of his silver mine that got him trapped inside and eventually killed during a cave in, which caused him to return to the living world as Skull Duggery.
  • Green Eyes: Sadie Wowcow has these, which probably reference her jealousy of Lilli Bovine.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Sheriff Terribull and Sadie Wowcow towards Moo Montana and Lilli Bovine respectively.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Bessy Bluebell, Moo's old flame is kind as she is beautiful.
  • Insistent Terminology: Cowlorado Kid let his friends call him "Cowlorado", but wanted everyone else to call him "Kid".
  • Its Pronounced Tro Pay: The Gilla Hooligans constantly remind people that "gilla" is pronounced "hee-la" and not "gee-la".
  • Jaw Drop: Lilli Bovine has one when Moo attempts to marry Cowlamity Kate in order to save her father's mine from being taken away.
  • Kid Sidekick: Cody and Tejua at times when the heroes bring them along.
  • Killed Off for Real: Skull Duggery twice. First he died as Tom Duggery, and then after his second appearance he was sent back to the land of the dead never to return again.
  • The Lad-ette: Cowlamity Kate can hold her own like the boys.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Cowlarado Kid plan of attack, is simply to attack.
  • Legally Dead: Seven years after Colonel Cudster put his daughter in charge of his gold mine and left Cowtown to look for more gold, Mayor Bulloney tried to invoke an old law to get the Colonel declared dead and seize the mine.
  • Lethal Chef: Cowlamity Kate, much to the groups' disgust. In one episode, the heroes joked that eating her cooking is punishment enough.
  • Licensed Game: The 1992 arcade game, which introduced the fourth hero Buffalo Bull.
  • A Load of Bull: Obviously, since most of the main cast are anthropomorphic cattle.
  • Made of Iron: Dakota Dude can take punishment as much as he can dish out.
  • Nice Hat: Most of the characters had these from stetson, bowlers, to top hats.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Cacklin' Kid, which makes sense considering he's a hyena.
  • On One Condition: Cowlamity Kate's father, who left Cowtown seven years ago, once wrote a letter that was declared a will naming Cowlamity and her husband as heirs to his gold mine. However, this will won't be valid unless she has a husband by the time her father dies. Mayor Bulloney once tried to have her father declared dead so he could use the lack of a will to claim the mine for the town.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In order to discredit Moo Montana's witness when Sheriff Terribull was taken to the courts for the Masked Bull's crimes, Saddlesore Scorpion and Boothill Buzzard showed up dressed as the Sheriff to see if the witness could tell which one was the real Sheriff Terribull. The witness claimed there were three Sheriff Terribull in the courtroom, thus destroying the prosecution's case.
  • Passing the Torch: When Moo returns to Miller Glen, Sheriff T-Bone attempts to do this with him and says his old student Moo Montana would be perfect take his place as the new sheriff, but Moo respectfully turns the offer down and suggests that he train Bessy's younger brothers Frank and Beans to be the next sheriffs of Miller Glen instead.
  • Plucky Girl: Most of the female cast Tejua, Carly, Cowlamity Kate, and even Lilli Bovine has her moments of this.
  • * Posthumous Character: Tom Duggery, who is resurrected as Skull Duggery.
  • Punny Name: The majority of the characters, especially the villains had these. For instance, there's Bessy's brothers Frank and Beans.
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: Played straight and subverted at the same time with Cowlamity Kate who was much more of an Action Girl than Lilli Bovine, but subverted because Lilli was able to contribute and hold her own pretty well in sticky situations most of the time.
  • Recycled In Space: The show got an Arcade game which was a clone of Sunset Riders which, in turn, was Contra in the Wild West.
  • Riddle for the Ages: So, is Cowlarado wearing clothes that have his same skin pattern or what?
    • Well, if you look at the screenshots he is wearing pants (that are indeed patterned like a cow of his color''s legs would be). You can tell by the shape. No idea on the shirt.
  • Rule of Cool: In the Arcade Game, the Cowboys can swim up a waterfall. A WATERFALL.
  • Rule of Three: Moo Montana and his deputies, Sheriff Terribull and his deputies, Bat Blastagun and his cronies, Skull Duggery and his cronies, and so on.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Moo and his deputies do this when they catch Billy the Kidder and also when they defeat Bovini.
  • Tagalong Kid: Cody and his friends, Carly and Jacob, and Tejua the buffalo calf whether the heroes bring want to or not.
  • Team Mom: Lilli Bovine, and even possibly adopted mother for Cody.
  • Terrible Trio: Most of the main villains traveled in teams of three.
  • Theme Naming: The cowboys are all named after states.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Terribull's bumbling henchmen, Boothill Buzzard and Saddlesore Scorpion are rarely seen apart.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Boothill Buzzard is literally so dumb that he is actually immune to the hypnotic effects of Bovini's magic crystal.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: The lawcows horses fall under this. Moo and Dakota had their stallions Cyclone and Rebel, and Cowlarado had his mare Jezebelle.
    • Also Cody, and his friends Carly and Jacob.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Moo and his deputies are forced to engage in combat with a band of female bandits in the episode "No Way To Treat A Lady".

Alternative Title(s):

Wild West Cowboys Of Moo Mesa