Blazing Saddles (1974)

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A newly elected sheriff must fight prejudice while saving the town he was newly appointed to protect.


Genre

Comedy

Western

Characters/Groups

Bart - Cleavon Little

Jim - Gene Wilder

Taggart - Slim Pickens

Hedley Lamarr - Harvey Korman

Lili Von Shtupp - Madeline Kahn

Governor Lepetomane and Indian Chief - Mel Brooks

Lyle - Burton Gilliam

Mongo - Alex Karras

Olson Johnson - David Huddleston

Rev. Johnson - Liam Dunn

Howard Johnson - John Hillerman

Van Johnson - George Furth

Gabby Johnson - Claude Ennis Starrett, Jr.

Harriett Johnson - Carol Arthur

Dr. Sam Johnson - Richard Collier

Charlie - Charles McGregor

Miss Stein - Robyn Hilton

Gum Chewer - Don Megowan

Buddy Bizarre - Dom DeLuise

Count Basie - Himself

Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

Lyle rides a handcar to a group of workers working on the railroad. He criticizes their work ethic and then suggests they sing one of their slave songs. Bart and the other workers then sing a parody version of I Get a Kick Out of You. Lyle stops them and suggests they sing a song like Camptown Racers. Taggart rides up and tells Lyle they need to send something to check out some possible quicksand along the route. Lyle suggests horses, but Taggart tells him horses are too valuable and suggests sending two of the workers. Bart and Charlie are then chosen to take a handcar and check to see if there is quicksand. They get to the end of the rail line and start to sink. Taggart and Lyle ride up and Lyle lassos the handcar to retrieve it. Bart and Charlie manage to crawl to safety and after Taggart throws them a shovel to get back to work, Bart hits him in the back of the head with it. At the office of Hedley Lamarr, Taggart shows Hedley where on the map they found the quicksand and tells him the railroad will have to go through the town of Rock Ridge. They hear a noise and Hedley asks Boris if he can hang people more quietly. Hedley comes up with the plan of stealing the land of Rock Ridge so the railroad will have to pay him millions to run their railroad through it. Taggart comes up with the idea of riding into Rock Ridge and causing so much terror that the people will leave. Taggart asks Hedley if he would have Bart hung and Hedley agrees to it.

Taggart, Lyle and a group of other men ride into Rock Ridge shooting at people, including punching an old woman in the gut repeatedly. Later at church, Rev. Johnson tells the townspeople they need to act. Gabby Johnson walks in front of the crowd and mumbles to everyone that no one is leaving. Olson Johnson gets up next and agrees with Gabby. He tells the crowd their forefathers came across the prairie to settle Rock Ridge and fought locusts and Dix and they shouldn't give up. Dr. Sam Johnson stands up next and agrees with Olson and suggests they fight it out. Howard Johnson then stands up and agrees with Dr. Johnson and says he wont give up his ice cream parlor. Van Johnson stands up and agrees with Howard. Rev. Johnson tells the townspeople if they stay they will have to have a new sheriff. Howard suggests Governor Lepetomane be asked to send a sheriff so no local is killed and Van agrees with him. Governor Lepetomane is holding a meeting with Hedley who asks him to sign a bill taking land from Native Americans due to it being unsafe for them in exchange for a box of paddle balls. Hedley also hands him a bill to sign that would transform the insane asylum into a gambling hall for the insane. Miss Stein tells Governor Lepetomane about a telegram from Rock Ridge stating they need a new sheriff immediately. Hedley comes up with the idea to send Bart as the new sheriff as a way to offend the citizens and cause them to leave. Hedley brings Bart to Governor Lepetomane's office and at first Governor Lepetomane disagrees with Hedley's choice of Bart, but Hedley convinces him that by making Bart the sheriff, he will go down in history.

