Study Guide

Blazing Saddles Violence

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CHORUS: And all at once the trouble started/ A pack of murderers and thieves/ Like swarms of locusts they descended/ Their aim to make the townsfolk flee.

In case we couldn't tell from all the violent footage, the movie's chorus kicks in and sings about how the town of Rock Ridge gets attacked by a bunch of horrible men on horses. Of course, this is all part of Hedley Lamarr's plan to clear the way for his railroad.

REVEREND: Well, I don't have to tell you good folks what has been happening here in our beloved little town. Sheriff murdered, crops burned, stores looted, people stampeded…

When the first wave of attacks has died down in Rock Ridge, the townsfolk get together in the local church to discuss whether they should flee the town or stick it out. The reverend thinks they'd all be insane to stay after what's happened, and to back up his point he gives a laundry list of all the horrible violent stuff that's happened.

TELEGRAM: Sheriff murdered. Church meeting bombed. Reign of terror must cease.

When the people of Rock Ridge have had enough, they send a telegram to the governor asking him to send them a new sheriff. Of course, the reason they need a new sheriff is because the last one was murdered in the recent wave of attacks. But that might be something they want to keep on the down low when they recruit someone new.

GOVERNOR: Sheriff murdered! Innocent women and children blown to bits! We've got to protect our phony-baloney jobs, gentlemen.

When the governor becomes aware of all the violence that has descended on Rock Ridge, he is appalled. But as we quickly find out, he's more worried about looking like a bad governor than he is about the safety of Rock Ridge. In his words, he must act immediately in order to protect his job.

HEDLEY: I want rustlers, cut-throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperadoes, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, half-wits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswagglers...

Hedley Lamarr decides to pull out all the stops when his first two plans for destroying Rock Ridge fail. So he's forced to recruit every single horrible thug in the Old West to help him fulfill his plans. Then again, who's to say you can trust an army of murderers and thieves?

OLD WOMAN: Have you ever seen such cruelty?

To convey just how terrible Hedley Lamarr's men are, Mel Brooks includes a scene where these men are holding back an old woman's arms and punching her in the stomach. In a humorous moment, she looks toward the camera and asks us if we've ever seen such cruelty. Of course, it's a rhetorical question because the answer should automatically be "no." She might be a racist hick, but she's still a tiny old woman.

HEDLEY: I've decided to launch an attack that will reduce Rock Ridge to ashes!

When all his other plans have failed, Hedley Lamarr decides to launch an all-out attack on Rock Ridge that'll destroy the place entirely. Little does he know that Bart is getting the people of the town to create an entire replica town for Hedley's men to destroy. All the violence in the world won't accomplish anything if you're not directing it at the right target.

TAGGART: Be ready to attack Rock Ridge at noon tomorrow. Here's your badge.

Taggart takes on the responsibility of recruiting all the members of Hedley Lamarr's army of vicious outlaws. He gives each of them a badge to remind them which team they're on. But the villains couldn't care less about badges or anything like that. They just want to go destroy stuff.

TAGGART: Oh, that uppity n***** went'n hit me on the head with a shovel.

After a big evil speech, Hedley Lamarr notices that his henchman Taggart has a big bandage wrapped around his head. Taggart tells him that he was hit on the head with a shovel by one of his black railroad workers. The funny thing is that even though Taggart spends his days whipping his workers, he's shocked that one of them would lash out at him.

HEDLEY: It's all right, Taggart. Just a man and a horse being hung out there.

When there's a sudden noise, Taggart jumps and hugs Hedley Lamarr for comfort. And Hedley settles him down by saying that he's just heard a man and his horse being hung outside. Of course, it's absolutely ridiculous to literally hang a man and the horse he rode in on. But Mel Brooks is so captivated by the insane lack of judgment and justice in the Old West that he can't resist creating these nonsensical situations.

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