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Film / Carry On Cowboy

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"I know it's the Wild West, but this is ridiculous!"
Marshall P Knutt

Carry On Cowboy is the eleventh movie in the Carry On film series starring Sid James, Joan Sims, Kenneth Williams, Jim Dale and Charles Hawtrey, as well as Peter Butterworth, Bernard Bresslaw and Angela Douglas, appearing in this 1965 flick.

It is based on the fictional depictions of The Wild West, featuring Cowboys and Indians and several Showdown at High Noon moments, starring the Rumpo Kid (James), who arrives at a lonely town, and murders the locals and The Sheriff, and takes over the saloon, previously owned by Belle (Sims), now the Local Hangout for many villains.

Then an Englishman named Marshall (Dale), a sanitation engineer and expert in sewage system design who is mistaken for a marshal, arrives in the town, scaring Rumpo into trying to assassinate him, including sending Chief Big Heap (Hawtrey) and Little Heap's (Bresslaw) Native American tribe to attack the town. With the help of Annie Oakley (Douglas), the Mayor (Williams) and Doc (Butterworth), there could be a chance that the Marshall "the marshal" will get away from the Rumpo Kid alive.


Hilarity Ensues.

Tropes Included:

  • Accidental Aiming Skills: Sort of invoked with Marshall. When ambushed by Native Americans, Marshall struggles to fire a double-barrel, but bullets seem to be hitting the warriors. It turns out that Annie Oakley is the one firing bullets inside the carriage with pistols that she stored in one of her suitcases.
  • Anachronism Stew
    • Marshal's only on business in the USA because he is waiting to discuss the sewage system business in the country, but there weren't any sewage systems in the Wild West, or manhole covers, which he uses in order to talk to Rumpo.
    • Washington D.C. looks like it's in the current (the 1960s) era.
    • "America the Beautiful" is briefly played on the soundtrack, which was published years after the era.
  • Badass Moustache: Earp's moustache. That's the only thing that's badass about him.
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  • The Bartender: Charlie, who eventually becomes one of the Rumpo Kid's henchman. Then he's shot dead three times by accident through Annie Oakley's Rumpo trap.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: When Rumpo overhears Belle talking about Annie Oakley's constant questioning over Earp's death, he immediately marches towards her room, snapping that he hates when "women ask awkward questions", and claims that he'll "have her out on her fat" bottom. But the moment he walks in, his mind immediately changes when he discovers that this Annie Oakley is young and attractive (and naked in her bubble bath).
  • Berserk Button: Marshal accidentally shoots Big Heap's bottle of whiskey, the chief makes his tribe retreat from the battle in anger.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Annie Oakley carries this around on her sleeve.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Little Heap (the very large Bernard Bresslaw) and Big Heap (the very slight Charles Hawtrey).
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Belle's introduction is shooting Rumpo's glass of whiskey to pieces as he puts it to his lips.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Sheriff Albert Earp — although he is not really much better with them on.
  • Braids, Beads and Buckskins: Big Heap's tribe.
  • Brownface: Charles Hawtrey as Chief Big Heap, and Bernard Bresslaw as Little Heap.
  • The Cameo: Jon Pertwee as the soon-murdered Sheriff.
  • Cat Fight: Upon waiting for the Rumpo Kid to storm in the bedroom, Marshall is surprisingly visited by a flirtatious Belle, a distressed Annie and a prostitute that's sent as a distraction by Rumpo. One by one, they hide as the door knocks in fear of the visitor being an angry Rumpo, but they immediately discover another woman in their place, giving them the impression that the other is trying to court Marshall, and sets them off into a three-way catfight.
  • Character Title: When the movie was released in Germany, it was retitled The Rumpo Kid.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Belle, who becomes rather suspicious when she eavesdrops on Rumpo's conversation with Annie, after he'd threatened to have her thrown out.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: If you look closely, Burke has suspenders hanging over his shoulders on the outside of his waistcoat in one scene, but they're not clipped onto his trousers. You're surprised to find that this trope doesn't happen in the movie.
  • Cowboy: Well, of course.
  • Cowboy Episode: The usual Carry On hijinks in The Wild West.
  • Cowboys and Indians: This was attempted to be invoked by Rumpo when the new marshal's coach was arriving into town but fails when Annie's shooting (and Marshal's clumsy attempts) scare the tribe away.
  • Daddy's Girl: Annie Oakley. The moment she hears of his death (suspecting it to be murder), she boards the next coach to the town he was working at to avenge his death.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Judge Burke picks up the dying Earp at the bottom of the stairs. It isn't as tear-jerking as one expects because the dying Earp can't hear a word of Judge Burke without his hearing aid.
  • Dope Slap:
    • Annie tries to do this across Belle's face but hits Marshal instead.
    • Belle does this across Rumpo's face when he cannot read the signs that she is jealous of his sudden attention to Annie.