As Bart is riding towards town he passes Count Basie and his band, and Count Basie gives him a high five. The town is preparing for the arrival of their new sheriff and Olson tells them a telegram has come that the sheriff will be there at noon. Gabby uses a spyglass to watch as Bart rides up and continuously tries to tell the town, the sheriff is black, but the townspeople can't hear him over the ringing of the town bell. As Bart rides into town the music stops and the townspeople stare at him in shock. Bart walks up to the stage and as he is reading the order making him sheriff, the townspeople point weapons at him. Rev. Johnson asks the people to not get upset, but tells Bart he is on his own when someone puts a bullet through his Bible. Bart pulls out his own pistol and takes himself hostage and threatens to shoot himself. Olson tells the townspeople to stay back. Harriett Johnson asks if anyone will help Bart, but Dr. Johnson shushes her. The Town Council comes together and Harriett reads out a letter to Governor Lepetomane about her feelings about Bart and demanding a new sheriff. Jim wakes up from the drunk tank in jail and is surprised by who Bart is. They play chess and Jim tells Bart his past as a gunfighter and why he drinks. Barth then tells Jim about his family's history and their run in with an Indian Chief.

Lyle and the other workers are eating beans and farting when Taggart asks who wants to kill the new sheriff in Rock Ridge. Lyle then suggests they send Mongo to kill the sheriff. Bart walks around town, but is still rejected. Mongo rides into town on a zebu and starts terrorizing the town. Van runs to the sheriff office and begs Bart to help the town out. Before he leaves, Jim warns Bart that shooting Mongo will just make him mad. Bart dresses as a delivery man and tells Mongo there is a candygram for him. The candygram explodes when Mongo opens it. Hedley comes up with the idea to use Lili Von Shtupp to seduce Bart, who is finally accepted by the town. Hedley goes to Lili's dressing room and asks her to seduce Bart, who goes to the show with Jim. Lili comes on stage and sings about how tired she is. After the show, Bart gets a note from Lili inviting him to her dressing room. Bart goes to her dressing room and Lili turns out the light. The next morning, Lili is hand feeding Bart and she begs him to stay. Bart goes back to work and Jim gives him a letter demanding the release of Mongo. Bart releases Mongo, but Mongo doesn't want to go due to being impressed by Bart's ability to hurt him. Mongo tells Bart and Jim about Hedley's interest in Rock Ridge and the railroad. Charlie sees Bart and Jim ride up to the railroad camp and runs up to Bart and hugs him. Charlie then tells Bart that the railroad is going to be going through Rock Ridge. Taggart, Lyle and their men ride up and Lyle offers to shoot Bart for Taggart. Before they can, Jim shoots him and the others in the hand.

Hedley has Lili tied up in his office and after she tells him he is finished, he comes up with an idea to build an army to fight Rock Ridge and he has Taggart take a message down to hire any kind of thug. Bart and Jim ride back into town and Olson shows them the wanted ad looking for murderers. Bart asks the people to give him time to come up with an idea and they agree. A long line of thugs gather to sign up for the attack on Rock Ridge. Gum Chewer goes to sign up, but is shot dead when Hedley catches him chewing gum and not having enough to give to everyone. Bart and Jim try to spy on the group by dressing as Klu Klux Klanners, but are caught. They sneak into the railroad camp at night and tell Charlie to gather all of the workers to bring paint and wood to Rock Ridge. Bart tells the citizens of Rock Ridge that they will build a fake Rock Ridge and if they agree to give the railroad workers a plot of land they will help. The townspeople then reluctantly agree to the plan. A replica Rock Ridge is built, including replica townspeople. To slow down Taggart and his gang, Bart, Jim and Mongo build a fake tollbooth. Taggart and his gang ride into Rock Ridge and Bart tries to blow the explosives they placed in the town, but it fails. Jim then shoots the explosive and the town explodes and bodies and horses go flying into the air. The citizens of Rock Ridge and Taggart's men get into a huge fight that spills into the studio lot where Buddy Bizarre is filming his musical French Mistake. When Taggart punches Buddy Bizarre in the stomach, a fight breaks out between the actors and actresses of Blazing Saddles and French Mistake. This fight then continues into the commissary and more people join the fight. Hedley runs away from the Warner Brothers Pictures studio and takes a taxi to the Mann's Chinese Theatre. Hedley goes inside the theater and watches as Bart shows up to the theater on a horse. Bart tells Hedley to draw, but Hedley lies and says he is unarmed. Hedley then tries to shoot Bart, who shoots Hedley in the crotch. Bart and Jim go inside the theater and finish watching Blazing Saddles. In the film, Bart tells the citizens of Rock Ridge he must leave and he and Jim get into a sedan and drive away.