Thursday, April 18, 2013
Next Stooge: Stoogey Cow-Stooges
Stock footage of real Westerns, mostly at about 18 to 12 fps. A guy on his porch gets shot and falls. What did I just say? No one dies in a Stooge film! No exceptions. After (what seems like) a few minutes of this, we land on the Stooge short proper, with Christine McIntyre and oft-recurring partner on screen Jock (O') Mahoney, who once told Sally Field to take that job on "The Flying Nun." Just saw her in Lincoln! It's all connected... more or less. Just watch I Heart Huckabees, if you can find it!
This is the third time McIntyre's played a gal in distress named Nell. Um, typecasting, anyone? Good Lourdes. The dust kicked up by the stock footage Western gang rampaging through town (the "Dylan Gang") has finally settled, and Jock Mahoney vows to go out there and get himself killed if he has to, as all real men should. Nell tries to talk him down from his lofty ambition. He should be smart and alert the cavalry instead! This all seems very familiar... that's it! Out West from 1947! Go figure. Anyway, once again, Jock Mahoney proves himself to be a comedian's comedian, in addition to a fine heir to John Wayne's Western throne. He marches out the door to alert the Cavalry.. or, garden variety soldiers this time, but he's forgotten one thing. He heads back towards McIntyre. McIntyre raises her cheek for Mahoney to kiss it... but he goes for his guitar on the table instead. "Forgot my gee-tar. Goodbye, Nell honey," he says. He turns to go, but hits the door instead. The door slams shut. It would've been funnier if he did it like this, but it wouldn't have been original, on the other hand. "I hurt my knee," moans Mahoney as he leaves the scene.
Next scene: Fort Scott, Kansas. The time: 1868. The music: incidental. Why do these things always take place after the Civil War? And why don't they ever talk about the War? Just in the Coens' True Grit, for some reason. Go figure. This time, the Stooges play heroic members of the Cavalry, but we have to go through probably ten minutes of idiocy before we get to some damn heroic deeds. Case in point: "Hurry up with that saddle!" says an angry Moe. The boys then bicker about saddle terminology, then about whether or not a certain part of the saddle is a horn. Moe calls it the backstop, so for lack of interest I will refer to his lack of expertise. But because of Larry's insistence, Moe squeezes the backstop, and sure enough! It sounds like a horn! Can't argue with "science." "By Golly, you're right!" says Moe. Moe then promptly teaches us a lesson in how not to put a saddle on a horse. He throws it up into the air, and where it lands, he soon will have to care, for it smacks right into Mike Starr... I mean, one of his fellow Cavalry men. Sorry, he kinda reminded me of Mike Starr. His name is evidently Dick Wessel... easy now. He fortunately lands on a soft bale of hay. The Stooges run over to help pick him up. Apparently, that hit from the saddle must've really knocked the wind out of that guy. He's barely intelligible! I think he says something about watching what you're doing, and getting back to work. And so, the Stooges get their incompetent asses back to work. Their task: putting shoes on that horse? Oh, somebody's going to get kicked by the prop leg. Several times. "Black or brown?" says Larry, referring to shoes, I guess. Shemp's about to outdo him, though, in the Shoe Joke department. Meanwhile, Moe puts his arm on the sarge's shoulder and launches into "They are the LAZIEST bunch of guys I...." Sarge puts a stop to that right away.
Moe gets back to micromanaging the other Stooges. Moe hands Shemp a hammer and says "Stop the nonsense and get busy with that hammer!" Someday Moe's going to learn the meaning of the word "irony." A resentful Shemp goes over to an anvil with a horseshoe on it. Now, notice that the horseshoe is partly hanging over the side of the anvil. Shemp smites that part of the horseshoe with his hammer. The horseshoe flies and hits sarge in the face. The metallic sound effects help to distract you from thinking that it's just a prop horseshoe not made of metal. Actually, it was a good thing that Shemp did that, because Sarge was busy choking both Moe and Larry at the same time! Or a bad thing, depending on your point of view. The longer I watch these things, the more I'm leaning towards bad. Sarge does a slow burn and focuses his wrath upon Shemp now... Chopper Kane! That's where I've seen Sarge before! God bless the close-up. Love that guy. He don't want no creampuff! He wants Shemp's head on a platter, and he just might get it too. But alas, Hell hath no fury like Shemp's ass on fire. Sarge sticks his finger in Shemp's ugly mug and unwittingly backs Shemp up to the burning fire of a makeshift forge. The flames lick Shemp's ass, and Shemp unleashes the mightiest of screams, and gives Sarge a mighty push. Sarge lands ass first into a bucket of water. Above Sarge's head is a post precariously holding five more horseshoes... you'll never guess where they end up!
