One of my favorite Henry Fonda films. Although I'd be remiss not to mention "[[ASIN:B0007M21Z8 My Name Is Nobody]]", "[[ASIN:B00004XPPE Fail-Safe]]" and "[[ASIN:B00005JH9B The Lady Eve]]" in the same breath.
Real-life friends Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda play a pair of grizzled old cowpokes earning a meager living herding cattle. John O'Hanlan and incessant jabber-monkey Harley Sullivan, good buddies who are about to have their lives upended and altered with the delivery of a letter.
John has learned that his brother, whom he hasn't seen or heard from since they were young men, has passed away. Over those many years D.J. O'Hanlan amassed quite a fortune. And with his passing, Ol' John has inherited his entire estate; wealth in the form of a town's social club - the building, its contents and furnishings are all his - including a fat bank account. John has just retired. All he has to do is go and collect it.
Back in the day before cars, roads and rails - the horse was the primary means of transport. So a trip that would take five or six hours today would be a two or three month journey over rough untamed wilderness. And his ever-chattering, walnut-cracking buddy Harley figures: Well shoot, why not take the trip too? Much to the chagrin of John, who is indeed his friend, but hilariously one who wishes his friend would shut the hell up once in while. Months of constant yakkity-yak is enough to drive even the most temperate of people to violence.
As the pair enter Cheyenne, it's made clear that John O'Hanlan is a person of polarizing interest. From the cheeriest warm welcomes to the frostiest of dismissals. Since he's never been to the town or met any of these people, neither cowboy can explain why.
When he takes possession of the "social club" - suddenly, it's all too clear why anyone with the last name of O'Hanlan elicits such strong reactions from the townfolk.
Conflict soon erupts as everyone suddenly realizes John isn't his free-spirited brother. Surprisingly prudish, a moralizing aspect of his personality comes out. Much to the chagrin of the women who call the club their home and the guests, some of whom endure traveling hundreds of miles to enjoy the company of Shirley Jones and friends. Even his old friend Harley is quite put off by his buddy's position that the "social" aspect has to stop.
Exceedingly enjoyable comedy with both movie veterans showcasing the casual ease garnered over a lifetime in the craft.
- Common knowledge now with the internet, but back in the day and for many years, I was the only cinephile that knew this is the only film in which Jimmy Stewart has a theatrical scene with a nude female. Quite a looker too, as Elaine Devry was really something during her prime. Won a decent stack of cash over the years on bets via this bit of movie trivia, prefaced with "Actually, yes he did." <g>
- Have had a long-standing thing for Shirley Jones. And that was years before I saw '[[ASIN:B000056HEE Elmer Gantry]]'. Yahoo! In this film, I have to admit, I take indecent pleasure in picturing her as 'available'.