Volume 1, Issue 1
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SEASON 1
The Kid
Gunfighter
Home of the Brave
Speak No Evil
Bad Blood
Black Ulysses
Ten-Cent Hero
False Colors
A Good Day to Die
End of Innocence
Blind Love
The Keepsake
Fall From Grace
Hard Time
Lady For a Night
Unfinished Business
Decoy
Daddy's Girl
Bulldog
Matched Pair
Man Behind the Badge
Then There Was One
Gathering Clouds Part 1
Gathering Clouds Part 2

SEASON 1 WRAP-UP

AN INTERVIEW WITH ... ED SPIELMAN

SEASON 2
Born to Hang
Ghosts

   
The Rider Review - Bulldog
By Johnny Betts

November 20, 2002

PROLOGUE

Welp, I'm proud to say that the Rider Review's 2nd birthday was last month, and it still hasn't been cancelled yet. And no, you don't have to remind me that it's been two years and I still haven't finished reviewing ONE season. I like to pace myself.

Wow, I laid down the JOHNNY BETTS GUESTBOOK CHALLENGE and you gals responded in a BIG way! I must say I'm very impressed. The Most Recent Guestbook Signers include E-I Beth F, Sarah, TWO different Karens, Heidi (the big sister of esteemed Rider Review reader, Lindsay), Waitstill, and Ellie. And I'd like to point out that Ellie saved the day and added her name in November. You can go ahead and accept the JOHNNY BETTS GUESTBOOK CHALLENGE now, or you can wait until December.

Rider Review Mark of the Last Review: I'm giving it to Mandy Silver. She's living proof that I can be bribed with gifts.

Ms. California Kid-lovin' Girl is still taking her time wrapping up this award. As soon as she does as she's supposed to, she will get the award and be the envy of all her friends. Come on, Ms. Cali, HURRY UP ALREADY!

THE SCREENSHOTS W/ CAPTIONS ARE IN DANGER!

Bad news, folks. Most of the screenshots I use within the reviews are from Gail and Jamie's Rival Riders site (with some screenshots coming from Australian Ann and Aimee (who lives in California *ahem*)). The bad news is that Gail and Jamie don't have any screenshots for episodes after "Bulldog." No one else seems to have any either (372 screen captures of Kid wearing a blue shirt on Aimee's site doesn't suit my purposes, though Aimee is a doll for giving me permission to use whatever I can). And well, I don't have a way to make screenshots. Therefore, if anybody out there would like to make screenshots for me then please let me know.

I know good and well that y'all are WAY too lazy to offer to help me out with this, but I thought I'd just mention this to give myself a good laugh thinking of all the excuses you gals with screenshot-making devices are coming up with in your head. So unless a miracle occurs and somebody actually says, "Hey Johnny, I can make screenshots and would love to help you out," then we've got a problem. I'll try to use some sort of images to liven up the reviews, but they won't be directly from the particular episode I'm reviewing. Christmas is coming up, so if y'all want to pool your money and buy me a screenshot-making device as a gift, then you're more than welcome to do it. I promise to use it and make the best screenshots of all time. In the meantime, I'll refrain from holding my breath.

My screenshot captions still rule, and so do the people who comment on them.

The Screenshots w/captions Marks of the Last Review: Australian Ann with, "The captions were funny (the breath one)."

Lindsay with, "My favorite captioned picture in that one was the Total Mouthwash one--absolutely hilarious!"

Jeanette with, "LOL! Hilarious caption on that Buck pic ... Very funny caption about drastic measures having to be taken in order to watch a Kid episode. This one's my fave so far!"

Rider Review Newcomers: Karen (Johnnylrider), Enid, Ellie, and Angela Terhark. That's a cool last name - Terhark. I think Angela should use the nickname "Terror Hawk." In fact, I'm officially making that her new nickname. Until she tells me to can it and keep my nickname ideas to myself, which will probably be in her next email to me.

October 29, 2002

READER OBSERVATIONS

It seems everybody loved Triumph's appearance in the "Daddy's Girl" review, so I'll definitely have him back sometime. And a lot of you wondered where Stephanie was. She said "Daddy's Girl" just didn't give her much motivation to comment. She WILL be back.

Oregon Ann: As for the last review of Decoy I have to confirmthat Cristy and Lindsay are right. Cody does say well-READ rider. I don't have a script but that captioning does just as well.

I really need to check and see if I can use captioning on my TV.

Enid: What about Buck's knife across the top of the bottle trick? Glass shards in our wine anyone? No matter how smooth that cut may have looked or how sharp the knife, you can't possibly break glass without glass dust or shards falling into the wine, which would then pour into the wineglass along with other tasty sediment.

