krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
After entering the "Mike era" of Mystery Science Theater 3000 by rewatching "Code Name Diamond Head" from the latest official DVD collection, I finished off the collection with "Last of the Wild Horses." (There is, of course, something mildly appropriate in it being the last disc of the collection...) The movie is one of the few Westerns the series tackled, but it just might be a storyline set up in the "host segments" and spilling into the "riffing" itself that makes the episode memorable...

After Mike reprograms the bots with different regional speech patterns, Dr. Forrester prepares to send a matter transference device up to the Satellite of Love via the sixth season's handy "Umbilicus." It just so happens there's an ion storm happening, though, and all of a sudden Forrester and Frank are on the Satellite of Love bridge in jumpsuits and Mike and Crow are down in Deep 13, wearing "Mirror, Mirror" outfits from Star Trek, with Gypsy sorting out faster than Tom Servo that something ominous has happened...

Forrester and Frank enter the theatre (and sit on the opposite side of the screen than Tom, Mike, and Crow do) as the movie gets under way with two men duking it out in a hayloft ("You lost the last of the wild horses, you dink!") to the accompaniment of a typically bombastic Albert Glasser score. ("Albert Glasser, the man who holds you down and pummels you with music!") One of them gets his hands on some convenient leather tackle and starts lashing the other across the eyes ("You rarely see a good facial whipping..."), and all of a sudden we're flashing back...

Things are not especially clear to me in this movie, and I wound up resorting to another person's summary to piece things together. However, it does involve Duke Barnum about to stick up a stagecoach when he gets distracted by a three-against-one horse chase, and standing up for the little guy gets him involved with the big ranch in the area (whose wheelchair-bound owner has an attractive daughter) and the comedy relief frontier medic Remedy (who's connected to a different attractive young woman who happens to be the "little guy"). With that set up, Frank produces a familiar puppet (especially given the first episode in the collection) to "do a song about the lemur," and as Forrester responds with enthusiasm Gypsy and Tom react with horror...

Then, we zap back to the familiar Satellite of Love, with evil versions of Tom and Gypsy sort of making trouble for Mike and Crow (at least until they get Tom into the theatre and he calms down at the sight of a "cowboy movie"). The untrustworthy foreman of the big ranch is preparing to round up the last of the wild horses, and in the process he strangles his boss with Duke's conveniently dropped bandana. His man rampage around the area, and Duke is put on trial for murder only to escape from the courtroom with Remedy's comedic assistance. As the good Tom and Gypsy figure out how to put themselves back where they belong with the assistance of Deep 13's Torgo-voiced computer, lucky drops and coincidences bring Duke and the foreman together in the hayloft where the movie started. Apparently not slowed down too much by the flashback, Duke holds together just long enough to fall out of the hayloft along with the foreman and is then the first to stagger to his feet ("I fought the loft and the loft won."), after which everything ends for the movie's best approximation of the best.

While the disjointed, coincidence-driven plot does seem to make it hard to add quotes, the "riffing" is entertaining. I suppose I do have the feeling the Star Trek homage makes the "evil goateed Mike" and the "evil bots" a bit less interesting than Forrester and Frank's turn in the theatre, but perhaps "mirror universes" as a general topic weren't thought of quite as much then. (Too, I suppose I'm a little conscious of the people who didn't take the change in hosts well and found it easy to come up with hostile interpretations of Mike himself... although I can remember a MSTing where Frank and the bots were up on the Satellite of Love, with "Dr. Robinson" and "TV's Mike" sending them a cheesy fanfic.)

Date: 2012-06-07 10:57 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] thrush
Nice review!
This is another of my favourite episodes. Although I find Remedy painful to watch I have a soft spot for the western episodes, and I feel that the riffing is particularly strong here. (I love all the horse dialogue, such as "I hope you know these are billable hours, boss.") I have to admit, though, that as a huge TV's Frank fan a big part of the draw for me is that opening sequence with him and Dr. F in the theatre. I personally enjoy the Star Trek send-up, too, largely due to evil Mike and evil Tom.

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