"WE BETTER GET OUTTA HERE!" declares Moe, in a rare moment of clarity. The Stooges become deserters as quickly as they possibly can. Sarge lifts his wet ass up out of the rain barrel and gives chase. Alas, the door's locked. Next scene: the next room, with lots of doors and lots of extra saddles. The Stooges have always striven hard for authenticity in these period pieces. (Strived is not a word? Boy! Better take more English classes!) They try the other doors, but they're locked. Enter Captain Sitka. He's slightly in disguise behind a moustache and uniform, but that's the same old voice we're coming to know and love. "What are you men doing here?" he says. The Stooges turn and salute as hard as they can. Shemp gives Captain Sitka a bit of the ol' double talk, and Sitka sends them on their way. Which they happily and quickly oblige. Sitka has to think about that for a second, however... so far, this may be the highlight of the film. Meanwhile, Sarge is getting ready to bust some heads. Screenwriters take note: this is what comedy is. Sarge thinks that the Stooges are coming back into the room, so he's ready with a big piece of lumber. This kind of confusion is one of the cornerstones of the Stooges' comedy. One of the other cornerstones is haircuts, but we'll explore that in more depth at some point. Anyway, back to the instant case at hand. So, the esteemed Captain enters the room, and... WHOA, DUDE! Sarge goes Nancy Kerrigan on his ass!... nah, just watched it again. Phooey. More like Michael Fay. Either way, it's a 90s flashback. And like the sicko that I am, I just had to check the YouTube to see if they have that video of Fay getting caned. Whew! They don't seem to have it. Good call, YouTube. Better try Hulu next.
Anyway, so Sitka earns some more stunt man points, as he takes a mighty fall onto the semi-soft hay. Assured in his application of tit for tat, Sarge says "That's one of 'em!" and, giggling, runs over to open his Christmas present. Soon after, though, it turns into a lump of coal. "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?" Captain Sitka asks Sarge Wessel. "Well, I...." starts Wessel. "NEVER MIND!" says Sitka. And with that, the Stooges are in the clear, off the hook, and in the clear, legally speaking. The Captain demotes Sarge to Private. Wessel takes one last look at his stripes and pouts... and rightfully so. Cross-fade to next scene.
Nope, still too early for an Act Break. Next scene: Colonel Vernon Dent assures Cowboy First Class Jock Mahoney that they'll take care of the Dylan Gang. Mahoney turns to go, then stops. Mahoney turns back. Colonel Dent extends his hand, thinking that Mahoney's going to shake it. "Keep forgetting my gee-tar!" says Mahoney, and takes his guitar off of Dent's desk. The cojones of this guy! I mean, on this guy. Mahoney turns to go in full this time, guitar in hand... and he promptly falls over a chair. He slowly picks himself up and says "I hurt my knee again!" Dude, that fall looked like it hurt. As I said earlier, the older I get, the more that kind of thing hurts me to watch. Sure, in his prime, Chris Farley could handle that kind of fall easily, but Mahoney's a tall thin guy, with easily crackable ribs! Oh, and the guitar makes the sound from Micro-Phonies... oh, do I have to link everything for you people? Yes, I do, damnit, yes I do, so here it is. You go find El Ka-Bong on your own time. Anyway, Mahoney's all ready to get up and go once again, when fate intervenes once again. This time, in the form of Sarge coming in to get reprimanded by the Colonel. Mahoney bashes into Sarge and falls down anew. Man! This Mahoney guy's wasting as much time as the Stooges normally do! Also, note the phoniness of the backdrop just outside the door.