  • Ethical Slut: Annie flaunts herself at Rumpo after meeting him in order to learn about her father's death. This makes Rumpo admit that he shot him.
  • Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": We only hear of Rumpo's real name when Charlie the bartender introduces him to the Native American tribe, but for the rest of the movie, Rumpo is never referred to as Johnny Finger.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Rumpo has the hots for Belle, and then Annie Oakley.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: When the Commissioner is told that the Mayor of Stodge City is needing a peace marshal in the town, he points out that he remembers Burke from when they both met up in law school.
    President advisor Perkins: I never knew you went to law school.
    US Commissioner: [uncomfortably] I didn't. I was the janitor.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: Belle admires Ringo's guns:
    Belle: My, but you got a big one!
    Ringo: I'm from Texas, ma'am. We all got big ones down there.
  • Genre Blindness: Despite the tales of Rumpo's behaviour, when Marshal meets him in person, he believes Rumpo's nice-guy facade and doesn't become suspicious.
  • Grand Staircase Entrance
    • Belle, with a Smoking Gun in her hand.
    • Annie Oakley when she's performing a musical number.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Even after finding out that Rumpo killed her father (even though she tried to kill him, and failed), she still treats him like everyone else.
  • Handicapped Badass: Sheriff Earp, who is both visually-impaired and deaf. Even though he is killed minutes after appearing on screen, it's implied that both he (and perhaps Judge Burke) single-handedly began gun control, and lowered crime rates.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Annie Oakley's musical number.
    • Rumpo supposedly carries around a painting of his aunt Fanny naked (although he might've just called the painting a part of his family heirlooms to distract Burke during his ranting).
  • Historical Domain Character: Annie Oakley and her father Sheriff Earp, although these could be In Name Only.
  • "Home Alone" Antics: Annie Oakley's trap to kill Rumpo is definitely this. She ties about three guns to the doorknob and handle of a nearby wardrobe and waits behind her bed with two pistols. It fails and shoots Charlie the bartender instead.
    Annie Oakley: (rushing out of the room to check that Charlie is still alive) Oh, I'm terribly sorry! I... I thought you were someone else.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Marshal, pretending to be a peace marshal, is supposed to be hunting Rumpo and his gang, but his lack of fighting skills makes him an easy target for Rumpo to hunt him out and hopefully get rid of him for good.
  • Impact Silhouette: On a failed bomb plot to rescue his father, Little Heap is blown up too. The only thing left behind is the shape of his body in the ceiling.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Funnily enough, the movie doesn't refrain from a couple of these, and the trope appears more in this movie than most of the other Carry On films.
  • Ironic Name: The 6'7 Little Heap, and his smaller father Big Heap.
  • The Key Is Behind the Lock: Catching Rumpo and his gang trying to kidnap Big Heap, Marshal marches into the prison cell and interrogates them. When he's done, he orders them to get into the prison cell — not realizing that that's outside. They do, and lock him in.
  • LadyKiller: The United States County Commissioner, who is seen making out with his secretary when his adviser walks in.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Little Heap is Ax-Crazy towards the white men whereas his father welcomes them with open arms.
  • Lovable Coward: Doc and Burke.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Annie Oakley to Marshal Knutt.
  • Miss Kitty: Belle.
  • Mistaken for Badass: Knutt's first name is Marshal, which leads him to be mistaken for an actual US Marshal who might be able to help defend the town against the Rumpo Kid.
  • Mummy's Boy: Marshal is seen kissing a photo of his mother before he goes to bed. It is standing on his bedside table.
  • Naked First Impression: Rumpo walks in on Annie having her bath and immediately falls for her.
  • Nice Girl: Annie Oakley is a nice girl, despite wanting to avenge her father's death.
  • Nice Guy: Marshal, for definite. Even though he's suspicious of Rumpo and his gang, he is still polite.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Seems to be a common theme with Judge Burke.
      • If he hadn't laughed in the Rumpo's face about a peace marshal being sent to the town from Washington, Rumpo wouldn't be expecting one to turn up, thus creating a plan to try and stop them.
      • If his greediness hadn't got the better of him (even though it was only over 25 cents, and he's probably a poorly paid mayor/judge), Rumpo would've stayed out of Stodge City and would've never found out that he was chased out of the town by an English trash expert.
    • Marshal's naivety often allows Rumpo to outwit him.
  • Noble Savage: Sent up. Chief Big Heap is not only cleverer than most of the settlers (he clears out a saloon by yelling about a gold strike, and everyone charges out despite not knowing where they're going), but speaks using a posh British accent.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Annie uses this trope to worm her way into finding out who killed her father. (It also plays into the fact that she is female and blonde.) She pretends that Marshal is the killer of three Native Americans who were trying to attack their carriage because "you wouldn't expect a poor defenceless thing like me to do something like that." Naturally, everyone is amazed when she shoots Marshal out of his prison cell.
