Drink, Drank, Drunk
When we first meet Jim, he's a mess. He's a blurry-eyed alcoholic who spends his nights in the drunk-tank of Rock Ridge—which would be insanely depressing if this wasn't a Mel Brooks movie. As is, Jim's booze-sodden self is played for lols.
But it's not long before Bart asks him why he abuses himself like this and Jim tells us his story. He opens by saying he used to go by the name of The Waco Kid and he had the quickest pistol draw in the West. But over time, his fame became a burden because people always wanted to kill him.
Jim got so weary that one day he gave up after a run-in with a kid, as he says,
"I was just walking down the street and I heard a voice behind me say "‘Reach for it, mister!"’ I spun around. And there I was face to face with a 6-year-old kid!"
Of course, Jim tried to walk away. But as he adds,
"The little bastard shot me in the ass."
You hear that? We've got ourselves a movie with a groin shot and a bum shot, folks. What's not to love?
So yeah, Jim is what many people would call a burnout. He had his day in the sun and now he feels like his best days are behind him. Now he just spends his days trying to find the bottom of a whiskey bottle, because after he got shot by the little kid,
"I limped to the nearest saloon, crawled inside a whiskey bottle, and I've been there ever since."
He finds a new reason to be motivated though when he becomes friends with Bart and decides to be a deputy to him. After all, things are probably pretty slow at the Wonka Factory and Gene Wilder—uh, we mean Jim—needs something else to do.
Fastest Hands In The West
When he gets a rush from talking to Bart, Jim looks like he might be ready to step back into the world of guns and do something productive with his skills. In this sense, meeting Bart gives him a second lease on life, which Jim snatches by demonstrating his fast hands to Bart, saying,
"Put your hands on both sides of it [the chess piece]. Now when I say, 'go' you try to grab it first."
Of course, he's able to grab the chess piece from across the table even before Bart can close his hands around it, and it's clear that Bart is impressed enough to take Jim on as his deputy.
Most of Jim and Bart's conversations revolve around the question of whether the people of Rock Ridge will ever accept Bart as their Sheriff. Bart seems to think so, but Jim is more skeptical about human nature, saying,
"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons!"
But over time, Bart proves Jim wrong and restores a little bit of Jim's faith in simple farm folk. At least that how things seem to be going until Bart and Jim decide to leave Rock Ridge because the place is boring.
By the end of the movie, Jim learns that Bart plans on leaving Rock Ridge forever. He asks where Bart wants to go, and when Bart responds
"Nowhere special. I always wanted to go there."
So the two of them decide to stick together because let's face it, they're best friends and they make a great team. So this pretty much completes Jim's resurrection from a life of alcoholism into a life of heroism… which is all just swell.