Maybe this would be a good time for an Act break! Sarge salutes the Colonel, and the Colonel says "At ease." Apparently, Sarge's demotion will have to wait. There's still the larger plot to discuss. Colonel Dent tells Sarge that he needs three or four men to disguise themselves as desperados and hook up with the Dylan Gang. Undercover work, if you will! Why, the sarge has got just the guys in mind, he just doesn't fully realize it yet. There is, of course, the small matter of Sarge reconciling with the Stooges first.
Cross-fade to next scene: a bar. Apparently, we're going to skip over the formalities and go right to the Stooges undercover. Unless they've taken the initiative on their own? Nah, that can't be right. It doesn't pass the smell test, anyhow. The Stooges enter the bar. Christine McIntyre looks over, and then... slowly they turn. A rare title card informs us of the identity of the three tough looking white guys at the bar: they are "The KILLER DILLONS"! (Disclaimer: the exclamation point is mine, and not part of the title card.) The Stooges do a collective massive double take, and Shemp, the wisest of the Stooges, starts to turn to leave. Professor Moe has to reassure Shemp of the task at hand. Now, he's not, say, the Professor Moe we all know and love from, for example, Three Little Beers. That's the best example I can think of at the moment. No, the task is simpler this time: they have to act tougher than the Killer Dillons... I was going to go back and convert all the times I spelt it "Dylan," but I've now decided that I'll leave that to the free market to decide. Moe clutches his gun and leads the way.
Next scene: the Stooges are now at the bar next to the Dillons. Boy, but those Stooges know how to make a presentation, so to speak... The dialogue with the Dillons begins. One Dillon opens a bottle with the bar. Moe ups the ante by using Shemp's teeth as a bottle opener. Me thinks Shemp doth protest too much! Even the bartender winces with pain. Next: drinks are ordered. "Gimme a straight slug," orders the middle Dillon. Moe and Larry order tougher drinks. "I'll take a milkshake!" says Shemp. One of the Dillons spits out the beer they're drinking. "..WITH SOUR MILK!" barks Shemp. That's more like it. Lol.
Back to McIntyre, and a quick reunion with Mahoney. She runs over and embraces the lucky guy. "What took you so long?" asks McIntyre. "Well, I fell off my horse and had to walk," says Mahoney. This guy's a genius. He then breaks one of the cardinal rules: you do NOT talk about Fight Club. I mean, McIntyre asks where the soldiers are. "That's them!" says Mahoney. "That's them?" asks McIntyre. Hopefully she won't have to divulge that information to anyone later on. The drinks are served, and the consumption of them begins. The Stooges have a little trouble with their drinks, especially Shemp. He must've gotten some really sour milk! YouTube's cts24 is a fan of this part... but I'm not there yet. One of the Dillons starts to reach for his guns, but another Dillon gets him to wait. We still got 10 minutes, after all! The Stooges' heads act like dominoes at this point. Probably not going to help their street cred much.
"Tough hombres, eh?" says one of the Dillons. Moe takes charge of the conversation. Now it's time for the "shootin' iron" competition. Even the Dillons need words sometimes. One of the Dillons fires off a bunch of shots and hits a bunch of bottles on yonder table over thar. Now it's the Stooges' turn. They're clearly not as organized as the Dillons. They disagree over which one is "Tex," then Shemp is thrust into the position of arbitration. Shemp talks his talk as long as he can, but soon it's time to draw his pistol. Needles to say, he has a little trouble getting it out of the holster. So much so that his damn pants fall down! Don't worry, parents, for the Stooges are family entertainment and he's wearing white pajamas under his assless chaps. Shemp continues to struggle, and finally he pulls the gun from its holster. Unfortunately, he also ends up hitting one of the Dillons in the face. The Dillons swarm. Mahoney pulls his two guns to back up the Stooges but, as he informs McIntyre, he forgot to load 'em. Incompetence worthy of The Simpsons.