Excellent point. I went back and took a closer look at the special "Young Riders Special Edition" that only I seem to have, and I found this in the original script:

After slicing the top of the bottle off like a really cool Indian would do, Buck pours Josh's wife a glass of wine. Immediately after drinking the wine, Josh's wife chokes on shards of glass and dies. Josh shows up out of nowhere and punches Gregg in his excuse for a chest, thus caving it in.

They should've left that in, it would've made the episode much more interesting.

Jeanette Rider: Laundry- You see JB this is the symbolism I got from that scene: Mrs. Crowley was doing the dirty laundry and so we fast forward to her trying to get rid of Mr. Devlin's *dirty laundry* when she tries to shoot Rance and his men...

Hmmm, I'm starting to see the symbolism. And Mrs. Crowley obviously considered Devlin "dirty laundry" too, but unfortunately she was the one that ended up getting taken to the cleaners, ba dum psh!

PEOPLE I DON'T WANT TO SEE IN SPANDEX

Camryn Manheim (or as I like to call her: Manheim Steamroller), from the Practice.

November 6, 2002

BULLDOG

The episode starts off with a wagon riding into St. Joseph, Missouri. We see a geek looking through a wagon window. This geek steps off the wagon and puts glasses on. Man, I didn't think it was possible, but he looks even geekier now.

Ambrose I guess I should go ahead and point out that the geek (Ambrose Merryweather Jr.) is played by Fisher Stevens. He starred in that TV show, "Early Edition." If you don't remember, that was the show starring Kyle Chandler (who always made me think of Ty Miller) as a dude who "gets tomorrow's newspaper today." He'd then run around and try to save the world. Fisher Stevens is probably most notable by the fact that he dated Michelle Pfeiffer during an obvious time of absolute delusion in her life. Please tell me, how in the WORLD did Fisher Stevens get Catwoman to date him???

Reader: Maybe he's a really beautiful person on the INSIDE, Johnny.

Please. People in Hollywood don't date anybody based on things that really matter.

This is Ambrose's first trip to the West. He tries to fit in immediately by saying "Howdy Pardner" to some old guy, but he just ends up revealing how out of place he is.

Ambrose heads into the Russell, Majors, and Waddell (which will now be referred to as R, M, & W) office - the operators of the Pony Express. Wow, this episode means business! It's tackling the subject of the Pony Express at the very beginning of the episode. This is quite unprecedented. I'm almost speechless. But don't worry, not so speechless that I can't reel off a 20-page review. Anyway, Ambrose heads inside and ...

G. Gordon Liddy G. GORDON LIDDY! G. GORDON LIDDY! Holy cow, G. Gordon Liddy is guest-starring on an episode of the Young Riders! I must say this is a surprise. And this should prove to be an interesting episode. He's playing Ambrose's uncle, Arthur T. Merryweather.

So what's the deal with Ambrose? He was a business major in college, but his true love is heroes and legends of the American Frontier. He tells his uncle that he wants to ride for the Pony Express, so Liddy tells him that since he's family he can be trusted and they'll try to work something out. So are the writers promoting nepotism or what? Sad, so sad. I expected more from TYR.

We see Ambrose at some sort of post office, and he's dressed up like a bank teller. We then hear Ambrose's voice-over saying that was three weeks ago, and things don't always work out like you want. In other words, nepotism doesn't always work out perfectly. Bravo for the writers taking a stand like that! Bra-stinkin'-vo!

And believe me, I know all too well that things don't always work out like we want. When I first started writing the Rider Reviews I just knew some millionaire YR fan would love my reviews and offer me a six-figure salary to quit my current job and work on the reviews full-time. 25 months later and that dream has yet to be realized. That's right, I'm not writing these reviews for monetary compensation. I'm writing them for you, the fans.

It turns out that Ambrose is writing a letter to Jimmy. He got all excited when he saw Jimmy's name on the payroll and can't believe he's working for the same company as "Wild Bill" Hickok. That reminds me of every time we hire a new employee. I always get some sappy email from the person saying how excited he or she is to see that we work for the same company. The rest of my day is spent answering emails and fulfilling autograph requests. How am I ever supposed to get any work done?

Congratulations to the writers for their continuity. Ambrose is writing his letter with a copy of J.D. Marcus' "Wild Bill" Hickok novel by his side. If you don't recall who J.D. Marcus is then you need to read the "Gunfighter" review.

Cut to the bunkhouse. All the riders are in their longjohns, and Lou is reading the letter to everybody. In the letter, Ambrose says that there aren't many heroes left, but he considers Jimmy one of them. This causes Buck to laugh and Cody to roll his eyes. Funny stuff. As Lou finishes reading the letter, the boys decide to give Jimmy a hard time.

Cody: *sighs* I am truly touched.
Jimmy: Go to sleep.
Buck: You got yourself an admirer, Jimmy.
Kid: Jimmy?
Jimmy: What?
Kid: Can I have your autograph?

