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The Cavalry

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You wouldn't want to be at the business end of those guys.

"And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin's sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last."
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Things are looking bleak for our heroes: they gave it their best, and may have even briefly looked like winning, but in the end, the villains were too strong, the heroes too few, and all that's left is just enough time for some last words and a Last Stand...

...Wait, what's that? Did I just hear a bugle?

It's The Cavalry, riding in to save the day! Maybe they're some minor characters who've banded together to mount a rescue, or maybe they're the local Men of Sherwood, or maybe they are characters Not Quite Dead after all, but ultimately they exist to storm in at the last minute, save the heroes and convert a Downer Ending into an out-and-out win for the good guys.

If done badly, this trope represents the ultimate example of the Deus ex Machina. If played well, it can be an immensely satisfying climax to the plot and a nice reminder that the heroes aren't in this alone. In some cases the entire reason for the heroes' heroic stand may be that they know the cavalry is coming, if they can just hold on long enough.

This and other related tropes are named for the classic Western trope of the US cavalry charging over the brow of the hill just in time to save the beleaguered settlers from the Indians in far too many Westerns to count.

When it is specifically a vehicle with heavy firepower, it is also a Gunship Rescue, and when undead forces are used to save the day, it is a Cavalry of the Dead.

If the heroes are part of a larger organization, the cavalry is usually led by a Hero of Another Story. Compare with the Big Damn Heroes, where the heroes are the cavalry for someone else, Gondor Calls for Aid, where the heroes put some thought into it and call in the cavalry ahead of time, and Always a Bigger Fish, where the cavalry are morally neutral and usually a monster of some kind. If the heroes have asked for the cavalry's help before but were turned down, it's Changed My Mind, Kid. If the heroes are fighting in a Mecha Show or happen to be Ace Pilots, then this may dovetail into I Got You Covered. See Gideon Ploy for when no cavalry is coming and needs to be faked.

The expectations that accompany this trope can be subverted into providing a Hope Spot. The cavalry could turn out to be a Redshirt Army, utterly useless and readily destroyed by the threat. Alternatively, the heroes could find themselves victims of Cavalry Betrayal, where the supposed cavalry are also hostile to the heroes. If it's clear who is supposed to be the cavalry, yet they refuse to help the heroes for some reason, that's a Cavalry Refusal. Both the Betrayal and the Refusal often lead to a Bolivian Army Ending.

Not to be confused with (or more likely misspelled as) Calvary, a place outside Jerusalem where The Roman Empire performed crucifixions (including Jesus's). Compare Come with Me If You Want to Live — in which the cavalry show up to spirit the hero away rather than to win the battle — and Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind. Occasionally, the cavalry will show up after the heroes have managed to turn around their "hopeless" situation.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: The Survey Corps reinforce the Garrison and the Trainees just in the nick of time during the Battle of Trost. Bonus points for actually riding horses from place to place before switching to Maneuver gear.
  • Black Clover: While the Clover Kingdom is thrown into chaos as the reincarnated elves lay waste, Yuno goes alone to help on the battlefields in the outer settlements while Asta goes to gather the Black Bulls. Later, as the Black Bulls attempt to fight off the elves in the Royal Capital, Yuno arrives with reinforcements collected from every other battlefield across the kingdom, bringing desperately needed support to the frontline.
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Batou is saved in the very last moment by three Taichikomas, which escaped dismantling by having been sold to civilian organizations. So they had to take on a walking tank ''stripped of all their weapons'', except for one derelict rocket propelled grenade.
  • Gintama: During the Four Devas arc, the baddies make it clear that the Yorozuya need to pack it up and head their separate ways out of the Kabuki District, going so far as to kill Otose (she got better). When Gin and company refuse and stand their ground against a huge gang of thugs from Jirocho and Saigo's crews, the other residents of the Kabuki District (mostly people the Yorozuya had helped in previous stories) show up to fight at their side: Otae and the cabaret girls, Kyoushiro and the host club hosts, Tatsumi from the fire department, Gengai the nutty robot engineer, Tetsuko the blacksmith, Kozenigata the detective... and Hasegawa.
  • In Holyland, after Yuu defeats Katou, Shougo invokes this by calling the police so that Katou's thugs don't get to beat Yuu. Then in chapter 58, when Yuu is getting beat up by some nobodies, Iwado shows up and saves him.
  • Ino-Head Gargoyle: Just as Saejima's facing a room full of gangsters who are about to kill him, Kamata arrives with Nakajo and Akutsu waiting outside to defeat the villain's cavalry.
  • In Jojos Bizarre Adventure, Speedwagon and Von Stroheim arrive with a company of German soldiers to save JoJo and his mother Lisa Lisa from Kars. They exterminate Karss vampire army and save JoJo and his mother, but cant stop Kars from becoming the Ultimate Life Form. But with Stroheims help, JoJo beats Kars anyway.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00:
    • When Celestial Being are getting swamped by A-Laws, and most of their weapons nuetralized by their anti-beam clouds. The Katharon forces and defectors from A-Laws soon come to their aid.
    • In season one, when Celestial Being is getting beaten back by an unprecedented team-up between the three rival superpowers. They carry out a relentless and well-planned assault that's overcoming the Nigh-Invulnerable Gundams by sheer weight of numbers. Then the Trinity siblings show up, with three more Gundams of their own that nobody knew existed, beating back the enemies and allowing Celestial Being to escape unharmed.
  • One of the most memorable moments in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack (and some would say in all of Gundam comes at the end: Char is defeated, but half of Axis is still falling into Earth's atmosphere. With little choice, Amuro flies his Nu Gundam in front of Axis and tries altering its course by pushing the giant asteroid. Just when things look their bleakest, the Londo Bell forces join in (as do several of Char's men). Double Subverted: The focused mental energy of all those people working together combines with the black boxes in the Gundam and what's left of Char's machine to create a psychic field that pushes the "cavalry" aside...but it also pulls the piece of Axis back into space.
  • In One Piece, The Red-Haired Pirates for the Whitebeard Pirates in the Battle of Maineford. Noteable in that, instead of kicking ass, the threat of it, stands down the Marines, the Shichibukai, and the Blackbeard Pirates.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, At the Battle of Teppelin in episode 14. Dai-Gurren is about shot down by Cytomander, when a barrage slams into them from another direction. Cut to a huge army of lesser battleships and mecha, all hijacked by people from various villages who saw and heard of Team Dai-Gurrens battle. This leads to a shot of the entire army arrayed and heading into battle against Teppelins forces.
  • Tokyo Revengers:
    • This trope actually happens twice in the first arc. It happens first when Draken, Mikey, Mitsuya and Takemichi are about to fight a rival gang in a 100 vs 4 battle. Suddenly they are saved by Mikey's gang, Toman, which also has 100 members. Later in the arc, Draken was fatally wounded and Takemichi ran away from the fight to carry him to a hospital. 5 Members from the rival gang shows up to finish them off but out of nowhere, Takemichi's friends back him up and stall enough for the ambulance to arrive.
    • Mikey arrives in the nick of time to save everyone from Taiju, who simply won't go down. While Taiju punches Mikey into the floor with one punch, Mikey calmly gets back on his feet and floors him with one of his infamous kicks; it happens so fast Takemichi briefly loses sight of Taiju's body. When Taiju refuses to admit defeat and runs outside the church when the rest of Black Dragon doesn't answer his call for reinforcements, he sees that Draken has already mopped the floor with the lot of them.
  • In Transformers: Cybertron, after an Omega Lock-powered Galvatron has creamed Optimus Prime's team, the armies of Jungle Planet, Velocitron, Earth, and Gigantion all arrive to help. Lugnutz even persuaded the Ancient Decepticons to led a hand, on the grounds that they don't want the universe to be destroyed.
  • Subverted in Uzumaki, an entire fleet of rescue ships arrives at the darkest hour for the residents of Kurozu-cho only to be swallowed up by a Mega Maelstrom.

  • In "The Lord of Lorn and the False Steward", when news of what happened to the young lord arrived back at home, his father collected hundreds of men to arrive in force and rescue him — without, mind you, fighting.

    Comic Books 
  • In Death Vigil the Reaper has no problem with being summoned for engagements her Death Knights can't win on their own. And yes, both are heroic.
  • Lucky Luke.
    • Subverted, as most tropes in Lucky Luke eventually are, in an issue where the cavalry arrives too late to save a band of settlers from an Indian attack. The cavalry commander has a nervous breakdown when Luke informs him that the cavalry came too late. "But... but... the cavalry is ALWAYS on time..."
      Soldier: It's ok sergeant, next time, we'll arrive before the Indians.
    • On another occasion, the adjutant reminds the captain that they have to leave now, and cut short the thank you scene, in order to be on time for the next rescue.
  • Green Lantern: The Green Lantern Corps frequently pops in to help out on Earth, doing so in Infinite Crisis amongst other stories.
  • Justice League of America:
    • In one story, the role of the cavalry is played by the entire population of Earth, freshly given superpowers and ready to tear apart a primordial force of evil in order to help Superman.
    • In an earlier point in that JLA run, this is done — with a tad more subtlety — when the entire population of Earth is mobilized by Superman to fight back against an alien White Martian invasion, using fire. Earlier in that story, Batman acts as a one-man cavalry in service to the entire, captive JLA. Given extra oomph since the aliens are convinced that he's no threat because he's "just a man".
  • Red Robin: The Batfamily looks like they're failing against an onslaught from the League of Assassins, especially Tim who is stuck fighting Ra's al Ghul himself, before it's revealed Tim called in the cavalry in the form of the Teen Titans and a couple of his other friends, though Babs handily saved herself.
  • Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman: Diana shows up with an actual cavalry contingent of Amazons to save the day when Oracle calls her to help Gotham after the Bat-Rogues have, for once, actually properly teamed up and managed to take down Batman, Nightwing and Robin in an explosion, overwhelm the not badly wounded Bat-Fam members, and are quickly turning Gotham into a living hell.
  • Blaze of Glory: In an inversion of the trope's original form, it is Red Wolf and his tribe who show up to save the day in the last issue. Kid Colt lampshades it.
    Kid Colt: Well, would you look at that! Cavalry's come to town-and they're all injuns!
  • Star Wars Legends: In one comic set during the Clone Wars, Anakin arrives just in time with a bunch of clones. When someone rhetorically asks who it is, he says "the Cavalry".
  • In Violine, Violine's pet mouse, Klaas, provides one in the form of his offspring.
  • Ultron Forever: Faced with an endless army of Ultron robots, and the offer of surrender and be turned into a mindless slave or to fight, lose and then be turned into a mindless slave (but with more pain), the Avengers are joined by the entirety of the Nine Realms. Some epic line-holding ensues.
  • In Baker Street #5, Sharon and Susan are about to be shot by Davenport and his henchmen when they are saved by the arrival of Domino and the Tower of Hell gang, who have the area surrounded and have just heard Davenport's confession that he is really the one behind the deaths of their members during the recent gang wars.
  • In The Transformers: Robots in Disguise, things look hopeless for the Autobots after Megatron takes the capital, until Ironhide and the Dinobots (who were all presumed dead) show up to turn the tide.
    Ironhide: Overwhelmin odds. No hope. A future so bleak I dont wanna be there. Things lookin as dark as they can. Times like this make a fella feel alive. I think thats our cue, amigos Time for us ta bot up an save the world.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW):
    • In "Night of the Living Apples", just when the attack on Sweet Apple Acres goes sour and Twilight, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Applejack are about to completely overwhelmed by the living apples, Fluttershy — having just learned how to take control of her normally wild and animalistic vampiric form — arrives with an enormous flock of vampire fruit bats in tow to rescue them.
    • In issue #102, the foreign elements show up as the Knights are destroying Canterlot to rescue the heroes.
  • The Bluecoats: Repeatedly subverted; since the heroes are the cavalry, more often than not they need rescuing. The fact that Captain Stark's sole known order is "CHAAAAAAAARRRGGGGGEEEEE!", willingness to attack when his regiment is reduced to three people including himself, and refusal to retreat under any circumstances (save a wildfire) might have something to do with it.