The Dillon who got hit by Shemp grabs Shemp and tells the other Dillons to leave their guns. And you thought the Stooges were dumb! "You got anything to say, Tenderfoot, before I gun you down?" says the Dillon to Shemp. The Dillon points his gun at Shemp's chest and pulls the trigger! How rude. The gun clicks because it's empty. "Your gun's empty!" says Shemp, then hits the Dillon on the head with a bottle. The bottle doesn't break. Meanwhile, Larry tries to subdue one of the Dillons. How come there's always three bad guys? "MOE!" says Larry, having trouble. Moe always has to do the work of two Stooges, or so it would seem. Shemp tries another bottle on another Dillon's head. It doesn't break. Moe breaks a bottle over the third Dillon's head. Finally! That's what we've been waiting for.
The Dillons are now in a quivering heap on the ground. The Stooges take the Dillons' guns. "Greased Lightning, that's what I am!" says Shemp. Blatant callback. Mahoney makes his approach. With both guns empty, but pointed at the bad guys, Mahoney orders the Dillons to clear out, which they do. Shemp gives his Dillon a good swift kick in the ass for good measure. "Elmer!" coos Nell. "Nell honey," says Mahoney... I mean, Elmer. I'll call him Elmer from now on. Love is in the air, but the boys have still got to do their thing. Elmer twirls his guns before putting them back in their holsters. In full Monkey-See-Monkey-Do mode, the Stooges try to do the same... and fail. FAIL, I tells ya! An EPIC FAIL!!!!!! LOSERS!!!! As usual, Shemp has to steal the scene.
Cross-fade to next scene: the Dillons return to their manager, Kenneth MacDonald. His first question out of the box: "What happened to your guns?" One of the Dillons tries to explain that three strangers took their guns. MacDonald says "THREE STRANGERS? You know who they are?" Someday MacDonald's going to learn the meaning of the word "irony." Why, that same Dillon says "What did I just say? ...WHAT DID I JUST SAY? Didn't you hear me say they were three strangers? And did you just hear yourself? You said 'THREE STRANGERS? You know who they are?' Do you realize what you've just done? How much of an idiot you look like?" ...sorry, I must've just imagined it. I must've been thinking Quentin Tarantino or something. No, life has beaten down on the Dillons lately, and this is clearly no time for the sassback to the max, with a side of Awesome Sauce. Besides, MacDonald already knows the answer: "Lefty trailed 'em from Fort Scott! They're SPIES!" To which Dillon responds... oh, never mind. I was going to make up something else. No, the Dillons have gone from tough to reasonable at this point. One of the younger Dillons says "They'll have the troops on us!" The eldest Dillon says "Well, I'm leaving!" MacDonald, the Moe of this bad bunch, says "Wait a minute! We're not leaving here... not 'til we clean out the town!" Now, screenwriters take note of this next part, just at the end of 8:06. Any hack could have MacDonald start his next sentence with "Besides..." but the writers here go with "Anyway..." Well, it's different, anyhow! I'm still trying to decide if it's different good or not... probably not. MacDonald gets some fresh guns for the Dillons, and it's back to work they go.
Next scene: we see the Stooges cleaning up. Seems like they're either grooming or eating in these things. This time, we see that Larry and Shemp are sporting dazzling new Geraldo Rivera-esque mustaches. So convincing, in fact, that they scare each other! Ah, they scare too easily as it is, am I right? Don't leave me hangin', bro! Nell's helping Moe with his mustache. Nell also gets us and the Stooges up to speed on the plot. Apparently, the Dillons come to that bar all the time. The door to the safe says "Red Dog Saloon" on it. The official gold miners of the area use this safe to keep the gold in so they don't get robbed so much. But just then... there's a face at the window! The eldest Dillon, perhaps. I thought maybe it was Curly for a second. Shemp sees the face at the window, does a double take, and screams "LOOK!" Elmer fires and hits the lamp near the ceiling. "Aw, shucks, I missed," he says. What does Nell see in that guy? Everyone runs over to the window, and the camera dollies up after them. It hasn't done that in a while! Well, the cat's out of the bag. Moe tells Elmer that he's got to ride and get the cavalry. Elmer goes. He doesn't take his guitar, and he makes it out the door on the first try. We hear a loud crash in the hall. "Sounds like the trail hit him!" says Moe, real sarcastic-like. But it ain't over yet. We see Elmer in the alley, standing on his head. He steps down, but ends up inside a corrugated rain barrel that he doesn't realize he's standing in. He revs up and starts to run, and falls forward on his ass... metaphorically, that is. No guitar to brace his fall this time. What's the deal with this guy?