Enjoying the Review The riders laugh, and Jimmy himself can't help but smile. Excellent scene. THIS is what "The Young Riders" is all about. It's this sort of good-natured, brotherly ribbing and interaction among the riders that makes the show enjoyable. I'll go ahead and make this the first "classic scene" nominee of the episode. We'll keep things short and call it, "the scene where Ambrose writes a letter to Jimmy, Lou reads it out loud, and all the riders give Jimmy a hard time about it."

I'm just curious though; did people use the term "autograph" in 1860? I'm too lazy to do an in-depth search, but if anybody wants to investigate that they're more than welcome.

Look, there's a shot of the windmill blowing in the wind! How many times have we seen that in YR episodes?

The riders are eating breakfast when Teaspoon comes in and announces that they have a problem. He says he's gotten a letter from G. Gordon Liddy stating that they want to move the Pony Express route 50 miles north to the mountains. Buck's Indian senses apparently tingle and he yells out that they can't do that. Cody doesn't understand why not because it'll save them at least half a day. Jimmy, aka Mr. No Nonsense, asks Teaspoon what the real problem is.

Teaspoon explains that the new route would take them through Sioux burial grounds. Buck, the expert on ALL Indian matters, says they won't let them pass without a fight. Buck certainly doesn't want that because with his noodle arms and mini-chest, a fight is the last thing he needs to be a part of. Teaspoon plans on arranging a "riders and supervisors" meeting to try to talk some sense into somebody. Let's hope Teaspoon starts with the writers and convinces them not to churn out another episode like Daddy's Girl.

November 7, 2002

All right, I'm back. In all honesty you would have never known I was gone if I hadn't added a new date and told you I was back. In fact, I could do away with the dates and make you think I wrote this review all in one sitting. But I want this review to be as honest as it can be. I hold the review up to the highest standards.

The rest of this review will be done with the aid of close captioning. Since other people told me they could use CC on their taped episodes of the Young Riders I decided I'd try it out. Stephanie didn't think it was possible, but we turned CC on and LO AND BEHOLD IT WORKS! That is just too weird. Stephanie hid under the covers in fear. She's currently curled up in a fetal position sucking her thumb.

I asked Stephanie if she'd watch all the episodes and transcribe all of the CC so it'd be almost like I had scripts to work with, but she didn't seem too interested in doing all that. THIS IS THE THANKS I GET AFTER DRIVING TO WAL-MART AT NIGHT TO GET YOU BLACK NAIL POLISH FOR HALLOWEEN?!?!?!? Unbelievable.

Oh, and before any of y'all start sending me email saying, "His name is spelled 'Merriweather' with an 'I' not a 'Y' you moron," I just thought I'd point out that the CC spells it "Merryweather." IMDb.com also spells it "Merryweather," so if you want to dispute the spelling I suggest you have some evidence first.

I guess I better get back to the review before you smart-alecks start telling me that my reviews have as much to do with TYR as TYR has to do with the Pony Express. So here we go!

At the ol' R, M, & W office we see some dude talking to G. Gordon Liddy. He says the Sioux has full rights under the law and that only an act of Congress can invalidate the Indians' claim on the land. It's funny because "Congress" was dubbed in. It looks like the guy originally said "an act of WAR." I'm sure everybody's life is much better now that you've been made aware of that trivial piece of information. No need to thank me, just doin' my job (for free).

No-name dude asks if the riders will object to the route change. Liddy says they already have, but it doesn't matter because he obtained the signature of Yellow Fox, a Sioux Chief, on an agreement that guaranteed safe passage for the riders. However, ol' Yellow Chief can't keep the guarantee because he recently had an "unfortunate accident." Looks like G. Gordon Liddy must've had him killed.

You know, someday, somewhere, someone is going to do a search for "G. Gordon Liddy" and come across this review and think I'm trying to implicate Liddy in the murder of someone named Yellow Fox. I sure hope I'm not opening myself up to a whole lot of future trouble. I'll let you know if the FBI is kicking down my door anytime soon.

So the plan is that when the 1st rider is attacked the army will step in to pacify the situation. Before anyone knows what really happened, the army will acquire rights to the land and then no-name dude can use his influence in Washington to sway a railroad deal. No-name apparently likes this because he flashes this really creepy smile. He's got a gap in his teeth. Here's another segment from the popular book, "Young Riders Tips to Being an Effective Bad Guy."

Tip 12: Have a gap in your teeth. Smile in a really creepy manner so that everybody can see your gap.

Ambrose marches in and tells Liddy that the representative to the riders and supervisors meeting has taken ill. Ambrose wants to take his place. Liddy agrees. After Ambrose leaves, Mr. Creepy Smile asks if that's a good idea. Liddy explains that Ambrose is the perfect choice because he's as loyal as he is naive. If anything goes wrong Ambrose will take the fall. Mr. Creepy Smile flashes his annoying smile once again. Why? Because he's an effective bad guy, that's why!

