Study Guide

Blazing Saddles Community

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CHORUS: There was a peaceful town called Rock Ridge/ Where people lived in harmony/ They never had no kind of trouble/ There was no hint of misery.

As the movie's chorus tells us, Rock Ridge is pretty much your ideal town from the Old West. Everyone gets along and everything's nice and peaceful. But that doesn't last too long once Hedley Lamarr's thugs ride in and try to chase everyone away.

CHORUS: Now is a time of great decision/ Are we to stay or up and quit?/ There's no avoiding this conclusion/ Our town is turning into s***.

After the first wave of Hedley's attacks, the people of Rock Ridge meet in a church to decide whether they'd like to stick around or if it's better to take off and never look back.

REVEREND: Well, I don't have to tell you good folks what has been happening here in our beloved little town.

It's true, Reverend. You don't need to tell us because we've all seen the mayhem that Hedley Lamarr's henchmen have been wreaking all through your poor town. It's nice that you have a strong enough sense of community to talk things over. But then again, it also makes it easy for someone to chuck a stick of dynamite through the window and kill you all at once.

GABBY JOHNSON: You get back here, you old pious, candy-ass sidewinder! There ain't no way that nobody is going to leave this town!

Yes, you can barely tell what the dude is saying. But somewhere in all of his gibberish, Gabby Johnson tells us that there's more to a town than a bunch of houses. It's where the townsfolk were born and it's where they should die. And Gabby isn't afraid of some band of outlaws trying to change that.

GABBY JOHNSON: Hell, I was born here and I was raised here, and goddamn it, I'm going to die here!

As Gabby puts it, he has no intention of leaving the community that he's spent his whole life in. This is the Old West, after all, and you'll be lucky to find a town within a hundred miles where there's no danger of dying every day.

OLSON JOHNSON: What are we made of? Our fathers came across the prairie... fought Indians, fought drought, fought locusts, fought Dix! Remember when Richard Dix came in here and tried to take over this town?

After Gabby has finished speaking, a dude named Olson Johnson steps up and decides to make another passionate speech about how the people of Rock Ridge must never surrender to the villains who try to chase them away.

REVEREND: Well, if we're going to stay, and I think it's a big mistake, we're going to need us a new sheriff.

It's clear that once the community of Rock Ridge decides to stay put, they're going to need a new sheriff to come in and try to keep up the rule of law. But they're tired of seeing their own people killed by desperadoes, so they telegram the governor to send them someone from away.

TAGGART: I understand there's a new sheriff in town. Who wants to kill him?

Yup, it's business as usual for a thug like Taggart. As soon as he hears there's a new sheriff in Rock Ridge, he asks his men who'd like to do the honor of killing the dude.

BART: Well, once I establish myself in this here town, Deputy Spade might turn out to be a groovy position.

Despite all the racism that he faces when he first gets to town, Bart keeps believing that the people of Rock Ridge will eventually accept him. Of course, his buddy Jim thinks this is all crazy because there's no changing the way people in a rural town think if all of them are raging racists.

OLD WOMAN: Of course, you'll have the good taste not to mention that I spoke to you.

It looks like Bart is making some progress with the community of Rock Ridge when an elderly lady brings him a pie. After all, this same woman called him the "N" word earlier in the same day. But despite her apology, she still doesn't want Bart telling people that she spoke to him. After all, it's one thing not to be racist. But it's another to not be afraid of other people's racism.

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