Study Guide

Blazing Saddles Setting

Setting

Rock Ridge (A Town from the Old West)

Rock Ridge is your typical town in the Wild West… or at least it's your typical peaceful town in the Wild West. But like any peaceful town from this time, the place is destined to deal with its fair share of problems. And why, do you ask?

Well, for one, they didn't call it the "Wild" West for nothing. Peace wasn't exactly a given on the frontier.

And, as Taggart says to his boss Hedley Lamarr, "the rail road has got to go through Rock Ridge." Hedley Lamarr has a lot riding on this railroad getting built, and he's not going to let some one-horse town stand in his way.

And so we hit the streets of Rock Ridge to see what the place is like. And as a chorus of voices tells us, the place is nice and quiet… even at the saloon:

"The town saloon was always lively/ But never nasty or obscene/ Behind the bar stood Anal Johnson/ He always kept things nice and clean!"

(And we thought our nicknames were mortifying.)

After Taggart and his thugs ride through, though, it looks like the people are going to pack up their things and leave. But these people have a stronger connection to their home than we might first think.

It turns out to be the completely incoherent and drunk Gabby Johnson who makes a passionate speech about how the folks of Rock Ridge need to stick around and fight for their home. As he tells the people of the town,

"There ain't no way that nobody is going to leave this town! Hell, I was born here and I was raised here, and goddamn it, I'm going to die here!" 

And guess what? The people get behind his speech and decide to fight for what is theirs, even if it means building a complete replica of the town for Taggart's men to attack. Yup, it's all pretty wacky and maybe even a tad cornball. But so are most of the characters in this movie.

Hey, if you want to watch a more realistic Western, just check out bleakity-bleak-bleak Unforgiven, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, or Wild Bunch. But Blazing Saddles will probably make you a lot less depressed.

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