Poor Ambrose. I remember when MY family first set ME up to take a fall. My dad told me about this GREAT way to start putting a little money into little Johnny Betts' pockets. My dad was cutting the grass for a neighbor of ours, but out of the kindness of his heart, my dad decided to pass the job on to me. Little did I know I'd soon be drinking lemonade with goiter flakes floating in it. Yes, my dad tricked me into cutting Ms. Goiter Neck's yard. No wonder he was eager to pass the job on to me. And when I told him I didn't want to cut her yard anymore he gave me an hour long lecture about learning responsibility and finishing what you start. The nerve.

The action shifts over to the meeting. Teaspoon tries to call things to order, but the men are rowdy. Teaspoon finally fires his gun into the ceiling to get everyone's attention. That's great, Teaspoon, now who's going to fix the hole in the ceiling?!?! Why didn't any debris fall when Teaspoon shot? At least Jimmy kept looking up at the ceiling to show that SOMEONE noticed that Teaspoon just shot a hole through the roof. Still, I find it a little irresponsible of Teaspoon to be firing his gun indoors. What would he have done if it had ricocheted off the ceiling and killed somebody? Granted, it would've made great material for my review.

Teaspoon introduces Ambrose and we hear some audible boos in the crowd. Hahaha. Reminds me of the time I went to a Tom Petty concert and Taj Mahal was the opener. Apparently the guy behind me was tired of Taj Mahal and ready for Tom to play, so during the middle of one of Taj Mahal's songs the dude goes "BOOOOOOO!" really loud. It was funny because it was a really loud "boo" amongst a pretty silent crowd. I think he was an extra in this episode.

Click here to listen to Johnny's re-creation of the dude at the Tom Petty concert.

Ambrose mentions Yellow Fox's guarantee, but a guy jumps up and asks where Yellow Fox is. Somebody else says Liddy probably had him killed. These people are angry and want to send Liddy a message of their own! Are these supposed to be Pony Express riders? If so, I sure don't remember the Pony Express changing their policy and hiring 35-year-old men who are a little less than skinny. Come to think of it, it seems one of them was accompanied by his parents.

Violent Teaspoon At this point nobody is listening to Ambrose. It's just a flat-out brouhaha. Lou, Cody, and Kid are punching people. A chair gets thrown. Holy cow, THIS IS MY LAST FAMILY REUNION! After Teaspoon continues his wrath of destruction and busts the window open, Jimmy and Teaspoon throw Ambrose out the window. Yep, this IS my family reunion. My uncle was in charge of choosing the location of the reunion. He chose Ryan's Family Steakhouse, and everybody was mad because they wanted it to be Barnhill's Buffet. My dad and I had to throw my uncle out of the window to safety.

I'm just curious, why didn't they just lower Ambrose out the window? Call me a skeptic, but I don't think HEAVING HIM HEAD-FIRST out the window was the best idea in the world. How cute would it have been if he had broken his neck and died?

Ohhh, and looky there on the ground! Ambrose dropped the Yellow Fox agreement. And there it lies as everybody takes off. Interestingly, it magically reappears later in the episode. Jimmy slings Ambrose on the back of his horse and they take off. We hear Ambrose's voice-over, "Clearly, I made a strong first impression."

Dinner at the bunkhouse. Ambrose says it's the most delicious meal he's had since he was at Yale. Yale is famous for making delicious meals? News to me. I always thought they were more known for their high academic standards. You learn something new every day. Ambrose says he's intent on getting to the bottom of the entire route change situation. I like the way Jimmy sarcastically says, "I'm real happy to hear that."

Cody tells Jimmy that it's not Ambrose's fault that his uncle is a snake. Ambrose then chimes in by admitting that he likes his uncle about as much as all of them do. Ambrose then excuses himself and starts to leave. What transpires is an absolutely hilarious scene.

Ambrose stops behind Jimmy. It's apparent to Jimmy that Ambrose hasn't left, so he furrows his brow a little bit. You can tell he's thinking, "What is he doing?" Ambrose then comes up to Jimmy and we have the following conversation:

Ambrose: Mr. Hickok? Do you prefer to be addressed as Mr. Hickok, Jimmy, James, or Wild Bill?

At this point, Kid and Cody start laughing. Their reactions are funny. Poor Ambrose, you'd think he had just met Johnny Betts or something.

Jimmy: "Jimmy's" all right, I guess.

Jimmy's reaction is perfect; you can tell he's not thrilled with the situation. He muffles his answer a little bit. As Ambrose goes into his next statement, he takes off his glasses and some mock sentimental music starts playing. It's hilarious.

Ambrose: Jimmy, I want you to know I've read just about everything ever written about you. I'm truly honored to make your acquaintance.

