Synopsis by Paul Brenner
James Garner is a nothing short of a delight in this western spoof that stands western clichés on their ears. The film takes place in the small western town of Calender, a town that experiences a gold rush when gold is discovered in an open grave by Prudy Perkins (Joan Hackett). As gold prospectors flood in and out of town, the Danby clan, anxious to take advantage of the situation (since their ranch blocks the main road out of town) levies a 20% tribute on every gold shipment that passes through. Three sheriffs have been dispatched by the Danbys, and they control the town. Into this situation, on his way to Australia, rides Jason McCullough (Garner). McCullough is an easy-going sort who just happens to be a crack shot. The town rapidly makes him sheriff. His first line of business is to break up a fight and to arrest Joe Danby (Bruce Dern) for murder. As McCullouch settles down in the Perkins boarding house, Pa Danby (Walter Brennan) plots to spring his son from jail. But when all his mechanizations fail to gain Joe's release, Pa Danby gathers together all the Danbys in the surrounding countryside to head into Calender to get rid of McCullough.
arrest, bad-guy-turns-good, deception, deputy, gold-rush, rescue, sheriff, shoot-out