Now, the official IMDb page for Punchy Cowpunchers has no entry for "Connections," even though there are quite a few connections to the previous Stooge short, Out West. Not much on Wikipedia, either. Do I have to do everything around here? Apparently. But I guess you can't really point out that McIntyre's named Nell in both, or that Mahoney plays a dim bulb a lot in these Stooge flicks. Not interesting enough.
Next scene: the Devil is now serving drinks. You are Astroturf... sorry, wrong bit. I mean, the Stooges are now disguised as employees of the Red Dog Saloon. Shemp is mixing a drink for some guy, and telling the story of Goldilocks! Hah! Just deciphered it. Shame on him. A little more colorful character than the one he played in, say, The Bank Richard. The guy picks the olive out of the martini glass, and Shemp looks at him, as if to say "You dick!" Next scene: the Dillons enter, with MacDonald and another guy, suspenseful music and all. It's now five against three. Will they recognize the Stooges in their new getup? Shouldn't be too hard, especially if they know what their haircuts look like. Shemp can't take his eyes off the bad guys and ends up pouring the drink he spent so much time mixing right into his customer's hands. He does a massive double take, but still tells the guy "That'll be two bits!" Two bits for hand creme? What is this, New York City?
Well, so far, the Stooges are safe. The Dillons don't recognize 'em, anywho. The five bad guys help themselves to a seat. Boo! Hiss! Larry and Moe take their orders. MacDonald asks Moe if they've seen three strangers. Moe tries to act all cool and nonchalant, but his moustache is thinking along different lines. Larry spots this right away and immediately rushes over to fix Moe's disguise. Suspicions amongst the bad guys haven't been raised yet. Moe just keeps on talking and he brushes Larry aside pretty well. Larry puts his hands to his own mustache in a desperate attempt to tell Moe what's up without saying it directly. You know, undercover work. Moe just pushes on Larry's mustache to get him to go away. Lol. Larry changes his tactic and just grabs Moe's mustache and rips it off Moe's face. A mighty struggle erupts over Moe's mustache, but the bad guy just keeps talking. "I checked that stagecoach, boss! There were just two old miners and some dude." I think that's what he says. The struggle over the moustache is just too distracting. To cut to the chase... too late for that, I know... the moustache somehow ends up out of the hands of Moe and Larry, and onto the nose of Kenneth MacDonald. MacDonald scrunches his head down, thereby giving himself a double chin, and he takes a good, long look at this new thing on his face. The Stooges will probably do a double take over that one... that's my boys! Ever the smart bad guy, MacDonald quickly puts two and two together, stands up and says "Well, well...." What is this, an Adam Sandler pic? Is MacDonald the O'Doyle of old after all? "Spying, eh?" asks MacDonald. "No... leaving!" says Moe. Lol. Check out the way MadConald... I mean, MacDonald grabs Larry. It's personal now! Shemp quickly ducks behind the bar, as any patriotic American would.
Next scene: Moe and Larry are gently escorted over to the bar by a buncha guys. Apparently there was one regular customer left in the place, but he quickly takes off. Moe and Larry are pressed against the bar, and one dude rips Larry's moustache off! Dayamn. These guys aren't kidding around. MacDonald wonders where the other one is. Despite the earlier scenes, he's clearly the mastermind of this bunch. He's brought two extra guys for a good reason: one to get the girl, the other to open the safe. MacDonald is now free to focus on more, immediate matters. He slowly says "...now I wonder where the other one went?" and slowly starts to look behind the bar, his gun drawn. Dayamn. This dude means business.
Of course, Shemp wasn't born yesterday, either. He's a bonafide New York City street fighter, and he means business of his own. For no sooner does MacDonald draw near, than BOOM! Right in the kisser with the stream of seltzer. If someone didn't already invent the seltzer bottle, the Stooges would have had to. The shock of the seltzer is enough, of course, that MacDonald drops his gun and backs the hell off. Cut to Shemp rising like a phoenix and holding the spraying seltzer bottle tried and true. Man, what a great shot that would be in 3D. Shemp aims his wrath at the other two, just for good measure. One of the bad guys tries to climb up and over the bar to get to Shemp, but the sheer force of the seltzer spray is just too great, and just too humiliating. The guy backs down like a coyote trying to eat a porcupine with the spines out.