Ambrose then extends his hand to Jimmy. Jimmy muffles a half-hearted, "Thanks," QUICKLY shakes Ambrose's hand and pulls it away. As Jimmy pulls his hand away from Ambrose, it causes Ambrose to hit Kid in the back of the head. HAHAHAHA! It looked very funny. Ambrose quickly apologizes. Ambrose ends with, "Well ... goodnight ... y'all!" and leaves.

Kid's smiling, but Jimmy looks at him meanly and this causes Kid to wipe the grin off his face. Hahahaha! Excellent scene. I like how Emma and Teaspoon were amused by Ambrose's admiration for Jimmy, and I like Cody and Kid's reactions. Jimmy did a good job of really looking uncomfortable. I like when he rolls his eyes upward a little bit when Ambrose starts gushing about how he's read everything about him. I'm just gonna go ahead and say it - Josh Brolin should've won an emmy based on his performance in that scene. HE WAS ROBBED! I'm gonna nominate this scene as a "classic scene" contender. We'll call it, "the scene where Ambrose spills his heart to Jimmy and Jimmy is uncomfortable with it."

Poor Ambrose. He's trying so hard to fit in.

November 11, 2002

Poor Johnny. He's trying so hard to find time to write the review. I was too busy this weekend to do anything. I SHOULD be too tired tonight because I took a Jujitsu class and a kickboxing class tonight. They're both pretty good workouts, but am I letting my fatigue keep me from working on the review? Nope. I'm a hardcore writer.

Ambrose the Dork The next we see of Ambrose he's wearing a vest and a shirt that makes him look like nothing more than an uber-dork. He asks Buck to take him to Table Rock to see if the Indians intend to honor Yellow Fox's agreement. Buck must show him how to ride a horse first. I think Buck should make him change his clothes also. One look at Ambrose will keep the Indians laughing for hours.

Meanwhile, Jimmy is chopping some wood. Here comes Ambrose to pester Jimmy, "Did you really kill Longley and Calder?" Oooooh, continuity! We can obviously see that Jimmy isn't interested in this conversation. He tells Ambrose that if his books say he did, then he guesses he did.

Ambrose: Why?
Jimmy: Why? Why don't you go make yourself useful?
Ambrose: Jimmy?
Jimmy: What?
Ambrose: I wasn't faultin' you for it.
Jimmy: I'm real relieved to hear that.

Hahaha, I love the way Jimmy sarcastically says that. Ambrose then tells Jimmy that he's going to Table Rock with Buck. Jimmy cracks me up with yet another sarcastic response, "That's nice, Ambrose." Hahahahahaha, Jimmy's delivery is hilarious.

As Ambrose prepares to ride off he bids Jimmy adieu, "Well, I'll see you later Jim." Jimmy continues to chop the wood and then in a "what is that guy's problem" sort of way he says to himself, "Jim." This is another good scene. I love all of Jimmy's short, sarcastic responses to Ambrose. You can tell Ambrose is getting on his nerves, and Jimmy isn't in the mood for conversation.

Ambrose is writing a little more in his journal. Nothing too major. The West is everything he dreamed of, he and Jimmy are becoming fast friends, Jimmy's teaching him how to shoot, basically a bunch of lies. Tis a shame that the writers are forcing us to sympathize with a pathological liar. What moral failing will be celebrated next?

We see Ambrose attempting to shoot some bottles on a fence. He's missing terribly when all of a sudden HE SHOOTS TWO BOTTLES WITH ONE BULLET!!!! Well, it turns out that Buck and Ike are hiding behind a wagon and shooting the bottles. Real cute. What are Buck and Ike going to do if Ambrose thinks he really can shoot two bottles with one bullet and thus calls out some tough outlaw in an effort to impress Jimmy? And what if Ambrose is then gunned down by the outlaw? Will Buck and Ike still be laughing it up about hiding behind a wagon and making Ambrose think he was a crack shot? I think not.

And Ambrose graduated from Yale, yet he can't seem to figure out the improbability of shooting two bottles with one shot? I guess you can't teach common sense.

We hear more of Ambrose's wishful thinking as he claims Jimmy says pretty soon no gunfighter will be a match for him. At least Ambrose doesn't lie about one thing, "I know I'll never be a match for him. No one's that good."

Have y'all ever heard of Live Journal? Basically, it's an online journal. If you know someone's username then you can read his or her deepest thoughts. I found the online journal of a YR fan, and I was surprised, yet flattered, when I saw the following entry:

"Johnny Betts is teaching me how to write. He told me that pretty soon no writer on the Internet will be a match for me. But I know I'll never be a match for him. No one's THAT good. Johnny Betts is a true legend. A hero to many, and a friend to all. He's pretty sexy as well. Are those his biceps or carved pieces of granite? What a guy."

