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theappledumplinggangridesagain

(If this is your first time on this blog, I ask you to read my “About” page first! You can find a link to it at the top left-hand corner of this blog. Thanks!)

The Apple Dumpling Gang was a film said to be the most successful Disney film of the 1970’s, hence it was only natural that a sequel to it would be made. However, this sequel would not star the main characters, Dusty and Donovan, from the first movie. Instead, it would focus on what many people would consider the runaway hit characters from the first film: the bumbling thieves, Theodore and Amos.

A similar decision was made in the original Pink Panther film series.

A similar decision was made in the original The Pink Panther film series.

So, is this film any good compared to The Apple Dumpling Gang or any good at all, for that matter? Or is this just a shoddy sequel created for the sole purpose of making money? Well, let’s take a look and find out!

And remember, SPOILERS AHEAD!

As the movie starts, we see the thieves from the first film, Theodore and Amos (aka The Apple Dumpling Gang), once again played by Don Knotts and Tim Conway, respectively. They’re headed to a town in the Old West called Junction City and are planning to turn over a new leaf and be good, law-abiding citizens. And as we all know, whenever thieves/bad guys decide to turn over new leaves in comedies, they somehow manage to get in a lot of trouble.

So the obvious question is: What trouble do Theodore and Amos manage to fall into? Well, they go to the city bank in order to open a bank account. But, a bank robbery is taking place when they arrive. The bank robbers manage to flee and Theodore and Amos, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, are suspected by the townspeople to be the bank robbers.

"You suspect us of robbing the bank just because you know that we're thieves and happen to be in the bank at the same time? That's shocking!"

“You suspect us of robbing the bank just because you know that we’re thieves and happen to be in the bank at the same time? That’s shocking!”

Even the Marshal of Junction City, Bill Hitchcock, played by Kenneth Mars,

You may remember him as Otto on Malcolm in the Middle. He also was a prolific voice actor most famously voicing King Triton in The Little Mermaid.

You may remember him as Otto on Malcolm in the Middle. He was also a prolific voice actor most famously voicing King Triton in The Little Mermaid.

vows to find Theodore and Amos (who’ve since fled from the scene of the crime) and bring them to justice.

While trying to evade the Marshal, Theodore and Amos hide in the back of a wagon stored with champagne. They remain hidden whilst the driver takes the wagon along its merry way to its destination…an army fort called Fort Concho, commanded by Major Gaskill, played by Harry Morgan!

Quite a coincidental shot, eh?

Quite a coincidental shot, eh?

And as you can imagine, once the officers and soldiers discover the two stowaways in their wagon, they’re not too pleased.

Especially since the bumpy wagon ride caused the champagne to become uncorked inadvertently inebriating Theodore and Amos.

Especially since the bumpy wagon ride caused the champagne to become uncorked inadvertently inebriating Theodore and Amos.

The next morning (after Theodore and Amos regain their sobriety), they realize that they’ve been signed on to 10 years of soldiering at Fort Concho. The fort has been having some trouble recently as multiple wagon shipments have been raided and looted by what appear to be Native Americans (the wagons have arrows pierced through them), although there doesn’t seem to be any Native Americans in the area. So it seems to be that this is the result of an inside job.

And when one of the privates, Jim Reid, played by Tim Matheson, is found stealing one of the evidential arrows one night, the case seems solved and he’s incarcerated in the fort cell.

Caught like a rat in a trap!

Caught like a rat in a trap!

Meanwhile, Theodore and Amos have been put on kitchen duty that night as a big party is taking place for the officers. The reason for the party is to announce the fact that Major Gaskill’s daughter, Millie, played by Elyssa Davalos,

Give me a minute while I admire her gorgeousity!

Give me a minute while I admire her gorgeousity!

is going to marry one of the lieutenants there, Jim Ravencroft, played by Robert Pine.

If you don't know who he is, but he reminds you of someone, it may be that you're familiar with his son.

If you don’t know who he is, but he reminds you of someone, it may be that you’re familiar with his son.

Yep, he's the father of Chris Pine. Why girls think he's so darn hot, I'll never know!

Yep, he’s the father of Chris Pine. Why girls think he’s so darn hot, I’ll never know!

Trouble arises however, when Marshal Hitchcock appears on the scene and starts shooting at Theodore and Amos. Some of the officers try to hold Marshal Hitchcock down while Theodore and Amos try to run away. Shots are fired and one thing leads to another until the entire fort is burned down,

I'm sure you want to watch this movie now just to see how the heck this happened!

I’m sure you want to watch this movie now just to see how the heck this happened!

and Private Reid escapes with Millie as a hostage.

If only she had joined the army like her father, then she'd have pummeled Private Reid to the ground. On the brighter side, I really love that dress!

If only she had joined the army like her father, she’d have pummeled Private Reid to the ground and gotten out of this mess. On the brighter side, I really love that dress!