  • Peace Pipe: Big Heap offers one to Rumpo and Charlie, and the two of them share it. Rumpo nearly chokes on it and Big Heap refuses his turn, claiming that he's trying to stop smoking.
  • Period Piece
  • Perma-Stubble: Most of Rumpo's gang have light five o'clock shadows.
    • Curly's is narrowly close to light beard.
    • Rumpo's isn't as noticeable, but he mentions that he'd shave more often in order to have Annie Oakley as his lover, implying that he probably does have this in many appearances.
  • Punny Name:
  • Pyjama-Clad Hero: Marshal briefly, when the villains blow up the jail entrance and lock him inside.
  • Rule of Three: A drunken man is thrown out of the bar three times. The third time is by Belle.
  • The Rustler: Rumpo's gang spend most of the night sneaking out to fields and stealing bulls from sleeping farmers.
  • The Savage Indian: Little Heap is obsessed with scalping enemies' heads.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Marshal calls for the town to rally together to get Rumpo's gang out. The crowd has disappeared before he finished his first sentence.
  • Sexy Secretary: Miss Jones, the US Commissioner's secretary, who is also a seemingly-Dumb Blonde with a lisp.
  • The Sheriff: Sherrif Earp, a useless one, in fact.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Annie rescues Marshal out of the prison cell like this.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The finale is a showdown at High Noon, but with a twist.
    • The city's name is Stodge, similar to the one named Dodge from the 1939 film Dodge City, as well as Winchester '73.
    • The previous Marshal in Stodge City was named Dillon, apparently.
      US Commissioner: Send him a Marshal. Anything for peace.
      Perkins: That's just the trouble, sir. We haven't any available.
      US Commissioner: Nobody? What about that big head who's always hanging around here looking for work? What's his name? Dillon. What's he doing?
      Perkins: Six months.
  • Showdown at High Noon: How Rumpo chooses to run Marshal out of town. Lampshaded as a cliché by Marshal and Burke.
    Marshal P. Knutt: High Noon? Why High Noon?
    Mayor Judge Burke: I know! I told them that it was unoriginal too!
  • Skewed Priorities: Judge Burke is kidnapped by the Rumpo Kid's gang and ridden on horseback to their lair, but is much more annoyed that they ordered him out of his bed and didn't allow him to change into something comfortable.
    Judge Burke: [after being asked how he was] You obviously have never been ordered out of your bed at gunpoint and not being allowed to put your SLIPPERS ON!! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW PAINFUL IT IS TO RIDE A HORSE BAREFOOT?! IT HURTS!!!
  • Smug Snake: One of the coach drivers to Marshal and Annie's coach comes across as this towards Marshal — either because he's English or because he doesn't seem "manly". When Marshal assumes that the Native Americans aren't a threat to anyone, followed by an arrow stabbing the quiet driver, the smug one gives him an "I told you so" look.
  • Surprisingly Good English: Big Heap has lived with his Native American tribe for all his life, yet speaks perfect English when he meets cowboys. His son is the complete opposite.
  • The Trope Kid: The Rumpo Kid.
  • Those Two Guys: Big Heap and Little Heap.
  • Undertaker: There's an undertaker in Stodge who was probably the only person (spare a few bored townsmen) in the town that supported Rumpo's invasion, ultimately destroying the gun control laws.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Belle keeps a derringer in her cleavage.
  • Villain Protagonist: Rumpo, although, it's common with many villainous Sid James characters.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: The Rumpo Kid is on a wanted poster on the door of the sheriff's office. Not once does any character look at it to check who's the true villain.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Big Heap is broken out of prison by the Rumpo Kid's gang but they are caught and banished to the woods by Marshall. Implied to have spent at least a week in a drunken coma with the group, he is eventually released by Rumpo and disappears out of the movie. That's fine, but has anyone told him that his son was killed in a failed bomb plot?
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Just where the hell is Stodge City? The movie doesn't state what US state the city is located. It appears to be near an area where Native American tribes live in peace. They manage to get information from Washington DC very quickly, which might mean that Stodge City is located in New England (most likely before the states were materialized). But if Rumpo rode from Texas to any of these states, it probably wouldn't have taken him ten days. note 
  • Whole Plot Reference: The plot of the movie seems to have similar connections to Destry Rides Again. Both stories have a character that has been promoted as a no-nonsense badass that would intimidate even the most terrifying person in the world, but then arrive as the complete opposite and are mocked by the biggest crime-bosses as wimps that don't believe in violence. The rest of the movie follows them trying to be taken seriously, as well as a smug rival who uses their presence as a distraction to commit crimes on the outskirts of the small town.
  • You No Take Candle: How Little Heap speaks English. His father speaks perfect English, but sometimes relapses back into this trope when he's drunk.


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