    Fan Works 
  • Along Came a Spider has the Capellan reinforcements come out of nowhere to Goomba Stomp the Steel Vipers right before they would have over-run Kai on Sudeten.
  • Downfall has one in Chapter 17- Later, in Chapter 20, Momo and a platoon from Squad Five arrive to reinforce Rangiku and the exhausted Squad Six detachment denying the Arrancar retreat to the Garganta.
  • Eleutherophobia:
    • In Ghost in the Shell, Tom is losing his aerial fight against Margaret until Tobias swoops in to save him, and succeeds despite being several times smaller than the condor.
    • In The Thing from Another World, the Animorphs send out a mirrorwave message to get Ax to help them, since the Andalites know more about alien viruses than the U.S. military do. They get Alloran instead, who's still on Earth and more than willing to defend the children he owes his life to (and Tom).
  • Equestria: A History Revealed: During the Battle of the Everfree Plains, when it seems as though Celestia's forces were caught in an impossible situation, the pegasi reinforcements from the west finally arrive and help them out, as a form of apology for their previous inaction.
  • Harry Potter and the Deadly Heller: By the time the Horcruxes have all been found, Voldemort has gathered an army of not only werewolves and Dementors and giants, but also large numbers of vampires and demons, too many for even a Slayer to fight. At that point, Buffy and Willow and Faith drop in to help, with the Troll Hammer and the Slayer Scythe ready for action. Followed by a dozen more Slayers. Between them, they go through Voldemort's army like a scythe through grain.
  • The Palaververse: Towards the end, a rather ragtag group of the international guests to the wedding — Burro Delver and his aides, Chieftain Gellert and his nephew, Bullwalda Greenhorn, his wife Goldtorc and their guard, and a collection of Black Company sheep — manages to fight off the changelings in the castle grounds and mounts a unified charge towards the throne room, bent on taking down Chrysalis or dying in the attempt. As per canon, though, they don't get the chance, as Shining Armor and Cadance's love explosion takes care of the changelings before they can do it.
  • Takamachi Nanoha of 2814: Pulled off twice in chapter 7. Nanoha is rescued twice, first by Fate, Arf and a newly minted Green Lantern Yuuno, and then again by the Sailor Senshi, Ala Alba, Magical Girl Illya and company, Cardcaptor Sakura and Superman.
  • Legends: The Avengers are surrounded by all the guns S.H.I.E.L.D. can muster. They affirm their resolve to stay where they are, Wolverine and Daredevil share a loving goodbye. Captain America gets the team ready to attack on his signal, and the leader of the S.H.I.E.L.D. troops gets ready to signal the open fire. Suddenly, their dead teammate falls down from the heavens, given the title of Thunderstrike for dying bravely. He heals up the sorcerer supreme who turns their enemy's bullets into sand. S.H.I.E.L.D.'s leader gives the order for them to prepare to fire again and then Thunderstrike summons the warriors of Valhalla, which for those of you not clued into Norse Mythology is the resting place for warriors who have died in glorious battle. Every. Single. One. Including the original Avengers. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents promptly drop their weapons.
  • Pokemon Masters of Azeroth has a memorable scene at the battle for Icecrown Glacier. The dragons finally show up, en masse, as they had promised, just when it looks like the heroes are doomed.
  • In Tiberium Wars, the GDI defenders at the Pentagon are about to be overrun by the Nod forces being supported by Avatar warmechs, until the Mammoth Tanks arrive. Earlier in the story, the GDI Marines play this role when they rescue to troops trying to recapture the airbase.
  • Inner Demons: During the Final Battle, while the Element bearers and the Princesses are fighting through the hordes of Tartarus in order to confront Queen!Twilight, a large army of her undead Elite Mooks get past them and prepare to march on the defenseless Ponyville. The aged-up Cutie Mark Crusaders attempt to stop them, but don't seem to making enough of an impact... then the Royal Guard, commanded by Shining Armor and Cadence, show up and engage the undead in combat, keeping them from advancing.
  • In Mass Foundations:Redemption in the Stars, Courier, Liara and Feron are saved from their first engagement with the Blue Suns by a sudden intervention of an unseen sniper. Who is strongly implied to be the Archangel.
  • Early on in Yognapped, Simon and Lewis are rescued from a mob spawning by a squadron of Peons with vastly superior weaponry. The two are taken back to the Peons' base, but it later turns out that all of it was an orchestrated capture scheme.
  • The MLP:FiM fan fiction The Monster Mash has a particularly epic example when Princess Luna arrives to deal with the were-ponies.
  • In Fractured, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands crossover, the Trans-Galactic Republic and its Star Destroyers show up after discovering a mass relay in their own galaxy. Their Deflector Shields are better and their Beam Spam is superior, so they rip the Reapers a new one. However, a seemingly-magic "win" button ends up having consequences...
  • Overlapping with Big Damn Heroes in The Wrong Reflection when the USS Bajor saves the bacon of some Klingon-Cardassian Alliance ships. (The Bajor's captain, Kanril Eleya, is the usual First-Person Smartass viewpoint character, but the scene is told from the Alliance's perspective.)
  • "Final Countdown" looks at what was going on "behind the scenes" in the Power Rangers in Space finale "Countdown to Destruction"; while Andros was off to the Dark Fortress and the other Space Rangers were preparing to defend Earth, the rest of Earth's Rangers gathered together to prepare for the battle themselves. As well as the Zeo Rangers using their Zeonizers and Jason, Trini and Zack using the original Power Coins, Justin assembles a new Turbo team with Kim, Aisha, David (Tommy's brother) and Justin's father as the new Pink, Yellow, Red and Green Turbo Rangers, along with the Zeo Zords, Super Zeo Zords, Red Battlezord, the Dragonzord, Titannus and Tor (the last three controlled by Jason using the dregs of the Green Power Coin and his own powers).
  • Peace Forged in Fire:
    • Tal'Shiar Merik tr'Kiell suckers D'trel by exploiting her Berserk Button and things look grim. Then Velal's flagship, which had previously only been mentioned by name, decloaks. It's a Scimitar-class.
    • Also subverted. The Klingon Sixth Fleet that had been mentioned to be on its way turns up right after the battle has already been won by the good guys. Starfleet and Romulan Republic reinforcements never even get there.
  • Played with in Curses! when Raz remembers the Either waiting for them and goes to retrieve it.
    Lili: Wha— wai— where are you going?
    Raz: To get the cavalry!
    Lili: What cavalry?
    Raz: The one we rode in on!
  • The Equestrian Wind Mage:
    • The Diamond Dogs serve as this during the Battle of Ponyville, showing up in time to help rout Ganon's forces.
    • Maulgrim later rallies nearly half of Ponyville, Vaati's monsters, the Diamond Dogs, the creatures of the Everfree, and the buffalo tribes as a relief force to break Ganondorf's siege of the Crystal Empire.
  • Double Subverted in part III of A Voice in the Wilderness. Starfleet and the Klingon Empire both respond to USS Bajor's distress signal after her warp drive is disabled by the Borg, but everyone knows they're too far away to rescue the ship before the Borg return. Then the Vaadwaur to whom Eleya delivered a peace proposal back in part I show up instead and pull everybody out.
  • The Green Glade: When the unarmed Taran, Gurgi and Fflewddur Fflam are about to be killed by four armed thugs of the Horned King, two hooded, armed and trained warriors appear to even the odds in the three heroes' favor. They're afterwards revealed to be Coll and Prince Gwydion.
  • In Chapter 34 of Pokmon Reset Bloodlines, Ash is kidnapped by Sabrina and forced to fight his way through her hordes of Psychic-type Pokémon. While he and his active team manage to hold their own for a bit, they eventually reach their limit. Then, Ash's Pokédex reveals how it's been setting up a plan to bring the rest of Ash's Pokémon from Oak's ranch (with the help of a herd of Exeggutor capable of using Teleport), and they break through the ceiling, joining the fray to level the playing field.
  • Becoming a True Invader: During the Final Battle, Dwicky's rebel army and Crax (in his Humongous Mecha) arrive in time to help keep the ZMDA from being overwhelmed by the Employer's remaining forces on Irk.
  • This Bites!: During the Marineford War, both the Revolutionaries and Supernovas show up to save Luffy, Ace, and the Whitebeards when the Marines start to turn the tide back in their favor.
  • Boldores And Boomsticks: Just as Ruby thinks that defending Golden Valley with only four Huntresses seems impossible, Riley rallies the tournament contenders and other trainers to help fight back, successfully defeating the horde without a single fatality.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: Arya, Beric, Sandor and the Dothraki are investigating a village that turns out to be crawling with Khornate fanatics, including some Chaos-tainted mutants. The Dothraki are tied up fighting the cultists, Sandor duel their leader, Arya is cornered by the mutant and about to be killed... and then Nymeria rips its throat out. Nymeria, and a gigantic pack of wolves that proceeds to turn the tides against the cultists.
  • Shadows over Meridian: A villainous example in Chapter 17. The army that Jade leads to the northern mountains arrives just in time to reinforce the garrison of Snowpoint who, after weeks of constant attacks, are about to be crushed by the rebel army.