Unfortunately, Shemp makes the mistake of stopping the seltzer. He celebrates prematurely by laughing at the bad guys. The bad guys quickly recover and Shemp's laughters soon turn to screams of anguish. Shemp takes off running, and the incidental music fires up! This is a Stooge film, right? I've never heard of such a thing.
Next scene: a chase through a warehouse full of crates... I mean, a Western warehouse full of crates. This is all very familiar... but the warehouse in Out West is clearly different. Alas, we only get three seconds of the warehouse chase. Now it's time to check in on Nell! The bad guy is in Nell's room, and he's walking real slow, in an attempt to corner Nell. Different incidental music now. Oh, this is game-changing, indeed. All we need is a throne. The guy starts to go around the table, but he shouldn't have even bothered. Nell heads for the window at about medium speed, and the bad guy catches her. Apparently, Nell wants to get caught. Maybe she's carrying smallpox or something and she'll try poisoning the bad guys to death! That'd be a nice Shyamalan-esque twist. Cross-fade back to Colonel Dent's office. Elmer enters and tells him of the trouble at... lemme double check. Trouble at Coyote Crick. How did I miss that before? "We need the Cavalry!" says Elmer. Dent informs Elmer, with the heaviest of hearts, that there is no Cavalry. "Yesterday was payday and, well... boys will be boys," says Dent. The new highlight of the film.
Elmer tells Dent that he's riding alone. And now, the hard task of leaving the office. Elmer remembers the trouble he had last time with the chair, but he does trip over the Ottoman at his feet. Damn that ancient empire and their obsession with furniture for the human foot! Back to Moe, who emerges from the safety that is the area behind his stack of crates... or so he once thought. A hand reaches from behind the crate, grabs him by his sugar bowl haircut, and pulls him back into the darkness, screaming like Curly might in a similar situation. But Moe apparently gets the better of the guy, and the bad guy emerges on the other side of the stack of crates, cupping his hands to his aching face. The bad guy vows to get revenge by punching the next thing that comes along... which happens to be another bad guy, in this case. Back to Nell, who got herself uncaught, and now tries to make it to the front door, only to be blocked, much like The Continental would do. And now, the fourth concurrent thread! The safe dude's just getting warmed up. And now, back to a struggling Nell. Hmm! And they say attention deficit disorder's a modern day phenomenon. Imagine being the editor of this film!
Well, we're down to five minutes left, counting the 20 seconds or so for the end title, and there seems to be no break in the action, so it's time for Act Three. Nell says "I'm just a poor, weak woman!" and punches her attacker. The guy backs up and crashes through the window. She faints on the bed. She needs no lesson in irony. And now, we cut to Elmer, riding fast on his white horse. And now, we cut to Larry, who hits the criminal mastermind in the head with a breakaway wooden bucket. Touché. He won't be masterminding anything for a while! Alas, Larry's celebration is cut short, as he's set upon by two bad guys who will probably grab him by the hair. I think people are just jealous of Lawrence's magnificent head of bone and naturally curly hair! He squibs out of their grip at the last possible second. Back to the safe cracker. Back to the bad guys nursing their wounds. The mastermind sends one of his goons to go check on Blackjack... you know, the guy who was supposed to tie up the girl. How sweet it is when the criminals' cloth starts to unravel. After that, Shemp pokes his head out from behind the crates, slow as a turtle. Eventually, he makes eye contact with the two bad guys, at which point he spits off his mustache and runs off. Just like a gecko losing its tail! They'll get around to that Geico commercial soon enough. The mastermind's flunkie grabs the mustache in mid-air and says "I got him!" That's precisely why he's not the mastermind.
Next scene: a big stack of crates. The mastermind's on Stage Right, and the flunkie on Stage Left, and they're headed on a collision course for each other; they just don't know it yet... aw, dang. I thought they were going to run into each other! Shemp makes his move, and bashes the flunkie on the head with what looks like a giant incandescent bulb, which breaks into several tens of small pieces. Shemp runs around the stack of crates and gets MacDonald in the head with a breakaway pitcher. Maybe he is greased lightning after all!