He takes her to a cabin hidden away along a back trail where he hopes that the other soldiers can’t find him or her. The cabin is owned/run by a blind woman named Ms. Martha Austin, played by Audrey Totter. Apparently, Private Reid resides here at times helping Ms. Austin out with her chores and he decides to put Millie to work too. Millie is a bit shocked that Ms. Austin isn’t really concerned about the fact that she’s been brought as a prisoner.

Uh...really?

Uh…really?

Maybe this calms down Millie, but whatever the case, she doesn’t put up a fight and helps Private Reid with the chores around the cabin.

Meanwhile, Major Gaskill sends Theodore and Amos out to Bridger Military Prison for 30 years as punishment for their crimes that resulted in the incinerated fort.

While at the prison, Theodore and Amos accidentally come across a secret door that leads to an ornate room built under some caverns. They happen to stumble upon a meeting of what seems to be robbers led by a man known as Big Mac, played by Jack Elam.

He looks like one of those guys whom you don't want to mess with, but at the same time, you feel being friends with him will be awesome!

He looks like one of those guys whom you don’t want to mess with, but at the same time, you feel being friends with him will be awesome!

Apparently, Big Mac and his gang are prisoners here in the jail who discovered this hidden door that leads to the caverns. They use it every so often to leave the jail whenever they feel like, be it to enjoy worldly pleasures or commit a robbery. Then, when they’re finished, they sneak back to the prison undiscovered as nobody would think to look for runaway convicts in the jail that they allegedly ran away from. Pretty clever!

"I AM the boss, after all!"

“I AM the boss, after all!”

Going by the reputation that the Apple Dumpling Gang is not to be messed with, Big Mac decides to take Theodore and Amos along on their next train robbery. Once they all leave the prison and split up, Theodore and Amos try to find the nearest law enforcement officer so that they can inform him about the robbery. Get a look at who the law enforcement officer is that they stumbled upon!

Yep...Marshal Hitchcock...reduced to a nigh crazy, imbibing Marshal as a result of trying to catch Theodore and Amos. I wonder if Javert would have ended up like this too!

Yep…Marshal Hitchcock…reduced to a nigh crazy, imbibing Marshal as a result of trying to catch Theodore and Amos. I wonder if Javert would have ended up like this too!

As Marshal Hitchcock is chasing them, Theodore and Amos sneak aboard a train which just happens to be the train that Big Mac and his boys are planning to rob. A big, fun-filled, climactic chase/fight scene occurs resulting in the capture of Big Mac and his men by Private Reid, who is actually a Captain Phillips working with US Army Intelligence. He was sent to Fort Concho to discover what’s been going on with the wagon raids.

Yeah, we TOTALLY did not see that coming.

Yeah, we TOTALLY did not see that coming.

Thanks to these events, he discovers that Big Mac and his men were behind the wagon raids. But who was their main inside the fort? None other than Lieutenant Ravencroft! Private Reid arrests him too, of course.

Ha, there was something about that smile that made me distrust him.

There was something about that smile that made me distrust him.

With Ravencroft out of the way, Reid/Phillips and Millie, who have since fallen in love with each other, are free to marry.

"I love you darling, but did we have to go on our honeymoon via this bumpy road again?" "Oh, it'll be fine, Millie. Besides, reusing previous screencaps is this author's lazy way of finishing reviews."

“I love you darling, but did we have to go on our honeymoon via this bumpy road again?”
“Oh, it’ll be fine, Millie. Besides, reusing previous screenshots is this author’s lazy way of finishing reviews.”

Finally, for somewhat helping catch the bad guys, Theodore and Amos are exonerated from their crimes while Marshal Hitchcock claims that he knew that The Apple Dumpling Gang was innocent of the bank robbery the whole time! And that was The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again!

I had seen this movie once before a LONG time ago, but I didn’t remember anything about it save a brief scene with Don Knotts and Tim Conway in the fort’s kitchen. However, I remembered that I really enjoyed The Apple Dumpling Gang. So, I was a bit skeptical watching this film as I know sequels are generally pretty bad compared to their original films!

To my surprise, this film was almost as good as the original! Don Knotts and Tim Conway are so much more enjoyable in this film as there’s always something funny about bad guys trying to be good, but still ending up in trouble. The other subplots are also interesting to see with many of the other actors giving great performances.

The comedy in this film is another great thing, be it Theodore and Amos spinning while tied down on two rotating wheels

Don't ask.

Don’t ask.

or dressing up as saloon dancer girls.

Please, don't ask!

Please, don’t ask!

This film really surprised me and if you liked the first film, I suggest you check this one out as well!

(You can click on the image below for an enlarged version of my rating sheet.)

appledumplinggangridesagainrating

So, the final score for this film is 28/35 = 80% (B-) !

The next review will be posted on September 15th.

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