    Film - Animation 
  • Done rather clumsily, but nevertheless played straight in BIONICLE: The Legend Reborn — a gigantic army composed of Agori, Glatorian and battle chariots appears to help Mata Nui fight the Rock Tribe and the Bone Hunters... but you only see the main characters duking it out in the ensuing battle, and the army just disappears for the rest of the scene.
  • Done literally in Cars 2 when Sarge contacts his old military buddies to bring the entire British Army to rescue Mater and Lightning McQueen.
  • Done in How to Train Your Dragon. The cavalry weren't on horseback.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie: The Flutter Ponies coming in to defeat the Smooze. They pull this again in the TV series, showing up to defeat Erebus.
  • At the end of Ralph Breaks the Internet, Ralph has successfully defeated the Ralph Virus monster attacking cyberspace...but since he did so on top of a giant skyscraper, he's now plummeting to certain doom. The trope is at first subverted when J.P. Spamley tries to help in his flying car, only for the strong, stout Ralph to crash through the floor. It's then played straight when the Disney Princesses, who Vanellope befriended earlier, see him tumbling and rally to the rescue, each using their unique powers and special items to save the day—for example, Moana uses her control over the ocean to create a column of water, which Ariel directs with her swimming to Elsa, who freezes it into an ice slide after hitching a ride on Jasmine's flying carpet.
  • Played with in Ratatouille. Remy's clan of fellow rats shows up to help him prepare a gourmet meal in a restaurant.
  • Yellow Submarine. The U.S. Seventh Cavalry appears out of the title vessel to rescue Ringo from attacking Indians. No, it doesn't make sense in context.
  • Zootopia: Chief Bogo and the rest of the force, in the museum scene. In this case, though, it is the villain who called them, expecting a feral Nick to kill Judy in the meantime. Instead, Nick was faking being feral, and the villain's whole gloat was Caught on Tape.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Every D.W. Griffith film made from about 1910 on. Sometimes The Cavalry is one man, sometimes it really is the Cavalry. And sometimes...well, see below.
  • Army of Darkness: "The Red! The Red! Duke Henry and his men have come!"
  • Subverted in Big Game, when the Navy SEALs team sent to be Moore's cavalry ends up hundreds of kilometres away. They manage to finally find the right place only after the president is already saved.
  • The highly controversial silent film, The Birth of a Nation, which has every racing-to-the-rescue shot from every Western ever made. The only problem is that The Cavalry happens to be The Klan. (Griffith was obsessed with The Cavalry, and used whatever or whoever was conveniently to hand - causing occasional "WTF'ness".)
  • Stagecoach, the movie that made a star of John Wayne, is a classic example, in which the cavalry appears exactly when all hope is lost, although it had been previously implied they would not be available.
  • Hatched: When the surviving family members are cornered by one of the raptors, it's immediately gunned down, and a bunch of army personell walk into the house through the door.
  • Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings
    • In The Return of the King, there is a cavalry overload at Minas Tirith, at their many variants. It begins with the city standing against the orcs. Then, the orcs are reinforced by the Big Damn Villain, the Witch-King, who confronted Gandalf. Then, The Cavalry (an actual real cavalry, the Rohirrim) comes to help the good guys. Then, a second cavalry, composed of Oliphaunts, comes to help the bad guys. And then, to secure the evil victory, comes yet another evil cavalry, the Corsairs... but it was a Cavalry Betrayal (to the evil side), as the Corsairs ships were actually used by the Big Damn Heroes Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli and the Cavalry of the Dead.
    • Also in The Two Towers:
    "Théoden king stands alone."
    "Not alone. Rohirrim! TO THE KING!"
    • In The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies this happens on multiple occasions. First when the Wood-Elves are besieging Erebor Thorin's cousin Dáin Ironfoot arrives with an army of Dwarves, though it turns out the Elves, men and Dwarves have to fight together to defeat the Orcs. Slightly subverted as it is used by the villains, Azog has his son Bolg bring another Orc army from Gundabad. Then played straight. As these Orcs enter the battle, an army of eagles arrive, along with the Wizard Radagast and the skin-changer Beorn, who turns into a bear and rampages through the Orc army.
  • The climax of the final battle in Saving Private Ryan is the arrival of the P-51 Mustangs that blow the German Tiger, which shrugged off bazooka shells, away before you even see them. Now that's a dramatic entrance.
  • Subverted in Zulu, when a sizable force of Boer cavalrymen turn up at Rorke's Drift ahead of the approaching Zulus, then gallop away to avoid being killed by those very same Zulus. The heroes don't take this well at all.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Ewoks in Return of the Jedi. Fear the teddy-bear army of doom!
    • In Attack of the Clones, first a team of Jedi led by Mace Windu arrives to rescue the protagonists, then Yoda and the Clone Troopers swoop in to rescue the Jedi. The DVD chapter is called "Yoda's Cavalry".
    • And Han's dramatic comeback in A New Hope. Not exactly a cavalry charge, but the effect is the same. Word of God is it's a deliberate homage to the cavalry charge in a western with the Falcon coming out of the sun.
    • Poe Dameron and the Resistance X-Wings in The Force Awakens. They tear through the First Order forces occupying the area like paper, complete with managing perfect centre of mass shots on stormtroopers during strafing runs and, at one point, Poe eliminating ten TIE fighters in a single pass.
    • The heroes in Rogue One recieve unexpected reinforcements in the form of the entire Rebel fleet during their raid on Scarif, in one of the most epic space battles since Return of the Jedi.
    • Double subverted in The Last Jedi. After the Resistances plans to escape the First Order fail again and again, they are forced to attempt to hold the Rebel bunker on Crait long enough to call the Cavalry to come save them. However, the message goes out, and no one answers: the destruction of the New Republic shattered any hope the galaxy might have had that the First Order could be beaten... But the cavalry comes anyway, only in the form of Rey, Chewie, R2, and Luke instead. Instead of curb stomping the First Order, Luke keeps them at bay long enough for Rey to lead the remnants of the Resistance out the back of the bunker, and escape in the Falcon.
    • Played straight on an absolute Galactic scale in The Rise of Skywalker when Lando and Chewie show up with a truly massive fleet from all over the Galaxy to aid Poe, Finn and the Resistance over Exegol.
  • In A&E's "Horatio Hornblower" movie, The Wrong War, the heroes are trapped on a beach, facing the French army. The heroes form up in ranks, and fire off a volley at the French in desperation, and are completely surprised when their little muskets cause massive devastation. They turn around to see that their ship, "H.M.S. Indefatigable", has suddenly arrived and is shooting at the French. It's a great cavalry scene, if one sets aside the fact that ships' cannon of the period were so inaccurate that the ship had a better chance of hitting their own troops than they did the French. But their own troops were about to die anyway (unless they surrendered), so it was presumably worth the risk.
  • The almost same stuff happens in Jules Verne's Captain Grant's Children, where the heroes also run to the shore, chased by some Maoris whom they've managed to piss off. They weren't expecting any help, being separated from their ship and the rest of the party by an absentminded error of one of their members, but, to their surprise, what they found there was Duncan, their ship, sent there by the very same mistake.
  • The Three Musketeers (1973). D'Artagnan has been separated from the other three Musketeers through attacks by the Cardinal's agents. As he's trying to return the diamonds to the Queen, he's accosted by several sets of Cardinal's guards. Finally, when he's outmatched by three of them, he's rescued twice: first by his servant Planchet in a polar bear costume, and then by the rest of the Musketeers whom Planchet lets in through a gate.
  • The Three Musketeers (1993): At the end, the heroes are confronted by the goons that have been pursuing D'Artagnan throughout the movie. Suddenly the goons' leader screams like a girl and the goons turn and run away. The heroes think they scared the goons away when suddenly the entire Musketeer Corps appears from behind the heroes, chasing after the goons. The goons could see them coming but the heroes couldn't. Possibly more a parody than a real The Cavalry moment, since the Four Musketeers are more than capable of handling Sissy Villain Gerard & his brothers. However, it thoroughly emphasizes the "All for one" part of the Musketeer creed.
    • A more straight-forwad example happens during the climax when it's just the three main Musketeers against an entire army of Cardinal Guard, only for a large number of men who'd been standing in the background to cast off their cloaks and reveal themselves to be the rest of the Musketeers and charge the Cardinal Guard.
  • Parodied in the Bing Crosby / Bob Hope film Road to Rio: while the two heroes are busy tangling the villainess and her two henchmen, an ally (Jerry Colonna) and a bunch of reinforcements ride furiously toward the heroes' location. But then suddenly, the heroes have won and the villains are hauled off to jail without The Cavalry ever arriving. Colonna reins in his horse mid-gallop and cheerfully comments to the camera: "Well, we never made it. But exciting, wasn't it!"
  • In Shaun of the Dead, the titular character and his girlfriend (but not his best friend, who has been bitten and opts to hold off the zombie hordes) are saved by the cavalry in the form of the British Army who proceed to avert the standard zombie movie cliche and absolutely slaughter the zombies.
  • The Cavalry is generally a very happy concept. See the movie version of The Mist for an example where it really, really isn't. (In the original novella they never show up at all. Which, arguably, makes the ending of the novella happier. Or at least less fucking depressing.
  • The main characters of the Doom movie are, as confirmed in the dialogue, very explicitly the cavalry. Too bad it doesn't help.
  • Near the end of the original Jurassic Park. When the protagonists are trapped by a pair of velociraptors, the Cavalry appears in the form of a Tyrannosaurus rex and saves them by killing the velociraptors.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. While Indy is hanging onto the cut bridge and being shot at by the Kali cultists on the other side of the canyon, British Army troops show up on his side and open fire on them, saving him. Then more British troops show up on the cultists' side of the canyon and capture them.
  • Interesting evil version in 3:10 to Yuma (2007), where the Affably Evil Ben Wade predicts throughout the film that he will be rescued from execution by his Quirky Miniboss Squad. There are several scenes showing them tracking down their boss, and sure enough, they ultimately come to rescue him, and Wade's status as a Magnificent Bastard is perfectly clear.
  • The climax of Bedknobs and Broomsticks features this. Nazi forces have invaded England and taken over the countryside, so apprentice witch Eglantine Pryce decides to use the powerful "Substitutiary Locomotion" spell (which she's hunted for the whole film), which can bring inanimate objects to life, to fight back. How does she do this? By going to a museum and casting the spell in a room full of regalia from the wars of English history. Cue the Nazis freaking out as the armor, weapons, and gear of every single English battle ever come marching out of the museum, ready to fight for "England and St. George" once again, as Eglantine commands them from her flying broom. Watch it in all its glory here.
  • At the climax of Avatar, the wildlife of Pandora itself comes to aid the Na'vi, who are getting curb stomped by the human forces. Could also be Gondor Calls for Aid, as Jake asks for help from nature before hand, but is told it can only "protect the balance".
    • The actual "horse" riding Na'vi cavalry is rescued by the metaphorical cavalry.
  • Just as things look their worst in Sleepwalkers, Clovis the police cat leads an army of cats on a slow motion charge toward the villains' house.
  • Subverted in Time Bandits. While in the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness, Kevin and Ogg stay behind to distract Evil while the others go through the time doors to get help. Just when it looks like Evil is going to win, the others return with American cowboys, Arthurian knights, Greek archers, a tank and a laser-armed spaceship to save the day. It looks like Evil has had it, right? Nope. Evil uses his powers to annihilate each of the reinforcements in turn, and is only stopped by a literal Deus ex Machina, when the Supreme Being shows up and turns him into charcoal.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Captain America: The First Avenger: When Cap lets himself get captured by HYDRA, the Howling Commandos along with US army storm HYDRA's last stronghold.
    • Iron Man 3: Zigzagged. The cavalry in this case is all of the Iron Man suits, basically a One-Man Army controlled by Jarvis except for the suits Tony uses.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): The Nova Corps use their own ships to blockade Ronan's ship and save civilians, strictly averting Police Are Useless in the process.
    • Thor: Ragnarok: When Hela's undead soldiers are about to overwhelm the Asgardians on the Rainbow Bridge during the Final Battle, Loki and the rebel gladiators appear with the ship from Sakaar to defend and evacuate the people.
    • Black Panther: Just when it looks like T'Challa and his allies are going to be overwhelmed by Killmonger's forces during the climax, the Jibari arrive to reinforce them, despite M'Baku earlier saying that they wouldn't get involved.
    • Avengers: Endgame: Captain America stands alone against Thanos. His shield is broken and he's already injured, Thor and Iron Man are down, the rest of their allies are buried under rubble, and Thanos' entire army has arrived, with thousands of mooks, warships, and the Children of Thanos, any one of whom would be a near-insurmountable threat. Cap is ready to make a Last Stand against these impossible odds... And then Cap's radio starts buzzing, mystic portals open, and every dead hero returns along with the entire Wakandan army, all the Masters of the Mystic Arts, the Ravagers and their allies, and a legion of New Asgardian soldiers. All of whom have arrived to take the battle to Thanos in the most epic battle of the MCU yet.
      Captain America: AVENGERS! Assemble.
  • Subverted in Alien. Weyland-Yutani has sent a rescue expedition to Fury 161 which arrives by the end of the film, but they don't care at all about saving the prisoners or Ripley; they just want to retrieve the Alien.
  • Subverted twice in Jaws 2. After the shark attacks the teenagers and sends them adrift on a raft cobbled together of what's left of their sailboats, help arrives on two occasions, but they each fail in different ways.
    • A helicopter (the type that can land on water) arrives to tow the boats. The shark attacks the helicopter, eats the pilot, and the mayhem causes the rafts to collapse, leaving almost nothing left for the teenagers to stay afloat on.
    • Chief Brody later comes to the rescue. The shark attacks his boat as well, causing him to steer and crash it into the tiny island that was close by. As a result he has to find other means to save them.
  • When the main characters of The In-Laws, one of whom may or may not be a rogue CIA agent, are in front of a Latin American firing squad during the film's climax, they're rescued at the last minute by the appearance of a small army of CIA agents. (They would have been there earlier, but "traffic was brutal.")
  • During the climax of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Enterprise is getting pounded severely by Chang's Bird of Prey, and is unable to fire back due to the Bird of Prey's cloaking device. Excelsior arrives shortly Enterprise's shields fail, giving Chang a second target to occupy his attention and buying time for Kirk's crew to finish modifying their seeker torpedo. Enterprise does still get badly mauled, but without Excelsior's timely arrival she would have been destroyed before Spock and McCoy could finish their work.
    • At the beginning of Star Trek: First Contact, Enterprise gets her turn as the cavalry, arriving in the middle of the battle with the Borg just in time to rescue Defiant and direct a decisive counter-attack to destroy the Cube.
  • In Dead in Tombstone, Guerrero uses his last bullet to kill Snake. However, before he and Calthea can be overwhelmed by Red's remaining deputies, they are saved by an armed uprising of the townsfolk.
  • In The Purge: Anarchy, the protagonists are captured by a motorcycle gang and sold to a group of rich people who want to participate in the lawlessness of the Purge without any real risk to their own safety, by playing the most dangerous game with the unarmed heroes. Fortunately, one of the heroes is a badass who manages to kill several would be hunters, but in response they just call in a veritable army to deal with the unexpectedly dangerous protagonists. When all seems lost, the a group of earlier alluded to anti-purge fighters shows up and massacres the heroes' captors, allowing them to escape.
  • In Furious 7, the heroes are hounded by Mose Jakande's Attack Drone. Just as Letty is about to catch a missile up her tailpipe, along comes Luke Hobbs, who crashes into the drone with an ambulance. When Letty asks if he brought the cavalry, he replies, "Woman, I am the cavalry." He then proceeds to grab the drone's Gatling Good BFG (something no normal person could possibly lift) and unleash a barrage on Jakande's gunship. He also delivers the kill shot that detonates the grenade bag left there by Dom from a long distance away with a revolver.
  • A Bridge Too Far. The trope is Lampshaded by General Horrocks when he briefs XXX Corps for Operation Market Garden. Unfortunately The Cavalry Arrives Late.
  • In Breakheart Pass, Major Claremont arrives with the troops from Fort Humboldt as White Hand and Calhoun are attacking the train.
  • In The Man from Kangaroo, Greythorn, Mike and the stockmen from Greythorn's station arrive in time to save John and Muriel from Braggan and his gang. It is Mike who fires the shot that kills Braggan as he is about to shoot John.
  • In an unusual twist in Johnny Reno, 'the cavalry' turns out to be the Indians.
  • Tumbleweed: When Jim and the remains of the posse are pinned down and about to be wiped out by the Yaqui, they are saved by the arrival of Buckley and his men (plus Lam and Laura).
  • In The Ghoul, the standoff between Kaney and Broughton and Dragore is ended by the arrival of the police who take the men into custody.
  • Sky Bandits: When Barney and Luke and trying to take on the heavily-armed and armoured airship in only their outgunned and outdated gunbus, they are saved by Major Bannock's squadron showing up flying Fritz's 'specials'.
  • Trench 11: Jennings assures the men an engineering corps is aware of them and will send rescue parties once they fail to check in. Berton knows he is lying.
  • When Riley is about to be sacrificed by the frat in Black Christmas (2019), she save by the arrival of Kris and the girls she had saved from the other sorority, who starts beating the hell out of the frat boys.
  • At the end of The Gentlemen, Mickey is abducted by a pair of Russians gangsters pulling a Not My Driver. As they are about to to shoot, a van swerves in front of the car. The back door opens and the Toddlers open up with automatic weapons, killing the Russians. An earlier conversation with Coach had made it sound as if they were planning to kill Mickey.
  • Jackie Chan's film Dragon Blade, this is invoked quite literally twice. When Huo An and his Roman allies are trapped by Tiberius' forces, the nations along the Silk Road, many of whom Huo An was shown helping earlier, arrive to help him, and almost all of them are mounted on horses. And even when that is enough, the Parthians, who boasted one of the most famous cavalry armies of the ancient age, show up to tip the scales yet again.
  • Swelter has an interesting example, in that rather than arrive to help fight the bad guy (who's already been defeated in a Showdown at High Noon), they prevent the protagonist from going on the run, as they arrive to spirit away the bodies and reassure the him that his secret's safe with them.
  • The Bold Caballero: Summoned by the signal fires, the local tribes arrive and storm the Commandante's compound just as Zorro and his allies are in danger of being overwhelmed. Yes, this time The Cavalry are the Indians!
  • In The Charge at Feather River, Archer and the remains of the Guardhouse Brigade are holed up the banks of Feather River. Having seen off two charges by Thunder Hawk's forces, they are spared from a third when the cavalry arrives, and they learn that Baker had made it through to the fort to bring reinforcements.
  • In Zorro, the Gay Blade, Don Diego Vega (Zorro) has taken Charlotte's place in front of the firing squad and the Alcalde is just about to give the order to fire....and then Bunny Wigglesworth shows up with his whip, dressed as a second Zorro. It throws the whole scene into so much chaos that in the end the Alcalde himself ends up not just losing, but getting arrested by his own men.
  • In Money Movers, Griffiths, the head of security, arrives in the counting house with several guards just in time to shoot Eric is about to kill Leo, and mop up what is left of the robbers.
  • Just like in real life, in the climax of Waterloo the Prussians arrive in the nick of time to reinforce Wellington's army, which the film dramatizes into a one giant charge lead by Prince Blücher in person.
  • Ghost Rock: When Johnny and Savannah stand in the main street of Ghost Rock for the final showdown with Pickett's mooks, they are expecting about 10 men. There turns out to be a lot more than 10. As this is sinking in, Moses and the other Texas Rangers come galloping into town to tip the odds.
  • Gentlemen Explorers: When the heroes are pinned down by the Prussians, they are saved by the arrival of Tavington and his agents. There arrival is even accompanied by a bugle playing charge: seemingly coming from nowhere.
  • At the climax Thunderheart, Roy and Walter are trapped at the Stronghold by Frank Coutelle, Jack Milton and the GOONs. Just it looks like it's all over for them, armed ARM Members brought by Grandpa appear on the rim of the canyon surrounding them and the GOONs realise that they are outnumbered and outgunned.
  • Werewolves Within: Emerson Flint shows up at the end to save Flinn from Werewolf Cecily. Then Jeanine saves them both when Cecily tries to get them from behind.
  • In Eternal, a badly wounded Pope throws a knife into Elizabeth's back, and she topples forward into her Blood Bath. Just as he thinks her has killed her, she rises from the tub, covered in blood,and turns towards him menacingly. Just it looks all over for him, Inspector Thurzo and a band of heavily armed Italian SWAT cops burst through the door and capture her.

