The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again

The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again starring Walter Brennan and Fred Astaire is a 1970 ABC Movie of the Week sequel to the Western comedy The Over-the-Hill Gang. The supporting cast includes Edgar Buchanan, Andy Devine, Chill Wills, Lana Wood, and Burt Mustin (all of whom, except Wood, were in The Over-the-Hill Gang). Like the 1969 original, the sequel involves a group of aging Texas Rangers and was written by Richard Carr and directed by George McCowan.

The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again
DVD cover
Written byRichard Carr
Directed byGeorge McCowan
StarringWalter Brennan
Fred Astaire
Edgar Buchanan
Andy Devine
Chill Wills
Lana Wood
Music byDavid Raksin
Country of originUS
Original language(s)English
Production
Producer(s)Shelley Hull
CinematographyFleet Southcott
Editor(s)Richard W. Farrell
Running time75 minutes
Production company(s)Thomas-Spelling Productions
DistributorABC
Release
Original releaseNovember 17, 1970
Chronology
Preceded byThe Over-the-Hill Gang

Pat O'Brien had played the second lead in the first film, but his character was left out of the sequel and he was effectively replaced by Astaire, who was not in the original film.[1]

Richard Widmark played O'Brien's character in a quasi-remake two decades later entitled Once Upon a Texas Train, in which the Over-the-Hill Gang, with an entirely new cast including Stuart Whitman, played supporting roles to Willie Nelson's train robber.

This was the final film for three-time winner Academy Award-winner Walter Brennan.

Cast

Plot

Old and retired Sergeant Nash Crawford (Brennan), formerly of the Texas Rangers, enters a saloon where his former partner, Gentleman George Asque (Wills), plays poker with a man and beats him 10 times in a row. The man calls George a cheater and prepares to draw his gun, but Nash saves his comrade by calling him "Wyatt," making the stranger mistakenly assume he is Wyatt Earp.

The two exit the saloon. Nash gives George a telegram which says that they should go to Waco because former partner the Baltimore Kid (Astaire) is in trouble. It is signed "Friend."

Jason Fitch (Buchanan) is getting married to Louise Murphy (Bronson). George and Nash interrupt the ceremony to take Jason with them to Waco and they convince him by shouting the Ranger code "Brazos!" Jason promises Louise that he will return and leaves with his friends.

In Waco, they find out that "Friend" was Amos Polk, a former outlaw, now a newspaper man. Polk takes them to the Baltimore Kid's grave. It is unclear why Polk called them, but he shows them the Kid's wallet, in which is a note that the Kid leaves to his comrades when he dies. The four go to the saloon, where they meet a drunk who looks very much like the Baltimore Kid. They take him to the newspaper office, where he claims to have been a Texas Ranger once. The group is now sure that he is the Baltimore Kid.

The Kid puts on some elegant clothes and gets a new gun. His gravestone is removed. The Kid becomes the Waco city marshal and the old Rangers his deputies.

Now it is clear that the bandit who killed the previous marshal and his deputies is a fake. The gang of Sam Braham returns to Waco to kill the real Baltimore Kid. A gunfight in the streets of Waco results and the Rangers win against the outlaws, but the Kid is shot dead. The citizens of Waco bury the Kid again. The old Rangers leave, but, at the end of the town, the Baltimore Kid is waiting, very much alive. All of them go with Jason Fitch, who has to get married.

Reception

The Los Angeles Times called it "very pallid and silly".[2]

References

  1. "For Lease Sign Hung on Bunny Jet" Los Angeles Times, 30 April 1970: pg. 13.
  2. "NBC May Hasten Film Programming" Smith, Cecil. Los Angeles Times 23 Nov. 1970: pg. 23.
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