Back to Nell, still passed out on the bed. The incidental music is that violin number they always use in cartoons. Somebody else look that one up, huh? ...Frühlingslied! That's it! Never mind. Nell comes to and gets up off the bed. Enter the second bad guy. Nell runs towards the safety of the table again. Back to Elmer riding on his horse. Back to Nell struggling with the second bad guy. She must be about to throw another punch, as she says "I'm just a poor, defenseless woman!" She decks the bad guy, but he just passes out on the floor. Nell starts to faint, but has to walk over to the bed to do it. If you're going to do something, you might as well do it right. Lol.
Back to the Stooges in the warehouse. Larry's got a club as big as a caveman's. The bad guys try to sneak up on him in vain. Larry raises his mighty club and, as usually happens, Moe becomes collateral damage. But at least Larry smashes the right head next. One out of two ain't bad, as someone says! Larry makes the mistake of trying to see if Moe's all right. The mastermind strikes, and grabs Larry by his arms. The bad guy comes to and grabs a dazed Moe. Better go back to Elmer, riding. How far away is this guy, anyway?
Back to the bad guys. One of the bad guys is returning to inform the mastermind that the safe is open. "Good! Let's go!" says the mastermind. But first... the bad guys see Shemp sneaking around like a sneakthief. Might as well tie up all the loose ends. Shemp's just about to fall into the bad guys' hands when... "SHEMP! LOOK OUT!" cries Larry and maybe Moe. Shemp throws an obstacle into the bad guys' way and takes off running. Next scene: man, if that's as fast as Shemp can run he's fu... finished. Shemp ends up hiding in the safe. I thought the safe was on the second floor! Sheesh. Forgot to check my brain at the door. Next scene: the bad guys can't find Shemp, so it's time to empty the safe. Ironic, dontcha think? (Sorry, can't link to anything Alanis Morrisette-related. It's a rule I have, but it's served me well in life.) "I thought you said you opened this safe!" says the mastermind. "I did," says the safecracker. Shemp's within, doing everything he can to keep the safe from being opened. Screenwriters... ah, you get the idea. Shemp appears to be grasping a handle that isn't there. "Never mind, I know the combination," says the safecracker, and he gets to work opening the safe anew. Shemp watches in horror as the thing... see, there's a part of the locking mechanism on the inside of the safe door, and it starts to turn. When it stops, Shemp starts turning it himself. To the bad guys' horror, the dial starts to turn by a force all its own. In a good bit of acting, the safecracker guy slowly, hesitantly gets a hold of the dial again and starts to turn it. He stops, satisfied that the lock is back to normal... MORE HORROR! The dial starts turning again! Shemp tries to laugh quietly to himself. Lol.
The mastermind grabs a hold of the dial and tries turning it himself. When he stops, Shemp gives the lock a good hard spin for good measure, as though he's made it to the final round on The Price is Right. The mastermind puts two and two together, and says "We'll blast!" Diabolical. That is, unless the plot intervenes. The safecracker gets a drill and starts to go to work. Meanwhile, there's a commotion in the other part of the room. The bad guys come out with Moe and Larry tied up. MacDonald goes over to deal with them personally. Meanwhile, back to the horse... this time, the horse has no rider, and the words "He fell off again!" appear on the screen. Goodbye, Fourth Wall, it's been good to know you. Back to Nell, languishing upon the bed in her room, the Spring Song rebooting anew. She gets up and looks at the bad guy passed out on the floor. The broken window was traumatic enough, now this! The next bad guy enters the room. This time, Nell swings and knocks him out right away. Lol. I dare say she's about to steal the movie! To mix things up a bit, she goes over and faints on the loveseat... and knocks her head on the wooden back of the loveseat. She just earned some damn Stooge credentials on that one. Wonder if that was scripted, or did the sound effects men have to put in some unscheduled overtime out of the love of their craft. And now... back to the safe. The hole has been drilled and the mastermind comes over to supervise. Cut to Moe and Larry, struggling away with their pitiful lot in life: tied up with ropes. Back to the safe. The dynamite is lit and inserted into the safe. Cut to Shemp. "Hmm! Fourth of July's early this year," he'll probably say... close. "A sparkler!" he says. That helps him to realize what it is. "Oh, no! No! No!.." he bellows as he pushes the dynamite back out. And so, the tug of war begins. The mastermind pushes the dynamite back in, and covers the hole with his hand. Shemp pushes the dynamite back out, fuse first. The mastermind moves his hand in pain, and... KABOOM. Who's the mastermind now, bitches? Post-explosion, the camera slowly pans down to show two empty pairs of shoes and/or boots. But where did they go? Some questions were not meant to be answered; at least, not right away.