  • Beware of Chicken: The disciples of Fa Ram fight valiantly, and surprise their attackers with their skill, but are gradually being worn down, until Jin and the rest of the spirit beasts arrive. Complete with Xiulan getting suddenly shielded from a fireball that wouldn't have left even ashes, and Yun Ren's attacker being plucked out of the air while charging.
  • Gotrek & Felix: In Daemonslayer, at the end of the first Skaven assault on the dwarf outpost, the defenders are badly drained and outnumbered after and fight they were unprepared for and are about to be rushed by the regrouped Skaven army, and their lot looks extremely dire — until a flight of gyrocopters arrives, starts bombing the Skaven and sends their army into a rout.
  • Honor Harrington: More than one of the ugliest battles has occurred in the interval between the Cavalry arriving and actually coming in range to support her. Such is the danger of belonging to one of the few sci-fi writers who DOES have a sense of scale.
    • One of the earlier examples, Honor of the Queen, had Honor needlessly pursuing a badly mis-matched battle with an enemy battlecruiser because she did not know the Cavalry had already arrived, due to her ship's sensor suite being smashed. The first indication she has that she is no longer out-gunned is when the enemy battlecruiser abruptly maneuvers to defend itself from an incoming Manticoran Missile Massacre.
    • A slower-motion version happened in Mission of Honor and A Rising Thunder. The Manticorans and their Grayson allies have had their weapons production facilities wrecked in a Mesan sneak attack, and they find out a massive Solarian fleet is coming to invade. While they're confident they can beat back the attack, it will use up their now-precious ammunition stores leaving them in a strategically bad position, not to mention they can't pull back all their forces to defend the Manticore System because they're still technically in conflict with the Republic of Haven. Then President Eloise Pritchart shows up with a peace treaty to finally end the Manticoran-Haven War, an offer of a formal alliance, and a few hundred Havenite capital warships (which, thanks to a good twenty years of Level Grinding, are nearly as badass as Manticore's) to help defend the Star Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth takes her up on all three. The resulting battle is so one-sided that Weber doesn't even bother to describe most of it.
  • In The Heroes of Olympus, this is the Amazon reinforcements in New Rome.
  • In The Phantom Tollbooth, the demons are pursuing the escaping heroes and princesses when the heroes reach the assembled armies of Wisdom, all the goofy anthropomorphic personifications that Milo met on his journey.
  • The General Series: General Raj Whitehall only occasionally needs to be rescued by his cavalry, mounted on half-ton 'wardogs' ranging from collies to Newfoundlands, bred to serve the purpose of horses in real life.
  • In the novel 1632, Grantville is being attacked by some ruthless mercenaries (who have been paid by Cardinal Richeliu to destroy Grantville since it threatens his plans). Although holding their own, they are slowly being outmatched, since their main army has been lured away and won't make it back in time. Then, in a Big Damn Heroes moment, the crazy Captain Gars and his men (who spotted the mercenaries and have been rushing to Grantville to help) add reinforcements to drive the mercenaries back. And to crown the whole thing, "Gars" is in fact an acronym. It stands for Gustavus Adolphus Rex Sueciae. Grantville's rescuer was none other than the King of Sweden!
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • When the wildling siege at the wall appears to be overwhelming, Stannis Baratheon arrives with a thousand armored knights and puts the wildlings to flight.
    • At the Battle of the Blackwater, Mace Tyrell and Tywin Lannister show up in the nick of time to save King's Landing from Stannis.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • The Lord of the Rings: The Riders of Rohan would appear to have this down to an art. They pull it off twice and, like any good Cavalry unit, know to time their arrival for the most dramatic moment. In the battle of the Hornburg, Gandalf and Erkenbrand lead a charge of Rohirrim infantry to aid the army riding out from the besieged citadel. In the siege of Minas Tirith the Rohirrim arrive just as the main gate to the city has fallen.
    • And the Rohirrim were given their lands because of their first, most successful Cavalry moment, when Eorl came to help Gondor all the way from the Northern lands.
    • The Riders of Rohan are amateurs when compared to the Eagles, however, who make a business out of showing up at the last moment to save the day, though some of the instances count more as an in-universe Deus ex Machina. They do it four times in The Lord of the Rings by saving Gandalf from Isengard, saving him again when he's stranded in the mountains after killing the Balrog, at the battle for the Black Gate by attacking the Nazgûl, and then helping Gandalf rescue Frodo and Sam. They do it twice in The Hobbit, once to rescue Bilbo, Gandalf, and the dwarves from being roasted by goblins, and again at the Battle of Five Armies. They make multiple appearances in The Silmarillion, swooping out of nowhere to save Maedhros who was chained to Thangorodrim, slashing Morgoth's face and saving Fingolfin's corpse, saving Beren and Lúthien from Angband, knocking Orcs off a cliff to save the survivors of Gondolin, and showing up with Eärendil to take down Morgoth's winged dragons in the final battle at Angband. Their leader Gwaihir seems to have made it his personal mission to pull Gandalf's fat out of the fire as often as possible, having done so at least five times. However, there's very little activity from the Eagles outside of this, since they are specifically at Manwë's command and Manwë doesn't wish to intervene too often.
  • In Edgar Allan Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum", the protagonist is saved in the nick of time by General Lasalle's army after all of his own attempts to escape have failed.
  • Dale Brown's novel Silver Tower. The carrier U.S.S. Nimitz and its escort group have taken several hits from Soviet cruise missiles, and even more missiles are approaching. At the last second, the laser on the Silver Tower space station (which had been malfunctioning earlier) finally comes online and blasts the Soviet missiles out of the sky like clay pigeons, saving the ships from destruction.
    • In Fatal Terrain, the previously-secret Taiwanese Kai-Shan Military Complex is under Chinese bombardment when USN and USAF assets show up.
    • In Air Battle Force Hal Briggs is about to be on the receiving end of a Hind's weapons when Turabi and his Taliban men save his ass.
  • In Ben Counter's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Galaxy in Flames, Tarvitz gets the loyalist Emperor's Children to disengage, and join him. Then the Turncoat Lucius attacks him — but the Children arrive in time to stop him. AND then engage in the counter-attack that Tarvitz had planned.
  • In Chasing Shadows, just when it looks like Wiry's about to get away with knowledge of how to find Savitri and Holly, Holly's dad and other police show up to arrest him.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files:
    • Storm Front, Morgan walks into the end of the climatic fight and swings his sword toward Harry, who is falling unconscious. He regains consciousness to find Morgan administering CPR; Harry had, after all, saved himself from falling into a maelstrom of magic by chaining himself to a burning building, and Morgan had to get him free somehow.
    • In White Night, Harry opens a Way in the climactic battle ... and massive reinforcements arrive. Nowhere near as many as the enemy, but such is the life of Harry Dresden. It turns out afterwards that he made a significant deal to get those reinforcements, though.
    • In Changes, Harry and his small group of allies are utterly surrounded by an army of the Red Court, and while they are holding their own, they can't hope to win against tens of thousands of vampires, half-vampire minions, and mercenaries. Then the Leanansidhe opens a lightning gate that allows the Grey Council (which includes both Blackstaff McCoy and fucking Odin!) to teleport in along with an army of kenku.
    • Harry leads the reinforcements in Cold Days, in the form of The Wild Hunt.
    • Battle Ground: During the Final Battle Molly's army and the Wild Hunt show up as reinforcements when it looks like Mab's forces are about to be overrun, and then shortly after when it looks like Ethniu is about to wipe out the remaining defenders, Marcone arrives with The Alliance's remaining forces, turning the tide in the heroes' favor again.
  • Deconstructed in the Sienkiewicz Trilogy's With Fire and Sword. Yes, the cavalry comes, but two of the main characters have to go on a suicide mission through enemy lines to call for it, and one of them actually is killed. The other one also nearly dies of starvation and exhaustion.
  • Dawn of War: In Chris Roberson's novel Dawn of War II, they fear that the shadow the Tyranids have cast on the warp will prevent this, and they are fighting a Last Stand, but the Third Company arrives in time.
  • In Chris Roberson's Sons of Dorn, the rest of the Imperial Fist forces return when the scouts have managed to draw out the full Chaos forces. There are even five survivors in the forces they left.
  • In Lee Lightner's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Sons of Fenris, the Dark Angels continue pulling out of the system even when a Chaos ship appeared. The Space Wolves go to fight alone — and the Dark Angels reappear, flanking the enemy. Whereupon they explain that they had intended that all along, but could not exactly tell the Space Wolves their plan over an open communication link.
    • Especially good because the Dark Angels and Space Wolves can't stand each other. Though it's more of a friendly rivalry.
  • Late in the fourth book of The Wheel of Time, Perrin arranges for Faile to get to safety while he prepares his village's Last Stand. Faile doesn't get herself to safety, but instead rallies the northern village to become this. The southern village did so of its own accord.
    • Rescuing Rand at Dumai's Well, the Asha'man appear to turn the tide.
    • Rand later rescues Bashere and co. at the Blight, drawing so much of the One Power that the muggles could sense it and he nearly started the Last Battle on his own.
    • Mat and Tuon pretend that there was a split in the forces of Good between the Aes Sedai and Seancha during the Last Battle. This allowed the latter force to sweep back in at a critical and dramatic moment.
    • The Sharans for the Trolloc hordes during the Last Battle.
    • The Heroes of the Horn are exactly that in the last book of The Wheel of Time. They literally appear out of nowhere and attack the Dark One's forces. They don't actually overwhelm the bad guys, but their surprise appearance and attack is enough to turn a confuse situation into a clear good guys victory.
  • In David Weber's In Fury Born a unit of the Imperial Cadre, the elite forces of the army, is betrayed by its intelligence officer and drops from orbit straight into strong anti-aircraft fire and prepared positions. They then have to fight across long distance and through many enemies in order to disable said anti-aircraft to allow The Cavalry (in this instance, Marines in ordinary dropships, as opposed to Cadremen in fast drop pods) to land. Out of 250-some original members of the unit, nine survive.
  • In James Swallow's Black Tide, there are no less than three arrivals of the Cavalry: Vetch to save Rafen and Tarikus; Killian and the other prisoners to save Rafen, Vetch, and Tarikus; and Noxx and the squad to save the prisoners fighting the splices.
  • In Mikhail Akhmanov's Dark Skies, a human colony is under occupation by a race of Lizard Folk. The protagonist leads La Rsistance in a daring attempt to behead the occupational forces by killing the Clan Elder using a cache of weapons hidden during the previous war. Unfortunately, the operation fails, and the rebels are being besieged by a massive force of enemy soldiers who do not value life (neither theirs nor ours). Just as the situation seems bleak, the rebels, who are holed up underground, hear explosions on the surface, which the war veterans immediately recognize as those used by The Federation fleet. While the protagonist attempted to call for help earlier, he didn't know when or if the help would come.
    • Subverted in the beginning of the novel when a similar attempt to be the Big Damn Heroes ends in disaster when the occupational forces turn out to be a lot more numerous than expected, and all but one rescuers are killed.
  • In the Legacy of the Aldenata, the ACS often serve in this role, particularly the units headed by Mike O'Neal, Jr. In one charge to the rescue in Gust Front, at the battle in Washington, DC he even plays Yellow Ribbon, the anthem for the US Cavalry, over the suit speakers.
  • Harry Potter
    • Near the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Harry's DA friends are all wounded to the point of being taken out of the fight, with most of them unconscious with only Nevile and Harry retaining their wands before Nevile gets taken hostage and Harry finds himself surrounded by Death Eaters and the cavalry arrives in the form of the Order of the Phoenix who save Harry and the rest of the students handily.
    • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the cavalry arrives during the Battle of Hogwarts: Harry seems to have died, Voldemort has set the Sorting Hat on fire while Neville is wearing it, the Death Eaters seem to have won... and suddenly there are four cavalries coming at the same time: an army of centaurs from the forest, Buckbeak the hippogriff leading a pack of Thestrals, the house-elves from the kitchens, and Professor Slughorn, an old man thought to have left Hogwarts, who actually went to gather reinforcements and led the inhabitants of the town of Hogsmeade and the relatives of the Hogwarts students in a charge that finally turns the tables against the Death Eaters.
  • Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Scarlet Citadel" ends with The Siege being lifted by such a force.
  • In the last Percy Jackson and the Olympians book, Typhon is heading for New York, while eleven of the twelve Olympians are attacking in vain. Suddenly, Poseidon and his forces abandon their battle in the ocean to fight Typhon, and finally the tables turn in favor of the Olympians.
    • There are three other cavalry moments in the same book: The Party Ponies, the Ares cabin and finally Nico, Hades and the army of the dead.
      • The Party Ponies also act as the cavalry in the second book, The Sea of Monsters.
    • The Hunters of Artemis fill this role early in the third book, though Thalia in particular is less than appreciative of the rescue.
  • A Conspiracy of Kings, the fourth book in the Queen's Thief series has an in-universe inversion. Sounis and his army are basically running from the Medes, but are saved by the Attolian army who were just over the hill. Attolis thought Sounis was delaying the Medes, with full knowledge of the waiting backup, but it turns out Sounis was running on blind faith, and had no knowledge of the Attolians.
  • Jesus and His army of saints coming from heaven in the Left Behind book Glorious Appearing, which one character refers to as the "Calvary cavalry". However, Jesus does all the fighting with the Word Of God while His army does all the praising.
  • Animorphs: During the fourth book, the Animorphs save a 'great one' - a whale, though their dolphin morphs think of it as a 'great one', and the whale thinks of them as 'little ones' - from an attack by sharks (and dolphins really do not like sharks, particularly when sharks are attacking a great one). Later on, Visser Three comes after the Animorphs in his own morph (a very, very big sea-going creature from another planet), trying to kill or capture them. The Animorphs send out a cry for help via echolocation. Cue two massive sperm whales, two slightly smaller ones, and the great humpback that they saved from the sharks earlier. Sixty feet long and weighing in at approximately sixty-five tons each, tearing in at absolute top speed to first ram Visser Three's morph, and then subsequently start beating the life out of him with their tails, using blows that are described as being quite capable of knocking entire walls down. The exact same thing happens in book 36, oddly enough, also involving whales.
  • In the Tom Clancy novel Red Storm Rising the submarines Chicago, Boston and Providence undertake a cruise missile attack on a Soviet bomber base. After the mission the three are jumped by a Soviet submarine which destroys Boston and Providence. The Chicago is saved by the sudden appearance (and the torpedoes) of the British sub Torbay.
  • In the climax of the Lois McMaster Bujold novel The Vor Game, the Prince Serg is this to the Dendarii Mercenaries.
  • In Wen Spencer's Tinker, elves show up to stop the men harassing Oilcan and Tinker.
  • Trapped on Draconica: When Team Good is captured and helpless the Eastern Alliance army arrives to save the day.
  • William Sanders's Journey to Fusang is an alternative history in which Europe lost out to China and the Arabs in the race to colonize the New World. The Big Bad is a Mongol warlord who wants his piece of North America. The hero escapes from the villain and is chased through the desert by Asian horsemen, He is saved by the timely arrival of some Native Americans. Yep, he says it: "If those savages hadn't arrived in the nick of time, those cavalrymen would have killed us."
  • In the Judge Dee story The Night of the Tiger, the characters need a literal cavalry to save them from bandits, but the road has been cut by a flooded river. Right after The Summation, the cavalry charges in... atop a warship.
  • In Andre Norton's Storm Over Warlock, Shann is a Throg prisoner, strapped to a frame to enable his being tortured to death. Thorvald and the Wyverns send a mist that traps their minds; then Thorvald arrives in person to free him.
  • W.E. Johns has pulled this trick multiple times in the Biggles series, but two examples stand out:
    • "The Packet" - Biggles has retrieved a parcel of stolen German plans and is on the way home, but six enemy fighters bar his path. Suddenly they scatter as if terrified of him, and he wonders what the hell is going on until he looks around and behind him and sees four of his own squadron formating on his wingtips and behind him. Lampshaded in-universe as he curses himself for not even noticing aircraft coming in behind him.
    • Biggles and the Black Peril - Biggles and friends are fleeing Russia in an unarmed civilian aircraft and are being pursued by enemy fighters. It looks grim for them, but suddenly the Russians scatter and flee... because British carrier-launched fighters are bearing down on them. Vaguely foreshadowed, so it (just) escapes being a Deus ex Machina.
  • This trope zig-zags back and forth to the point of whiplash in the lead-up to the climax of Geoph Essex's Lovely Assistant. First Jenny's friends show up to rescue her from the Big Bads...but that doesn't turn out so well. Hinkley zooms in just in time a few moments later, and Rex shows up at another key moment...but things have already escalated. Finally playing it straight, all of the Angels of Death come charging in on horseback to save the day. (Well, to help, anyway.)
  • In Of Fear and Faith, August is nearly killed by Fear before he's saved at the last minute by Luthian, who proceeds to kick Fear's ass with his magic and save the day. And he gives August a Cool Sword as a gift to boot!
  • Near the climax of Spheres of Influence, Son Wu Kung and his air whale fleet.
  • The Cavalry: The Rifter: Kahlirashim warrior-priests arriving in Gisa, to the aid of a crowd of townspeople attempting to stop rashanim soldiers from taking away prisoners accused of witchcraft. Not a Deus ex Machina because the reason for their arrival has been set up in the previous chapter: Hannyu wrote to everyone he could think of, including the kahlirashim, about what the Payshmura were doing to prisoners; hes heard expressing the hope that someone paid attention.

