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Film / The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap

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"Montana in the days when men were men... with two exceptions"
Opening title card

A 1947 comedy Western movie starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello and Marjorie Main.

It opens with traveling salesmen Duke (Abbott) and Chester (Costello) arriving in the distinctly dangerous town of Wagon Gap, Montana. Chester is mistaken for the murderer of a local man and is slated to be hanged, until someone remembers a local law that lets him off the hook... provided he agrees to look after the dead man's widow and her children. Duke and Chester end up with the widow (Main) and her gang of ungrateful and troublesome kids, with the man-hungry widow trying to land Chester as her next husband.

Chester finally puts his situation to good use by becoming the new sheriff, threatening everyone he meets into compliance by displaying a picture of the widow. However, when local outlaws learn about a railroad that's about to buy the widow's property, Chester's defense almost becomes his death warrant!

This movie contains examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: The widow, Mrs. Hawkins, is this to Chester. (Luckily he got off the hook.)
  • Accidental Aiming Skills: Chester fires upwards and a man falls off the roof. The man was revealed to be holding a pistol, technically making it a duel.
  • Accidental Truth: Duke makes up a lie that the railroad is interested in buying Hawkins' land, which causes every outlaw to try and murder Chester. It's then revealed the railroad really was trying to buy her land.
  • Alliterative Title
  • Censorship by Spelling: While under the watchful eye of Wolf, Chester tries to get around him attacking them when they say "Getaway" by spelling it out. Unfortunately for him, the dog can spell.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: The first issue of the Abbott and Costello comic book, published in February 1948 by St. John Publishing, was an adaption of this film. Out of the forty issues published between 1948 and 1956, this was the only one that was based on one of their films
  • Crossdresser: Chester disguises himself as a woman near the climax of the film.
  • The Dreaded: Everyone in town is scared of the widow, and won't lay a hand on Chester for fear of taking his place and incurring her wrath. This changes once she inherits a fortune.
  • Edible Ammunition: The frog in Chester soup (It make sense in context) kept spitting it in his face like a water gun.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Due to a law whereby the survivor of a gun duel must take responsibility for the deceased's debts and family (Which got Chester Wooley in trouble in the first place). He quickly realize he is untouchable as NO one wants to suffer taking care of Mrs Hawkins and her kids. At least not at first...
  • Fat and Skinny: The stars are Abbott and Costello, of course this trope applies.
  • Karma Houdini: Judge Benbow (arguably) as he aided in the bad guys planned but was still able to marry Mrs. Hawkins. Which means he's soon to be rich... and is now stuck with Mrs. Hawkins.
  • Literal-Minded: When told to shoe the horse, Chester puts the horse in actual shoes.
  • Only in It for the Money: The only way the bad guys decided that gaining the debt and the widow might be a good thing.
  • Truth in Television: This western spoof is predicated on an actual Montana law of the 19th century.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: The film plot practically parodies this