James Garner’s Support Your Local Sheriff is as good a comedy western as you would ever find. It’s not a spoof or a send-up like Blazing Saddles. More a wry subversion.
The story is passably western.
As I’ve mentioned before, Garner’s Jason McCullough gets diverted on his travels to Australia and becomes the titular sheriff of a lawless frontier town and apprehends one of the sons of a local outlaw family.
It just views the scenario of an individual playing a lone hand from a comedic perspective instead of the more earnest presentations of those found in, say, High Noon or The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
Of note are a stellar supporting cast, all well versed in dramatic roles, who appear to have the time of their life playing their parts straight down the line and let the dialogue do the work, in effect the whole rest of the cast play straight-man to Garner’s laconic wit.
The ‘just passing through on the way to Australia’ riff gets revisited a number of times. Here’s Garner’s Jason inquiring about the job of sheriff with the Mayor (Henry Morgan) and town council members. (In reality the only three members of the town’s citizenry who would take the positions.)
Well, gentlemen, I think it’s only fair to tell you that I’d only be interested in this job on a temporary basis.
Well, you see, actually I was on my way to Australia when I heard about your gold strike and I decided to, uh, travel through here and see if I couldn’t pick myself up a little stake.
What do you want to go to Australia for?
Well, it’s the last of the frontier country. Thought I might like to do a little pioneering.
I thought this was frontier country and we was pioneers.
So did I.