    Also, the Rifter, a one-man (or -god) army, breaking the siege of Vundomu.
  • The Maze Runner: Chancellor Paige is this at the end of The Death Cure. She finally sees that WICKED has gone too far and implements her plan to get the rest of the Immunes away to safety so that the human race can survive, which she begins by rescuing Thomas from an imminent cranioectomy. Notably, Paige herself never appears in person in the series.
  • Subverted, horrifically, in Judith Merril's 1953 "Dead Center." Possibly a response to Destination Moon and all those space adventures where The Hero makes it okay with his American ingenuity and know-how And Mission Control Rejoiced. "Dead Center" is a stark, simple Greek tragedy that makes The Cold Equations look like a pink tea party.
  • In a mission gone wrong in Invasion of Kzarch, a force of marines and Kzarchians are busy fleeing a much larger and more powerful pirate group. After several, increasingly desperate break-outs, our heroes are finally cornered, and about to make their last stand... when from nowhere a large group of reinforcements appear, whose counter-attack ends the pirates' advance, and routs them.
  • Dramatically subverted near the beginning of The Witling. Yoninne and Ajão are hiding in the wilderness of an unfamiliar planet, and the natives are closing in. They've called for backup, and they're pretty confident that the ferry's landing jets will scare off the natives—but then the ferry crashes. And the natives aren't the least bit fazed by the explosion. And they almost definitely made the ship crash with their newly-revealed Psychic Powers.
  • In Poul Anderson's Three-Cornered Wheel, the natives arrive to save young David Falkayn from attack.
  • Subverted in the Nameless War series, as Captain Faith Willis, commanding officer of the squadron of elderly warships nicknamed the Geriatrics, receives word that that the relief force she has been desperately hoping for is still days away.
  • Alex Rider: In Skeleton Key, Alex is about to be killed by The Dragon when the Russian navy storm the base. Although Alex still has to defeat The Dragon by himself, the raid provides the necessary distraction for him to do so, and disposes of the rest of Sarov's Mooks.
  • In the last chapter of Sard Harker, Harker and Margarita are in the villain's clutches and all seems lost when Don Miguel and his men show up to rescue them. Lampshaded afterward by Don Miguel, who offers to explain "what brings me here, so like the Deus in the play."
  • In one of the Stephanie Plum books, Sizzling Sixteen, Stephanie and her stoner friend, Mooner, are captured by the Big Bad of the book and taken to his castle-like house, with the villain, assuming that Mooner is Stephanie's cousin, Vinnie, planning to cut his nuts off after he has something to eat. It's during this that the real Vinnie arrives with a group of people attending a Hobbit-Con that Mooner is in charge of (along with Stephanie's friends and the FBI), with the "hobbits" taking out the goons and Vinnie knocking out the Big Bad with the "Lucky" bottle that belonged to Stephanie's deceased uncle, Pip.
  • The Tribe: In the second book, "Camp Cannibal", Sully leads the campers from the girls' side of Camp New Leaf in an attack on Peashooter's Tribe, saving all the campers' parents, and Spencer and his friends, from death.
  • Trueman Bradley: Just before Chief Stokowski is about to murder Trueman with an axe, Buckley bursts in and begins fighting with him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Melinda May (a member of Team Coulson) has been nicknamed "The Cavalry" behind her back, after single-handedly rescuing an entire SHIELD tactical team in Bahrain. However, she hates being called that and won't discuss the incident that earned it. We learn later in the series that she killed a homicidal, mind-controlling child in order to save the team, which led to her crossing the Despair Event Horizon, the breakdown of her marriage, and her reassignment to a desk job. She continues to show up Just in Time to save the day.
  • Babylon 5:
    • In "Severed Dreams", Delenn never looked so beautiful to Capt. John Sheridan as when she swooped out of hyperspace when all seemed hopeless for the besieged space station with four near invincible warships at the last minute to tell the Earth Alliance ships:
      Delenn: This is Ambassador Delenn of the Minbari. Babylon 5 is under our protection. Withdraw or be destroyed.
      Earthforce Captain: Negative. We have authority here. Do not force us to engage your ship.
      Delenn: Why not? Only one human captain has ever survived battle with a Minbari fleet. He is behind me. You are in front of me. If you value your lives, be somewhere else.
      • Sheridan later tells her it was the finest moment of his life.
    • In "Endgame", former President Clark had turned Earth's orbital defense platforms on Earth itself. Sheridan's ship is the only ship within range of one that is about to fire and destroy half the eastern coast of the United States. With weapons out they have to ram it in order to destroy it taking themselves with it. Another Earth ship which had been able to get itself going after being earlier sabotaged by Sheridan's forces arrives and blows the defense platform up.
      • From the same episode, the battle had initially been between Sheridan's EarthForce ships and the global defence satellites, because he wanted to avoid the appearance of an alien invasion of Earth. Once the satellites begin preparing to fire on Earth itself, Sheridan calls in the Cavalry.
      Sheridan: We need you, Delenn.
      Delenn: We are there.
    • "A View from the Gallery" has the crew and inhabitants of the titular station holding up against an alien attack until the cavalry, in the form of the White Star fleet, arrives.
  • Band of Brothers: The Shermans in episode 3. Easy was under heavy attack and Dog and Fox companies had retreated.
    • Played with in episode 6 where the point is made that Easy Company and the 101st Airborne have never agreed with the story that they were "rescued", as Patton said, by the Third Army.
  • Banshee: Carrie, Sugar, Job, and the deputies go to rescue Lucas after he trades himself to Mr. Rabbit in exchange for Max.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer joked about it in the 2nd season finale. Buffy goes to face Angel, and Xander shows up.
    Xander: Cavalry's here. Cavalry's a frightened guy with a rock, but it's here.
  • The Burn Notice fourth season finale has Michael, Fiona, and Jesse in a half-built hotel, looking to go all Wild Bunch when Sam comes in with the frickin' army.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Mind of Evil", The Brigadier and UNIT stage their Storming the Castle at the right time to save the Doctor from a sticky predicament.
    • In "Revenge of the Cybermen", Sarah and Harry are cornered in the caves by Vorus' guards who are about to kill them, when a voice calls out they are surrounded and orders them to put their guns down. This is Tyrum's militia who step out of hiding and reveal they have the guards surrounded.
    • "Doomsday": A squad of the Preachers beams in from the alternate universe and seizes control of Torchwood's lever room just in time to save the Doctor. Later on, they storm the sphere room along with the Cybermen to help rescue Rose and Mickey from the Daleks.
    • "The Poison Sky": UNIT have been forced from the ATMOS factory by the Sontarans. Then Colonel Mace calls in the Cavalry in the form of the flying aircraft carrier, Valiant.
    • "The Day of the Doctor": The Daleks have surrounded Gallifrey and are firing constantly on the planet. Then all 13 incarnations of the Doctor arrive and place Gallifrey in another Universe, meaning the Daleks fire on each other and are (almost entirely) destroyed.
    • "The Time of the Doctor": Just when all hope is lost, the Time Lords of all people pull one for the Doctor. By sending him a brand new set of regenerations, giving him enough energy to destroy the attacking Daleks, thus saving the day.
  • Averted in the opening episode of Firefly during the Battle of Serenity Valley. The badly outgunned Independent soldiers start celebrating as they hear ships come overhead, thinking their air support's arrived to save them. Except the ships are actually Alliance reinforcements, and the Browncoats are well and truly screwed.
  • A French Village: Müller and Hortense are rescued by American soldiers before he's about to be shot by SS border guards for desertion (with her condemned for being with him) who arrive Just in Time.
  • Frontier Circus: Casey and a gang of roustabouts come charging to Ben and Tony's rescue when they are pinned down by enemy gunfire while attempting to escape from the mine in "Patriarch of Purgatory".
  • Played for Laughs in the pilot episode and first season opening credits of F Troop: Wilton Parmenter, wimpy scion of a military family, while failing to control his horse during a Civil War battle, sneezes. This is taken for an order to charge; the resulting massive cavalry charge wins the battle. Parmenter wins the Medal of Honor and a field commission and is assigned to command the bumbling F Troop.
  • Game of Thrones: Usually a literal example, given the setting:
    • In "Blackwater", a villainous example, as Baratheon forces are about to overwhelm King's Landing, Cersei is at the point of killing both herself and Tommen to avoid capture, when a joint Lannister-Tyrell army sweep in from behind and rout Stannis' army..
    • In "Battle of the Bastards", just when the Stark loyalists are down to a handful, and the Bolton army has them hopelessly outnumbered and surrounded, literal horns call attention to the horizon, as the Knights of the Vale storm the battlefield, under Sansa and Littlefinger's command. They proceed to wipe out the entire Bolton army, thus allowing Jon Snow to make the final push into Winterfell, winning the battle against all odds.
    • After spending Season 4 trying to get funds and men for his cause, Stannis Baratheon is able to become this in "The Children", when his mounted forces arrive to save the Night's Watch from sure defeat by using a pincer attack to effectively rout and capture the wildling army.
  • House of the Dragon: Rhaenyra Targaryen to Otto Hightower and his men at Dragonstone when the latter come to Daemon to retrieve a dragon egg he stole. Things are about to turn violent, and their opponents have a massive dragon in their corner, when she shows up and solves the issue with a talk to her uncle, who then surrenders the egg.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The army of Númenor arrives just in time to save Arondir, Bronwyn, Theo, and the surviving villagers, routing and capturing Adar and his army of orcs.
  • At the climax the third episode of The Mandalorian, the eponymous character and the child are pinned down by a Carnival of Killers from all sides with no chance of escape. The Mandalorian starts making peace with his inevitable death, when suddenly, a random missile blast shoots down one of the snipers. Everyone looks up in confusion to the sight of a dozen Mandalorians on rocket packs charging in guns blazing to cover their comrade's retreat.
  • At the end of the fourth season of Merlin, Arthur's band of loyalists had been whittled down to Merlin and Guinevere. Then the Dragon (somehow) manages to find everyone who escaped Morgana's attack on Camelot and gathers them together at the Sword in the Stone, resulting in a ready-made army of knights and civilians just waiting for Arthur's return. Around the same time, Tristan and Isolde also agreed to fight alongside Arthur.
  • During the The Orville's two-parter Wham Episode "Identity", Earth is under attack, and things seem hopeless...until Kelly and Gordon show up last minute with back-up from the Krill.
  • Psych: Shawn and Gus often have to be bailed out of near-death situations by the police, as they regularly rush to confront episode villains by themselves. (Which is a poor decision, given that they're unarmed and untrained in combat while the villains are, y'know, murderers.)
  • In one episode of The Saint, Simon Templar actually refers to a useful group of friendly sailors as "the cavalry" after they burst in and beat up the bad guy's Mooks for him.
  • The Richard Sharpe adventure Sharpe's Peril concluded in just such a fashion, with the British cavalry arriving (led by Barabbas Hakeswill, a character whose loyalty had been ambiguous until now) just in time to break the siege, give Sharpe a chance to defeat the villain and generally save the day.
  • In the finale of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Agron and Nasir arrive just in time to save Spartacus's life. Well, almost; he's already fatally wounded, but they prevent Crassus from delivering the coup de grace, and ensure he dies free.
  • Stargate:
    • In Stargate SG-1 the arrival of the Prometheus and its fighters to protect SG-1's defenseless cargo ship in the season 7 finale is a definite cavalry moment.
      Bra'tac: They will be in firing range in thirty seconds. More ships approach from the opposite direction.
      Carter: Sir! We are about to get our asses kick...!
      Bra'tac: They are not Goa'uld...
      • The Goa'uld system lords do it to SG-1 in an earlier episode, as Ba'al and his fleet come out of hyperspace and immediately begin bombing the crap out of Anubis' mothership before it can make it to orbit.
      • And the Asgard pull one on Anubis' mooks on his first appearance, Freyr arriving with 2 O'Neill-class cruisers, both outgunning and out-numbering Anubis' Hatak, in an effort to convince them to let SG-1 go.
      • Then there was the time Colonel Makepeace lead four SG teams to rescue SG-1 from Hathor. It did not go so smoothly and they had to be rescued by MORE cavalry, this time in the form of some rebel Jaffa, with air support provided by Bra'tac and General Hammond in a needle threader.
      • Hell the first appearance of the Asgard is this, as the audience gets its introduction to Thor's Chariot.
      • A pretty crap version of this plays out during the Ori invasion arc. A storyline about Teal'c going to get some reinforcements from the local drug dealers, after much angst and wailing, the attack starts, but wait! The drug dealer guys come through. With 3 Hatak (which have been cannon fodder for about 6 seasons), 2 of which get promptly blown out of the sky.
    • The arrival of the Daedalus in the 2nd season premiere of Stargate Atlantis.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Defector". The Enterprise is lured into The Neutral Zone and trapped by two Romulan ships. It looks like the end, but then Picard gives the word and three Klingon ships decloak as the Klingon theme blares. The Romulans eventually back down and retreat.
    • The writers wanted to have a larger force of Klingon ships appear. Unfortunately, they could barely fit those six ships on the screen without zooming out so far that they'd all look too small for a suitably dramatic scene.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • The Federation task force in "Sacrifice of Angels" is saved when the Klingons come screaming in from out of the sun.
    • Martok also decloaked and started shooting right as the Jem'Hadar were about to attack Defiant in "A Call to Arms," when she was constructing the all-important mine field in front of the Wormhole, and thus would have been unable to fight back. Martok played the cavalry a good number of times, actually.
    • In "What You Leave Behind", it was the Cardassians who saved Defiant when the fleet defected en masse on learning that the Founders were ordering the extermination of Cardassian civilians.
  • In the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Zero Hour," Shran shows up in the nick of time and attacks the Xindi superweapon's escort ship—which was about to shoot down the shuttle carrying Archer and the team of commandos who would eventually take down that weapon from within.
  • In an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, holo-Nazis are bearing down on the heroes. All hope seems lost... That is until some holographic and very drunk Klingons show up!
  • Star Trek: Discovery has several examples:
    • When the USS Shenzhou is facing off against the combined fleet of all the Klingon Houses, a dozen or so other Starfleet vessels arrive to reinforce her and to make the Klingons think twice about doing something violent. On the DVD, the scene is even called "The Cavalry Arrives". Subverted in that this is exactly what T'Kuvma was hoping for, as his plan is to start a shooting war with the Federation in order to unite the disparate Houses under a single banner.
    • The USS Discovery uses her experimental spore drive to save the miners of Corvan II, whose colony is being strafed by Klingon vessels.
    • The Discovery then fails to save the USS Gagarin, which is still destroyed by the Klingons despite the Dynamic Entry.
    • During the Final Battle of season 2, the Klingon fleet (a cleave ship, which also serves as L'Rell's flagship, and a number of D7s) arrives to assist the Discovery and the Enterprise against Control's fleet of Section 31 ships. The Kelpiens also arrive, led by Saru's sister Siranna and piloting Ba'ul fighters.
    "Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam!"
  • In the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds episode "A Quality of Mercy" (which is basically a retelling of the classic episode "Balance of Terror" but with Pike in command of the Enterprise), Pike's attempts at a peaceful resolution backfire horribly when a Romulan armada led by the Praetor herself arrives to the Neutral Zone and reveals their intent to wage war of the Federation, as Pike's more restrained actions have demonstrated Starfleet's weakness to them. Suddenly a fleet of ships warps in to back up the Enterprise. They're actually unmanned mining ships controlled by Kirk. Pike tries to bluff the Romulans with his new "Delta-class attack ships", but the Praetor isn't convinced and attacks anyway. The drones do help the Enterprise get away even after sustaining heavy damage.
  • World on Fire: Kasia is being sent to the gallows with other Polish prisoners when resistance fighters attack and rescue her.
  • Zero (2021): Anna flees her kidnappers after Omar freed her, then the police arrive to arrest them all, called in by Sharif.

  • The Sabaton song "Winged Hussars" (from The Last Stand) is about the Battle of Vienna in 1683, which partly inspired the siege of Minas Tirith in The Lord of the Rings. The Ottoman Army had the city surrounded and was working on breaching the walls, but a relief army led by Polish heavy cavalry under King John III Sobieski arrived in the nick of time and hit the Ottomans from behind.

  • In the final episode of In Strange Woods, Lexy and John Francis mobilize a rescue team to save Peregrine and Shane when a snowstorm hits during the Final.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • When the NOAH exodus initiated by Mitsuharu Misawa departure seemed to have killed All Japan Pro Wrestling, Genichiro Tenryu, a wrestler AJPW founder Giant Baba himself said would never work for the company again when he had lead a similar exodus years earlier to Super World Of Sports, returned, and he brought the roster from his own Wrestling Association R with him to keep All Japan afloat.
  • This was The Gimmick of the Acolyte Protection Agency. As long as they were paid they would come running whenever their sponsor was in trouble, because they need beer money!
  • At ROH Homecoming 2012, The Briscoes faced the thrown-together CHIKARA team of Jigsaw and Hallowicked. Mark made the mistake of messing with Hallowicked's mask and CHIKARA regulars (Fire Ant and Green Ant, Frightmare, Mike Quackenbush...) started crawling out of the woodwork. Jay tried to take them out before they could do anything, starting with Dasher Hatfield and Saturyne, but UltraMantis Black directed the rest to cut him off and overwhelm the Briscoes.

  • Several such events take place in The Goon Show. For example, "Tales of Men's Shirts", which was set in occupied Europe during World War II, ended with the American 5th Cavalry charging in out of nowhere.

  • Westeros: An American Musical: The Tyrell army shows up to help one of the sides in "The Siege of King's Landing" effectively tipping the scales in its favor.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat:
    • In Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, at the end of mission 12, having destroyed the enemies' nuclear catalyst the Garuda team is ambushed by a huge amount of enemy fighters, after holding out for awhile the entire Emmerian Air Force shows up and saves the day, all while one of the best songs in the game plays in the background.
    • In Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, mission 17 ends the same way. Huge enemy ambush, Chopper dies, and reinforcements finally show up right about when you run out of missiles.
    • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War has the player and his wingman as The Cavalry in a couple battles, particularly the second mission over the Round Table. Allied air units are being shredded by the Belkan Air Force, Galm Team shows up and just eats them alive.
      • Made more awesome because everytime Galm Team shows up, the Belkan Air Force collectively craps it's pants.
  • Advance Wars: Dual Strike: Villainous example. The fourth mission in the game give you just 7 turns to beat Lash before Flak and his troops arrive and curb-stomp you right into an instant game over.
  • In the 30th scenario of Age of Mythology, you control Arkantos and the others as they try to defend against the overwhelming forces of Gargarensis, Kemsyt, Loki, and some Giant tribes. 20 minutes into the second objective, Odysseus rushes in with a massive army of Centaurs, Hetaroi, Myrmidons, and Hoplites that you use to take down the Big Bad.
    • This is also played completely straight in a suspiciously similar way in the very first scenario of the campaign, when a lot of heroes rush in to defend Atlantis at the end of the scenario as hordes of pirates land on the beach and you're just getting overwhelmed.
  • Battle for Wesnoth:
    • Heir to the Throne: If the turns runs out before you defeat the orcish leader in "Blackwater Port" (on harder difficulty, it's likely that you are the one at disadvantage), a literal cavalry appears to scare the orcs into retreating, so you still win though without the bonus you would get if you defeat him.
    • Son Of The Black Eye: At the end of "Clash of Armies", Earl Lanbec'h and his elvish and dwarvish allies Thelarion and Durstang have been besieging the Orcish city of Prestim for four days when the Shamans of the Orcish Great Council show up, with the Great Horde behind them ready to steamroll the opposition. Lanbec'h retreats immediately, and the player wins the mission by simply having held out that long.
  • At the end of Bendy and the Ink Machine Chapter 4, Henry has just defeated his pal Boris, who was Reforged into a Minion when Susie Campbell shouts "No!!! No! No! ... Why can't you ever just die?" and charges at him with a knife. However, she is stabbed In the Back by a newcomer, Allison Angel, who has Tom Boris with her.
  • Played straight in Call of Duty 2. After Dog Company takes Pointe du Hoc and destroys the artillery, the Germans launch a counterattack, forcing them to retreat all the way back to the cliffs. When it seems like the final members of Dog Company are about to be overwhelmed, troops and tanks from Omaha Beach finally come to the rescue.
    • Averted entirely in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. In the last missions, the combined US Marine/British SAS team calls for the "Good" Russians to help save them from the bad guys who are hot on their tail. Unfortunately, The Russians arrive, 5 minutes too late, just in time to possibly save the main character and far too late to save most of the others. However, a Russian helicopter did distract the Big Bad and his henchmen, giving Captain Price an opening to slide his M1911A1 to the main character.
    • Modern Warfare 2, confirms that Soap and Price were indeed saved by the Russians, in the latter case only to be lost in the system and imprisoned in some hellhole gulag.
    • In Modern Warfare 3, when Europe was struck by a synchronized chemical attack that has struck every major city in Europe, and the Russians come rolling in. The US come in to aid the fallen European forces.
  • The opening to Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun's GDI campaign: Phoenix Base comes under attack by the Brotherhood of Nod; the defending forces are crushed; the last of GDI's infantry scream for reinforcements... and then you enter the fray, commanding an elite group of soldiers dropped straight from orbit.
  • Darksiders: War summons this at the end of the game and it's quite literal what with them being the other three Horsemen as a sequel hook when told he can't possibly fight the Charred Council alone.
  • In Dawn of War the Space Marines arrived just in time to save the badly beaten Tartarus forces.
  • The finale of Dragon Age: Origins has you lead the cavalry, a huge army that you've spent the entire game gathering. You run into Ferelden's capital city to save it after it's attacked by darkspawn.
    • In Dragon Age II, your reinforcements during the final battle depend entirely on your actions throughout the game. If you managed to hold your team together after siding with either the mages or the templars, whoever isn't in your active party will still join you against Meredith despite the Arbitrary Headcount Limit. Other potential allies include Donnic, Zevran and Nathaniel Howe.
  • In Final Fantasy IV, the heroes are overwhelmed when the Big Bad's forces revive the Giant of Babel. Then, before they're shot out of the sky, they're joined by the Kingdom of Baron's Red Wings (commandeered by Cid, the Troian Council, and the Mysidian Elder) as well as the Dwarf Kingdom's Tank Brigade. The assembled forces then keep the Giant busy while the party infiltrates it via its throat.
    • Then it happens again as Zeromus blasts the party into oblivion, and those left behind on Earth send their prayers to the Moon, giving Cecil and his cohorts the strength needed to defeat the enemy.
    • Made even more heroic as, in the first case, the arrival of the allied forces comes with the Theme Of The Red Wings Leitmotif, also used for the final assault on the The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. In the second, the assembled characters pray with the series' iconic Theme Tune, Theme of Final Fantasy/Prologue as background music.
    • In an homage to the former event, Final Fantasy IX has the party aboard the Invincible, approaching the portal to the Final Dungeon... only to be surrounded by innumerable Silver Dragons. They're saved at the very last second by the Alexandrian Armada and the Lindblum Fleet, led by Beatrix and Cid, respectively. Despite being rival nations in the past, they proceed to clear a path for the Invincible to break through and reach the portal.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII your group is cornered and surrounded, and then General Cid Raines of the Air Brigade, known far and wide as 'the Cavalry' comes to your rescue.
  • Near the end of Ecco the Dolphin: Tides of Time, the rebuilt Asterite sends you to Lunar Bay to assault the Vortex. Not only are your powers from the end of the first game restored, but you're being backed up by a ton of other dolphins who have been summoned by the Asterite.
  • Subverted in the original Half-Life. The US Marines sent in to quell the alien invasion of Black Mesa are also there to contain all information of the killing every Black Mesa employee they meet, including you.
  • Halo:
    • Reversed in Halo: Combat Evolved at the end of the "Silent Cartographer" level when the Covenant cavalry falls on you.
    • In Halo 3, when the Flood crash in Earth and start spreading at the nearest city, an Elite fleet comes in and helps contain the Flood.
    • If you play as Captain Cutter in a Halo Wars Skirmish, you can call in the cavalry yourself by summoning ODST drop pods.
  • Hearts Like Clockwork: For the first and only dungeon, you can only pick one other person to accompany Rin. When you fight the boss, the other two party members will join in time to even the odds.
  • In Mass Effect, you get to call in the cavalry, to potentially save the Council. It is epic.
    • In Mass Effect 3, The Cavalry can potentially include the Geth, Quarians, Rachni and everyone else you've befriended throughout the series.
    • Humanity in general seems to love this trope in the Mass Effect universe. It's mentioned that instead of guarding their colonies with ships, they instead strategically place the Fleet at key nexus points in the Relay Network, allowing them to never be more than one jump away should their colonies get attacked. This allows them to easily defend all of them.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo has this happen a couple of times, particularly during 'The Captains Rescue' when the captains are overwhelmed by SWAT teams. Captain Roland Lampshades it:
    Roland: The cavalry's finally arrived, it's good to see you, Neo.
  • This trope can be ironically inverted in Mount & Blade, if the player has both enough cavalry not to be immediately demolished by the enemy formation and enough infantry that their presence or absence can tip the balance. If you're not trying to be particularly strategic and are in a hurry to finish a fight, you may simply charge ahead with your cavalry. But if the enemy turns out to be much of a challenge for horsemen alone, it will be the arrival of your slower infantry playing the role of The Cavalry as far as this trope is concerned.
  • In Operation Darkness, a late-game mission gives you one of your first glimpses of Germany's Panzer Demons. Without Level Grinding, this fight can whittle you down quite a bit, then more Panzer Demons come, along with some tanks. After a couple turns of desperate music and legitimate fear that you did not bring enough rockets, the American Army charges the field with twice the enemy numbers and much better equipment.
  • In Parasite Eve 2, there's a point late in the game where our heroine is about to be overrun by a horde of the zombie-ish horrors she has been fighting all game long... only to have the United States Marine Corps arrive with automatic weapons and grenade launchers in full effect.
  • In Pokmon Black and White, after defeating the Elite Four the protagonist gets faced down by six of the Seven Sages. Cue the arrival of eight of the region's eleven gym leaders, who take on the Sages instead.
  • In Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, the previously cowardly Galactic Rangers pull this off during the penultimate showdown.
  • In the first London level of Resistance: Fall of Man it looks like suddenly appearing Stalkers are just about to blast Hale into oblivion, but luckily the army comes Just in Time to blow them up and save Hale.
  • In Saints Row: The Third, purchasing the "Saints Backup" upgrade gives a chance that Saints redshirts will show up to help you after you get into a fight.
  • Towards the end of Mother 3 the main characters are being swarmed by a never ending army Mooks and slowly being worn down until the DCMC bust in and start taking them down.
  • Before the final battle in Skies of Arcadia, every minor character with a battleship shows up at your base in order to provide reinforcements for the final assault.
  • Star Trek Online:
    • High level characters can call their own cavalry. Tactical captains get a ground ability to beam in extra redshirts from their ship to back them up, while all careers get the ability "Fleet Support" to call in another starship to help them in space once their HP falls below 50%.
    • In "Devil's Choice" the Klingons and Federation both send fleets to help defend New Romulus against an Elachi invasion.
    • In "Boldly They Rode" you must reclaim Deep Space 9 from a fleet of Jem'Hadar. They put up one last fight to keep the station for themselves, and just when you seem like you're about to lose, the U.S.S. Enterprise-F (Odyssey-class) arrives to help turn the tide.
    • In "Revelation" the player and the Turei are being pressed hard by the Vaadwaur. Then two Voth mechs, allies of the Turei, air-drop in and start in on the Vaadwaur, giving you some heavy armor support.
    • Takedown has two instances connected to the same event. The battle against the Waadwaur involves multiple stages, each of which begins with you calling in a wing of allies. One of those wings betrays you ( the Kazon one)... which immediately leads to your commanders calling in a contigency that sends a Hirogen force you didn't know about against the enemy, and shortly after (in the next stage) a group from the faction that betrayed you shows up, on their own initiative, to fight alongside you over feeling the betrayal was dishonorable.
  • Tears to Tiara 2: The Goddess Ashtarte summons one in the form of Elven elephants and Taros.
  • In the first chapter of the Total War: Rome II prologue, the Samnite siege of Capua is broken when a Roman-Lucanian cavalry force ride to the rescue.
  • All three of the Hold the Line missions in Warcraft III.
    • Human mission 5, "March of the Scourge," when Uther brings in a large number of knights to save Arthas in Hearthglen from a siege by the Scourge.
    • A villainous example in Undead mission 8, "Under the Burning Sky." As the human survivors of the Scourge attack on Dalaran throw the last of their forces against Arthas and Kel'Thuzad, the latter completes the summoning of Archimonde, who proceeds to lay waste to the human forces and raze their city for good measure.
    • The outcome of Night Elf mission 7, "Twilight of the Gods." As Archimonde is about to drain Nordrassil of its power, a swarm of wisps arrive and detonate him back to the Twisting Nether.
  • Played straight and then horribly, horribly subverted during World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King. While the Horde does serve as a cavalry to the Alliance at the entrance to Icecrown, the Lich King's base of operations, once Arthas himself appears and the Horde's own cavalry enters the scene, it was NOT pretty.
    Grand Apothecary Putress: Did you think we had forgotten? Did you think we had forgiven? Behold now, the terrible vengeance of the Forsaken! Death to the Scourge! AND DEATH TO THE LIVING!

    Visual Novels 
  • In the Ace Attorney games, it's common for people to suddenly break into the courtroom to save your behind just before the guilty verdict, sometimes with new testimony or evidence:
    • In case 1 of Dual Destinies, when Athena is having a Heroic BSoD and it looks like the trial is going to end in a premature guilty verdict, Phoenix Wright suddenly opens the courtroom's doors and shouts "OBJECTION!" Then he takes the lead defense attorney's role in the case, while Athena just assists him.
    • Franziska von Karma brings you three pieces of evidence from Shelly de Killer in case 4 of the second game, one of which solves the huge moral dilemma Phoenix is struggling with.
    • In case 2 of the third game, Desirée DeLite comes in with Luke Atmey's bag, which contains the stolen urn the whole trial revolves around.
    • In case 3 of the third game, Detective Gumshoe brings you back a bottle that has been analyzed for fingerprints. The item itself is irrelevant for the discussion, but Phoenix uses it to catch the killer regardless by bluffing them.
    • A bailiff unintentionally helps Phoenix and Maya in case 3 of the sixth game when he bursts in and announces that Maya's fingerprints have been found on the weapon of a different murder, putting the current trial on hold.
  • In The Empty Turnabout, Trucy arrives just in time to give Apollo an important piece of evidence that allows him to formally accuse Mary Adair of the crime. This was foreshadowed earlier in the chapter, when Apollo called her and asked her to bring him something.
  • In the Phoenix Wright-inspired Kongregate game Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher, the title character is trapped in the Intelligible Realm aka Philosopher Heaven and has debates with five famous philosophers's ghosts in an attempt to discover the nature of morality so that he and his daughter can return to life. In the process, Socrates gets each of them to question their own philosophies. Near the end, he goes up against the Arbiter, overseer of the realm, after an off-hand comment is mistaken for a bad answer. Despite Socrates' efforts, the Arbiter refuses to accept his expanded answer, and Socrates is ready to give up. But before he can do so, the philosophers he debated with earlier show up to support him, and four of them give Socrates an idea from their respective debates that he can use to challenge the Arbiter's arguments.


    Web Original 
  • In Greek Ninja, Sasha is saved from the advances of a succubus/ex-lover by the wandering demigoddess Electra.
  • Look to the West: Heinz Kautzman's Russo-Lithuanian-Danish-Courlandish force in the Battle of Paris. Subverted in that they were not needed, but were only there so those previously mentioned countries could claim participation in the war and find themselves part of the peace talks. It works.
  • The arrival of the Reds (and Tucker, and Caboose) in episode 19 of Red vs. Blue: Revelation.
    Wash: I would say that was the cavalry, but... I've never seen a line of horses crash into the battlefield from outer space before.
  • In the Whateley Universe novel "Ayla and the Birthday Brawl", when Chaka and Riptide have been taken down by The Lamplighter, they are saved by... a team of Knights of Purity in power armor. Chaka hates the Knights of Purity.
  • At the end of The Adventures of The League of S.T.E.A.M.'s season 2 finale, "Dead End", The rest of the League come to the rescue when Crackitus, the Baron, Katherine and Thaddeus get outnumbered by zombies.
  • Season 3 finale of Noob has their faction's elite take over after spending some time trying to keep much stronger enemies from reaching their intended prisonner.
  • Team CFVY of RWBY. When the city is attacked by Grimm in the season 2 finale, they get there to kick Grimm ass majorly.
    • Season 3 has the Atlesian Army, which was meant to be this, but Cinder takes control of the cyborgs and force them to attack civilians while Roman takes control of one airship and starts destroying the others. Ultimately, it was useless, if not, worsening the situation.
    • Volume 4 has the Mistrali Air Patrol, who show up after Team RNJR kill the Nuckelavee Grimm but still just in time to evacuate Qrow who was poisoned by Tyrian earlier and was dying from the venom. Thanks to the quick medical evacuation, he survived.
  • The Cry of Mann: Tank Mann, missing for the rest of the series, appears in the end just in time to defeat Gergiev and save his family.
  • Fire Emblem On Forums: Many examples:
    • FEF 1: Leo and Alexandra arriving to relieve the protagonists.
    • FEF 2: Ciera, Yonn and Yonn's troops, and later, the Spymaster and his forces arriving, both to relieve the protagonists.
    • Whereabouts of Drink and Coin: At the end of the game, the Boss arrives, along with Belphegor and the Starlight Soldiers, to absolutely clean house on the Runners.

    Western Animation 
  • The Beatles: When the cavalry rides in to the rescue to repel a band of invading Indians (episode "Little Child"), one Indian does a facepalm and says "Don't they ever get tired of winning?"
  • The Cuphead Show!: In "Roll the Dice", when King Dice tries cheating by forcing Cuphead into the "prize room" trap (that involves getting his soul sucked out) after the latter lost at rolling the dice, the audience rallies to Cuphead's aid on the belief that he lost, and raises such a rabble of realization that the show was rigged it wins Cuphead over, allowing him to leave with his dignity (and soul) intact.
  • In the second season of Exo Squad, the Pirate Clans arrive to rescue the Exo Fleet from a Neo-Sapien force. As it happens, their ships are even immune to the Grav Shield due to their cloaking devices.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In "Christmas Every Day!", Timmy has run out of options, Cosmo and Wanda are powerless, and the Easter Bunny is ready to bomb Santa to February 33rd, but then his grenade gets knocked away by a snail, and it turns out all the children in the world Timmy enountered have arrived to save the day, convince the other holidays to realize the error of their ways, and give Timmy an ephinany on how to undo the wish.
  • The Flintstones had a "Stone-Age Western" episode where the Flintstones and Rubbles got surrounded by baddies and the cavalry was "the Cartrocks".
  • Jonny Quest TOS episode "A Small Matter of Pygmies". Jonny, Race and Hadji are trapped on a hilltop with armed angry Pygmies closing in from all sides. Suddenly in the distance they see a flight of helicopters approaching, with Dr. Quest as a passenger in one of them. The helicopters blow away and otherwise roust the pygmies.
  • H₂O: Mermaid Adventures: The sea life serves this purpose during the climax of "The White Mermaid".
  • Justice League, "The Savage Time". Hawkgirl is in trouble with three Me109s on her tail shooting at her accurately enough that she has taken a bullet through her wing. Suddenly more tracer fire comes in from offscreen and through the Luftwaffe planes. Cue dramatic music as the Blackhawks swoop in.
    • And then later, The Flash shows up, and he's brought the U.S. Navy with him!
  • Molly of Denali: In "Molly and the Great One", just when Mac McFadden is in danger during a blizzard, Joy and Atsaq arrive in a helicopter to save him.
  • Happens fairly often in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Basically, any time Moon Girl finds herself in over her head, expect her dinosaur best friend to bust through a wall to come back her up.
  • From the pilot of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Twilight Sparkle has been separated from her companions by Nightmare Moon, she is facing down the villain alone, and the Elements of Harmony needed to defeat her have just been shattered to pieces. But, just when all hope seems lost, cue the sound of the other ponies calling Twilight's name and coming to help her. The spark of happiness Twilight feels when she hears their voices causes her to realize for the first time that she regards the ponies as her friends, and the force of this revelation revitalizes the Elements and allows them to defeat Nightmare Moon once and for all.
    • Just when the villains are about to destroy the Mane Six with a combined laser blast in "The Ending of the End", they are saved by a magical shield. It turns out that the students from Twilight's school had convinced their respective races to come and unite for a final charge against the villains, and the unicorns rescued the Mane Six.
  • Samurai Jack: A truly impressive cavalry shows up in the Grand Finale to stop Jack's execution and battle Aku, consisting of the Dog Archaeologists piloting flying robots, the Ravers, the Spartans, the Three Blind Archers and their tribe riding the Woolies, the monkey men Jack taught to "jump good", the Scotsman's ghost leading his Amazon Brigade daughters, and finally the Mecha-Samurai, which manages to fight evenly with Aku himself!
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks:
    • In the climax of "No Small Parts", the Cerritos is barely holding together after just managing to fight off a single Pakled ship and is surrounded by three freshly-arrived vessels, disabled, prevented from warping away, and staring certain doom in the face when the Titan appears guns blazing and quickly vanquishes the Pakleds.
    • In "wej Duj", the Cerritos comes under heavy fire from a Klingon bird-of-prey and a Pakled ship armed with weapons given to them by the Klingons. The ship is taking a pounding. Suddenly, the Vulcan cruiser Sh'vhal arrives and assists the smaller Starfleet vessel, especially after a "lower-decker"'s experimental shield modifications enhance their defenses. Although it's not until the bird-of-prey's captain is killed in a duel by his newly-promoted first officer, immediately ordering the ship to withdraw, that the battle truly turns in the good guys' favor.
    • In the climax of "The Stars at Night", the Cerritos is powerless and heavily damaged after ejecting the warp core in order to take out the out-of-control Texas-class AI ships, managing to take out two out of three, but the Aledo is still intact and is about to finish off the helpless Cerritos. Suddenly, Mariner and Petra Aberdeen arrive, answering their distress call, followed by the arrival of ALL other California-class ships (approximately 30 of them). Their combined firepower quickly overwhelms the Aledo's shields and ends the threat.
  • Teen Titans (2003): Before Madame Rouge has a chance to squash Beast Boy like a bug in [Teen Titans S 5 E 12 Titans Together the second-to-last episode]], the ground beneath her starts to crumble... out pops Cyborg and some reinforcements! Ceiling bursts open... and Starfire has some more! Finally Raven brings in the last of them and Battle Royal against the Brotherhood of Evil begins!!!
  • In the Thunderbirds Are Go episode "Fireflash", the titular plane's landing gear are disabled, leaving it unable to land without igniting fuel. Scott Tracy laments that the equipment they could use to help is on Thunderbird 2, which won't get there in time. Cue Virgil and the other earthbound Tracys arriving in Thunderbird 2, having ignored Scott's instructions to stay home.
  • In Thundercats 2011 during the The Siege of their kingdom of Thundera, Catfolk King Claudus and Tygra look on in shock as their city is devastated by a Superweapon Surprise, and trusted general Grune reveals himself a Turncoat who's after Claudus' Sword of Omens. Claudus reminds Grune that he does in fact, have a Praetorian Guard who has yet to be dealt with. Court Mage Jaga and his Clerics rush out from the horizon with a Super Speed Swirling Dust trail, proceeding to deliver a Speed Blitz on Grune, his Lizard forces and their Walking Tanks Minutes later, this is subverted when the Clerics attempt to save Claudus' sons from capture, only to be devastated by an attack from Big Bad Mumm-Ra.
    • In the season finale "What Lies Above" part two, this works out much better for Lion-O. Just when things look especially bleak with The Reveal of Pumyra's true allegiance to Mumm-Ra and Mumm-Ra having defeated the Thundercats with the Tech Stone's power the Thunderkittens show up with a small yet formidable team composed of the various Animals Lion-O has aided during the series. The Fishmen, the Elephants, the Ro-Bear Berbils, and the Dogs launch an all-out attack that catches Mumm-Ra and Pumyra off guard, forcing them to retreat.

    Real Life 
  • Throughout military history, the cavalry of an army, its horsemen, would usually only engage the main lines of the enemy after their side's foot soldiers had already met with the enemy. After the troops in the front weakened the first waves, the cavalry would charge in (preferably into the rear of the enemy's formations) to deal more damage and hopefully break the enemy's morale - no doubt, this emboldened many desperate allied infantrymen fighting on the frontlines all over history. This was because battle-worthy horses and the men atop them were simply a lot more rare and expensive to risk, and it was generally well-known a unit of cavalry would lose against a likely much-larger unit of infantry that holds onto its nerve because horses respond poorly to being guided into massed ranks.
    • Possily Ur-Example for "the cavalry" as rescue may be The Wild West, with its Hollywood version (D. W. Griffith, again) as Trope Codifier, where the cavalry were simply the first units of the army to reach a trouble spot. The enemy might not be afraid of them, but they knew there were many more soldiers behind them on foot.
  • Jan Sobieski and the Polish cavalry rescuing Vienna, 1683. Yes, they really were literal cavalry, and numbering twenty thousand, they were the largest cavalry charge in history. To put that in perspective, that's three times the size of the Rohirrim charge in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (and almost certainly the real-life inspiration for it). And they weren't just any cavalry - they were the famous Winged Hussars, who wore wood-and-feather angel's wings on their backs as they charged.
  • During the First Crusade the Christian (Frankish) army, huge for the time, divided into two columns to pass through Anatolia. The Muslim (Turkish) army attacked and encircled one Crusader force, and appeared likely to defeat it, when the other Crusader force showed up unexpectedly. Given that knights were rescuing knights, this would be a case of the Cavalry rescuing the (dismounted) Cavalry; since the Turks were almost all mounted archers, that would be...
  • Marshal Gerhard Blücher and his Prussian cavalry (and infantry and artillery) rescuing Wellington's force at Waterloo.
  • During the famous World War II battle with the Destroyer, USS Laffey, which was being continually hit with kamikaze and conventional attacks while it was all alone doing radar picket duty, two cavalries came into play. When things were looking bad, four US fighters from the escort carrier Shamrock Bay arrived to shoot down as many as they could, then buzz the enemy planes when they ran out of ammo, until they were forced to disengage due to low fuel. When all seemed lost for the Laffey, a second cavalry arrived in the form of a dozen US F4U Corsair fighters to take care of the rest of the enemy.
  • The cavalry saw new life in the Afghanistan War, where the terrain poses a challenge for other forms of transport. The "first cavalry charge of the 21st century" took place in the battle for Mazar-i-Sharif in 2001.
  • The Coaltion force in Libya was this to the Rebel forces in Benghazi; with Gaddafi's forces and mercenaries closing in, and enemy tanks at the entrance to the city, one rebel said "So, were being abandoned after all." Enter the French airstrikes and later the 120+ Tomahawk missiles.
  • Subverted initially in The American Civil War by Union cavalry, who had the reputation of retreating whenever they were met with any kind of resistance. An old joke among soldiers, "You ever seen a dead cavalryman?"
    • Justified as Cavalry at the time were lightly armed (and unarmored) reconnaissance forces.
    • Ironically, one of the most famous cases of this trope concerning the Federal cavalry involved Buford's cavalry division being saved by infantry of the Army of the Potomac's I Corps, while delaying Lee's advance on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • More in the minor-character-rescue vein, the Dunkirk evacuation: while it may have been a Curb-Stomp Cushion for the general public, for the French and British stuck on the beaches facing the Wehrmacht with their backs to the sea, the arrival of hundreds of ships of every variety to rescue them in the nick of time was definitely the real thing.
  • The British Commandos during the D-Day invasion, who relieved D coy, 2nd Ox and Bucks Light Infantry at the aptly named Pegasus Bridge (given the cavalry reference that is—the bridge was renamed after D-Day for the flying horse emblem of the British Airborne).
  • Despite being generally poked at by the other branches, a friendly air force tends to be considered this when the birds come in to start blasting the shit out of heavily fortified positions, covering a retreat, or preventing the enemy from advancing on an inferior ground force. Even if they aren't really coming to the rescue it can be fun to watch the fireworks. On normal occasions they can assist ground troops through transport and the like or simply discourage the enemy cavalry from coming to the rescue.
  • Artillery could have this effect. In the First World War the British had the SOS Barrage, which on a prearranged signal (usually a flare and/or field telephone call) would drop an annihilatory curtain of fire down in front of friendly positions. On 21 March 1918, the German assault on British Fifth Army began with a bombardment of gas shells and HE specifically designed to cut the communications wires and paralyse the artillery. (Despite this, and despite the huge losses the assault barrage caused them, the British still managed to kill or wound better than one for one on the first day.)
  • Another World War II example, depending on who you ask: Patton's breakthrough at the Battle of the Ardennes (the Battle of the Bulge) is widely credited with rescuing the trapped 101st Airborne Division dug in around Bastogne. Of course, you'll get an argument from the 101st that they never needed rescuing in the first place...
    • From Strategy & Tactics magazine: "Patton responded with the zeal of a cavalryman (which he had been) coming to the rescue (which he was doing)." The Screaming Eagles (and others present) may not have needed a lot of rescue, but a secure supply line and a route for ambulances to take away the wounded sure helped. And according to some observers, the paratroopers not only gave the tankers an enthusiastic welcome, but at least a few were seen kissing the tanks.
  • A subverted example during the Battle off Samar: A large Japanese surface group consisting of the giant battleship Yamato, three other Japanese fast battleshis, six heavy and two light cruisers, supported by eleven destroyers launched a surprise attack against the American landing group in Leyte Gulf. Opposing them were two destroyers (Johnston and Hoel) and two destroyer escorts (Samuel B. Roberts and Heermann). The crews of the destroyers only needed to be told once: "small boys attack." At which point they fought the Japanese task force to a standstill. The first wave of reinforcements received by the severely out-gunned Americans was in the form of Navy fighters and light bombers launched by the escort carriers the destroyers were desperately fighting to protect. Meanwhile, Halsey's fleet was alerted to the danger and turned to rush to their aid. The cavalry eventually did arrive, but too late to affect the outcome. In the end, the largest battleship in history (in terms of displacement and main armament, the American Iowa class were longer) was driven off by a handful of destroyers.
    • To be fair to the Japanese however, the amount of damage the three Destroyers and four Destroyer Escorts did was fairly extensive ton for ton. They managed to sink three of the Japanese Heavy Cruisers, and damaged another three as well as a Destroyer. The fact that the Japanese lacked detailed spotting silhuettes for their spotting crews, which believed they were fighting heavy and light cruisers. The sky turning black with American planes (from the neighboring Taffy units) certainly cemented in Admiral Kuritas mind that the US 3rd Fleet wasn't as far away as he'd hoped, and could be there within hours, which is what ultimately lead to the decision to withdraw.

Alternative Title(s): Big Damn Army


AVENGERS! Assemble.

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