The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap (1947) starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Marjorie Main
Abbott and Costello’s movie, The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap is a spoof on the typical Western, with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello playing traveling salesmen who stop in the Old Wild West town of Wagon Gap, Montana on their way to California. Upon entering the town, Lou shoots a pistol into the air, as the town drunk is murdered; Lou is tried for the murder, and under an actual Montana law of the time period is sentenced to assume the debts and dependents of the dead man. Lou is now being worked to death during the day by the Widow Hawkins (played by Marjorie Main of the ‘Ma and Pa Kettle‘ movie series) and her seven children, and by the saloonkeeper at nights to pay off the dead man’s debts.
Lou then discovers that no one dares to kill him, since they would inherit the Hawkins clan – Lou swiftly becomes the Sheriff and starts cleaning up the town (using a photo of the Widow and her children, in place of threatening with a gun), and begins pushing Bud Abbott around in a funny reversal of their roles. However, the rumor that the Widow’s land is worth a fortune to a railroad soon has numerous people willing to kill him, in order to marry the Widow and inherit her fortune.
I rate it 3 stars out of 5.
Funny movie quotes from Abbott and Costelloâs The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap
Lou Costello : That wild goose chase of yours is going to lay an egg.
Lou Costello : We stop the stage, the bandits are waiting for the stage, and then you show up instead of the stage.
Bud Abbott : Thatâs pretty well-staged.
Lou Costello : Marriage is a three ring circus: the engagement ring, the wedding ring and suffering.
Trivia from Abbott and Costelloâs The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap
- The film was originally written for Jimmy Stewart, but when he couldn’t commit to it, it was refashioned for But Abbott and Lou Costello, with Costello playing the part originally intended for Stewart.
- Lou Costello’s father, a western-film buff, died during the production of this movie, and as a tribute Lou listed him in the credits as Associate Producer, Sebastian Cristillo.
- The story was based on an actual law in effect in Montana in the 1880s, which stated that a man who killed another man was responsible for the care and support of his victim’s family.
- The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap is the only Abbott and Costello feature to be adapted for the Abbott and Costello comic book