Next scene: the Red Dog Saloon is in shambles. Look at that bannister! Well, it was never designed to be a bank, anyway. Small price to pay for beauty! Dazed from the massive explosion, Shemp emerges from the safe. He's still much better off than the mastermind and the safecracker. Just to teach him a lesson, God smites Shemp on the head with a bunch of white powder. God is one cruel bastard. In a way, he's like that creepy kid in school who's got a bunch of headless Barbie dolls in the basement, and if you show the least bit of curiosity, he'll point to the neck and say "This is where I cut 'em off myself with my dad's hacksaw! Nice and slow so they'll know true suffering. My suffering." ...where was I? Oh, right. Next scene: no, the mastermind and the safecracker are all right. They're just under some chairs and broken pieces of stove. Or pieces of a broken stove? This part is normally cut out when broadcast on TV because MacDonald appears to be in blackface. So racist. Dazed, Shemp finds himself standing next to a tied up Larry and Moe. Shemp asks them an innocent question, and Moe tries to bite his face off! What's that all about? Tough brotherly love, I guess. Evidently, Moe and Larry don't like being tied up like that, so they politely ask Shemp if he would be so kind as to undo the knots in the rope.
At that very moment, Elmer makes an entrance worthy of Westworld, for example. I should watch that one again! I want to wonder what I ever saw in it as a kid. Elmer draws both his guns and takes long strides up to the Stooges. "Whar's Nell?" he drawls. "In tharr," says Shemp. Smart-ass. Back to Nell, who's just recovered from her latest fainting spell. And through the door comes Elmer. She's not going to... yes, she is. And boy! Was Elmer ever ready to fly backwards! Is this his last Stooge film ever? Is he doomed to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair? ...according to the IMDb, no. Apparently he was okay, but he should really stop doing Stooge films. They're not good for his health. Probably not my health, either, for that matter! Nell doesn't faint this time. This time, she cries "Oh no!" Back to the Stooges, busy tying up that garbage known as the bad guys. The tying job's not terribly organized, and Moe finds himself getting roped into it by Larry, so to speak.
Next scene: Elmer and Nell come upon the Stooges tying up the bad guys. They don't help, of course. No, there's only 40 seconds or so left, so other plot threads must be focused upon. Glorious in victory, Nell tells Elmer that they can now get married! Elmer gets cold feet, more or less. Hard to tell, as he's kind of a dim bulb. "Now wait a minute, Nell! Us Westerners ain't the marrying kind!" he tells Nell. He puts his hand up, but doesn't tell her to "talk to the hand," thankfully. That would be too unkind. Elmer looks up and off to a mysterious vantage point that only he can see, and continues: "We just go riding off into the sunset." But this is a Stooge film, so they'll have to do the sunset equivalent within the confines of their borrowed set. Elmer strums the guitar once, and starts slowly marching away, parallel to the bar, singing "O Give me a Home..." Soon after, however, he gets hit in the back of the head with something. He does a forward flip and lands on his back a second time. Damn, he's good. Now, we may never know who threw that mystery breakaway porcelain object. There's certainly at least four suspects that we know of. But all we really need to know is that love conquers all. Elmer emerges from his slightly dazed state, shakes his head, looks over at Nell and says "Nell honey!" Nell runs over to comfort and cradle her little Elmer-boo. Larry puts his hands to his hips, and I couldn't agree more. Elmer and Nell get the last shot of the pic. This is the best Stooge short that the Stooges had a small cameo in.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan