While being chased by an angry dog, Bart happens upon the mansion of a former actor known for his cowboy roles, and tries to get him back in the spotlight.
Tropes featured in the episode:
- The Alcoholic: Turns out that, aside from In-Universe Time Marches On (and thus American love for Westerns), Buck was one of these later on in his career, which is why he retired. Thanks to Krusty putting too much pressure on him he falls off the wagon, and his attempt at a big comeback ends with him putting a bullet in Krusty because he couldn't shoot straight.
- Angry Guard Dog: The dog that chases Bart throughout the episode. Lampshaded when it crashes through a dog contest while it's doing so and gets awarded the "Most Vicious" medal.
- Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Averted at the climax when the crooks try to shoot Buck's lasso and the bullets just go straight through the middle of the loop. They deem the lasso "the ultimate weapon" as a result. Why the hell none of them decide to switch to shooting the big cowboy who holds the lasso is chalkable up to Rule of Funny.
- Card-Carrying Villain: The dog hunts down Bart (in a Super-Persistent Predator fashion, even) for no good reason than being a jerk. It even gets awarded a "Most Vicious" medal from a dog contest at one point because of this... which it shreds before continuing its pursuit of Bart.
- Crooks Are Better Armed: The climax involves a group of thieves (led by Snake) getting in a shootout with the police while trying to rob a bank, with the police being only Wiggum and Those Two Guys armed with revolvers and the robbers (six of them) being equipped with body armor and the M41A Pulse Rifle. They are beaten by an alcoholic cowboy packing a lasso.
- Halfway Plot Switch: From Bart being chased by an incredibly vicious and relentless dog all over Springfield to Bart meeting a has-been Western actor and briefly reviving the 1950s Western craze amongst the Springfield youth. It's even lampshaded with the fact that, once the actor decides to go back to obscurity after saving the day and tells Bart to never go look for him again, the dog starts to chase after him again as the final joke.
- Human-Interest Story: Kent Brockman does one on the "Western craze" sweeping Springfield Elementary.Lisa: I'm Annie Oakley!
Nelson: I'm Kevin Costner, in one of his Western roles.
Ralph: I'm a gulch!
Kent: So I guess you could say... this barely qualifies as news.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- When Krusty is approached about doing a Western-themed show, Krusty initially rejects them, saying he wants his show to have a timeless quality. A staff member then tells him, "Here's your hanging chad sketch, Krusty." Krusty is delighted: "Oh, good, you worked in Judge Ito."
- Homer puts down his flask long enough to shame Buck for being The Alcoholic.
- Performance Anxiety: Buck gets it when Krusty tells him that millions of viewers will be watching his show, including the TV Guide Cheers and Jeers columnist. ("And he's already given out all his Cheers.") This leads Buck to start drinking again.
- Retool: Buck tells how he was a cop show star in the '70s, and all he did was "shoot hippies". He mentioned that they wrote him out of the show and it became Room 222.
- Shout-Out: The hippies that Buck shoots in his seventies show include The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.
- Short-Runners: Zig-zagged; Buck's show from the '50s only ran a year, but they did 360 episodes, "all of them great."
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The main theme from The Magnificent Seven plays during the ending scene of the episode... which involves Buck going back home, parking his horse on the garden, picking his mail and newspapers, and watering the lawn before going in.
- Special Guest: Dennis Weaver as Buck; Frank Welker would also make his final appearance on the show as the angry dog, ostrich and Buck's horse.
- Super-Persistent Predator: The dog only stops chasing after Bart when he enters Buck's house's garden (which is full of stuffed animals like pumas, which scare it off) and continues chasing him once Buck orders Bart to never meet him again (at the ending of the episode).