I won't reveal the name of that YR fan, but the person's initials are JB I think.

Ambrose and Lou Table Rock. Whoa, is it just me or is Bulldog looking a little like Lou in this scene? The Indians show up. Um, is that an Indian or a Chinese guy? I'm pretty sure the "lead Indian" is some Chinese dude. Wow, Buck speaks Lakota! He proceeds to have a conversation with the Chinese Indian. Oh man. The Chinese Indian then proceeds to horribly recite some Lakota dialogue. Seriously, he does a BAD job of it. I don't know the exact Indian words he used, but he'd pause for about 5 seconds in between words. "Ich ... nee ... san ... shee." There's no way this guy spent more than 10 minutes learning his lines. He even nervously looks off to the side after horribly reciting his last lines. Whew. This is one of the worst scenes in YR history. I could speak Indian better than that. Maybe they should've used a real Indian instead of a Chinese guy wearing feathers on his head.

The gist of the conversation is that Chinese Indian says Yellow Fox is missing, and they think he's dead. They won't seek revenge until they know for sure, but they will not allow the burial grounds to be desecrated. Buck and Ambrose leave. So does Johnny Betts. That's enough reviewing for tonight. I need a shower.

November 12, 2002

Ah, another day. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little sore from my workout yesterday. I'm pretty much walking around DARING somebody to get in a kickboxing fight.

We see Jimmy breaking in a horse (Powder Keg). Ambrose, forever trying to fit in, wants to try. Jimmy says no way, and that's the bottom line because Stone Cold says so. As the riders head to the bunkhouse Ambrose stays behind and tries to ride. What do the riders do? Do they hurry up and pull Ambrose out of the pen to ensure his safety? Nah, they stand there and have a good laugh as Ambrose falls off the horse a couple of times and risks his life. Ike laughs harder than anyone. Man, he's really getting a kick out of Ambrose's pain. I guess Ike was happy that someone else was taking the big bumps. Ike McSwain -- Laughing at Others' Pain.

The laughter stops when Ambrose falls a third time and Powder Keg starts bucking near him. Kid and Jimmy have to run in and save him. Teaspoon shows up and comments, "He's a real ... DUHN DUHN DUHN ... bulldog, ain't he?" More like a yapping Chihuahua that won't shut up.

Teaspoon has a letter for Mr. Majors signed by every supervisor in the territory opposing the route change. He wants Ambrose to deliver it, and he wants Jimmy to accompany him. Jimmy tries to object, but Teaspoon cracks me up when he stops him and says, "Don't thank me, son. I know how much it means to you." Hahaha, good ol' Teaspoon. Jimmy didn't think it was too funny though. He meanly looks at Ambrose who sheepishly waves at him.

Jimmy and Ambrose are on top of a cliff. Ambrose wants to know how they'll get down, but Jimmy says they'll have to go back. Before Jimmy finishes his sentence, Ambrose attempts to go down the cliff. All right, I know Ambrose is trying to prove himself and all, but it's gotten to the point where he really needs a slap in the face.

Ambrose's Pledge Ambrose falls. Jimmy takes a look at the horse. Thankfully, the horse suffered only a stone bruise, but Jimmy admonishes Ambrose. As well he should. Ambrose is just trying too hard at this point.

Jimmy and Ambrose set up camp. Ambrose continues to write in his journal, but Jimmy wants to know what he's going to tell his uncle, G. Gordon Liddy. Ambrose claims he'll tell him the truth - which in his mind is that the Indians don't want their burial grounds desecrated, and the riders are being unreasonable.

Jimmy isn't too happy about that remark. He doesn't think it's unreasonable to not like being set up to be killed. Gotta agree with Jimmy on that one. Ambrose mentions that it's the Pony Express' job to deliver mail.

Ambrose: Cutting just half a day off the delivery to Sacramento could make a tremendous difference in keeping the company solvent.
Jimmy: Yeah? *pauses* What's that mean?
Ambrose: Alive.
Jimmy: If it's all the same to you, I wouldn't mind staying "solvent" myself.

I like the way Jimmy pauses and then finally breaks down and admits he doesn't really know what "solvent" means. The Indians have already said they won't let the riders pass, so if the riders are killed then the mail won't be delivered. Therefore, a half a day won't truly be knocked off the delivery time. What on earth did Ambrose learn at Yale? How to smoke a peace pipe and take leave of your senses?

Jimmy then proceeds to do a shoot promo (like a wrestling promo where one wrestler totally goes off on another wrestler) on Bulldog saying he's the kind of person who's always eaten with a silver spoon, never had to work, hides behind books, and lives through other people's lives. Is Jimmy talking about Ambrose or my readers? Thank you, thank you.

Ambrose claims Jimmy doesn't know him at all, but if I had to guess, I'd say Jimmy's description was probably fairly accurate. Is that not the impression that YOU would get? Jimmy then eats some beef jerky.

The next morning Jimmy's gonna scout out the best route for Ambrose's injured horse to take. Ambrose is lying in his journal about how he went to summon help for Jimmy. Just then two outlaws show up. Ambrose merrily says, "Howdy pardners!" causing the obvious bad guys to stare at each other in disbelief.

We come back from commercial to find Ambrose tied up. That's what happens when you write a bunch of lies in your journal. Before the bad guys can do any damage, Jimmy shows up and shoots the knife out of one guy's hand. We then see the bad guys tied up as Jimmy and Ambrose leave. Ambrose writes in his journal that he saved Jimmy. Man, this guy simply cannot stop lying!

Ambrose and Jimmy are at the R, M, & W office. Mr. Majors is apparently too busy to give Jimmy a few seconds of his time. What a jerk. He finally tells Jimmy that he'll take Teaspoon's concern under advisement. Jimmy thanks Ambrose for nothing and leaves. G. Gordon Liddy assumes Ambrose is there to stay, but Ambrose has other plans.

Jimmy gets back to the way station and says things didn't go well. He thinks Ambrose sold them down the river. Ambrose shows up almost immediately after Jimmy. So Ambrose learned how to ride his horse so well that he could keep up with Jimmy? You can sell that some place else, Sam Cain, cause I ain't buying it. He tells Teaspoon he tried reasoning with his uncle who claims Yellow Fox signed the agreement on his own accord. Ambrose has a hard time believing his uncle would deliberately set out to get people killed. Well you better become a believer QUICK!

Later that night, in the bunkhouse, Jimmy goes through Ambrose's stuff and finds some women's underwear. He wakes Kid up and asks him what it is. Kid nervously asks, "Where did you get this??" and then snatches it out of Jimmy's hand and hurriedly puts the underwear under his pillow.

Actually, I think that scene is only in my special edition. In the scene that actually aired, Jimmy finds a document. He wakes Kid up and asks him to read it. Ambrose comes in and tries to get it back. Kid says that it recommends the route NOT be changed. Ambrose is upset. Jimmy says he should be happy because everybody now knows he's not a snake. Sorry Ambrose, but Jimmy had the right to doubt you. Ambrose didn't really give them any indication that he could be trusted to do the right thing. He already said he felt the riders were being unreasonable.

Ambrose tells Jimmy to step outside. Hahaha, yeah, this should be funny. Jimmy's incredulous. He tells Ambrose they can be friends now, but Ambrose brushes his arm away from him. Oooooh, he's mad! Ambrose heads outside. Jimmy slowly turns around and looks at the riders and then heads outside. Yep, that Yale education turned out REEEEEAL well.

Johnny vs. Kid Jimmy tries to tell Ambrose they don't have to do this, but Ambrose punches Jimmy in the face. Jimmy does his best to save Ambrose's hide. He takes 6 punches before finally saying, "Enough!" and leveling ol' Bulldog. Jimmy dodges a whole bunch of punches and then finally hits Ambrose in the stomach and knocks him to the ground. Jimmy tells him to stay down. Boy, that brings back painful memories of what would happen when I'd tell my mom I didn't like what she cooked for dinner. I like the following exchange:

Kid: Gotta give him credit, he's got guts.
Cody: Yeah, and pretty soon they're gonna be all over the place.

Hahaha. I'll make that combination the first "Mark-Out Remark" nominee of the episode. It's necessary that the two lines go together. There you go, Kid fans, your frizzy-haired hero has a chance to finally win a Rider Review Award! Please don't skip down to the end of the review and spoil the results.

Ambrose stands back up but wobbles around. He starts to fall, but Jimmy picks him up and carries him inside. Check out all the riders in their longjohns.

The next day the riders dress Bulldog up like a cowboy. Awww, it's Western Ken! They give him Kid's old hat, Ike's boots, and a jacket that looks like Jimmy's. Ambrose asks "Jim" what he thinks. Jimmy says, "Almost." Johnny says, "Not quite."

They head over to the gunsmith's shop and present Ambrose with a gun that has a picture of Rosie O'Donnell on the handle. What in the world does that mean? Ohhhhhh, I'm sorry! That's actually a bulldog. Whoops, my mistake. Jimmy tells Ambrose to show everybody what he taught him. All the riders jump back (hahaha) as Bulldog spins his gun around and puts it in the holster.

Just then G. Gordon Liddy shows up and tells Ambrose it's time for him to come home. He's incapable of doing his job and he's acting like a spoiled child playing cowboy. Jimmy says "Bulldog" is doing just fine. Liddy tells Jimmy to stay out of this if he wants to keep his job. Jimmy starts to walk towards Liddy and says, "Don't you threaten me." BOOYA! That's definitely a mark-out moment.

Ike Ambrose stops Jimmy from proceeding any further and then tells his uncle he's not leaving. Liddy tells his henchmen to get Ambrose, but the riders draw their guns and put an end to that. Ambrose tells Liddy that he better leave. Unfortunately, Liddy fires all the riders, thus meaning this must be THE LAST EPISODE EVER! WHY?!?! THEY DIDN'T EVEN GIVE US A WARNING! PLEASE NO!

Ambrose starts to go back to his uncle, but Jimmy says nah, they can do something about it. Oh, whew. Can Jimmy and the riders save the show from cancellation??? We'll find out when we return from commercial break! Which will be sometime tomorrow because I'm going to bed!

November 14, 2002

As you can see, I didn't do any reviewing yesterday. I did finish taking my notes on the episode though, so now I'm READY to review. I'm wearing my new faux suede shirt at work today (it's about the same color as Cody's jacket) so I'm extra motivated to review today. I think I'll channel Cody through me. Just call me John Edwards.

Bulldog goes to Sam's office to have a little chat. He introduces himself as a Pony Express rider. Now come on, that's stretching it beyond acceptable limits. I know Ambrose wants to fit in, BUT HE HASN'T DELIVERED A SINGLE MAIL POUCH! I have as much claim of being an Express rider as Ambrose does. It's too bad Yale didn't teach Ambrose that you don't have to lie to get people to like you.

This is a funny scene because Ambrose is being so serious, and Sam is pretty tickled at the whole thing. Bulldog tells Sam that he thinks Liddy is going to try to provoke a war with the Indians. The fake riders are supposed to go through the land the next day, but Ambrose soothes Sam's worry by letting him know that "me and the boys" will be there to stop them. I like how Sam says he'll round up a couple of deputies just in case. As Bulldog leaves, Sam smiles and shakes his head. I have a friend who always gets that same response whenever he asks a girl on a date.

The riders are cleaning their guns. Ike jumps off a top bunk and then waddles around like he just took a big dump in his pants. What on earth is up with that? Bulldog asks what time "we" are headed out. In unison, all the riders say, "We?" Jimmy tells Ambrose, "I been meaning to tell you something, Bulldog."

The next thing we see is Bulldog tied up. Apparently the riders mistook him for Sarah "Horse-Face" Downs. Nah, that can't be the case. Ambrose doesn't look manly enough for them to have made that mistake. He wants to go with the riders, but Jimmy tells him that he's never been in a gun battle before, and now isn't the time to start.

We see the real young riders waiting for the fake old riders to show up on the new route. Indians are perched on top of a cliff. Of course the camera must immediately focus on Buck after showing the Indians on the cliff. Why? Do they think they need to remind us that Buck is an Indian? I don't know how a person could possibly forget when Buck's always doing something Indian-y in every single episode. Cody comments that it'd probably be simpler (but not better) to let the fake riders go through and get taken out by the Indians.

Rider coming! It's just Bulldog. Turns out he's double-jointed and was able to free himself of the ropes. Uh-oh, here come the fake riders now! They're all about 40-years-old. A big ol' gunfight ensues. You know what that means? It's time for the ever-popular JOHNNY BETTS SPEAKS IN SHORT SENTENCES! Ready? *ahem*

Lots of gunfire. Kid runs out of bullets. Kid's shot. Johnny laughs. Lou drags Kid to safety. Lou dresses in drag. Cody tells Bulldog to shoot dude on the cliff. Bulldog chickens out. Sam shoots the guy. Ike's shot! Kid shoots another dude on the cliffs. Dude drops an explosive. The explosive rolls behind Jimmy. Johnny wonders why Kid didn't yell at Jimmy to move away from the explosives. Johnny thinks Kid has evil, ulterior motives. Bulldog pushes Jimmy out of the way as it explodes. Cody shoots a guy on the cliff behind him. The dude does a perfect swan dive off the cliff. The riders give him a perfect "10." The riders are pinned down. The Indians come to the rescue. HAHAHAHA, when the Indians start shooting, four fake riders simultaneously fall to the ground. The other fake riders run away. The camera shows Buck smile twice. Indian solidarity! Jimmy checks on Ambrose. Jimmy sees blood. Jimmy's sorry. Bulldog isn't. Bulldog dies.

Jimmy Cries Jimmy tells Bulldog to wake up and then gets a little emotional, "Don't you die on me! DON'T YOU DIE ON ME!" Mel Gibson shows up out of nowhere and yells, "GIVE ME BACK MY SON!" Jimmy strokes Bulldog's hair, and I have to say that was a bit much. Sure, Jimmy can be sad that Ambrose died, BUT HE SHOULDN'T BE STROKING HIS HAIR LIKE THAT! Jimmy then cries.

I know everybody is expecting me to give Jimmy a hard time for being so sensitive as to cry because of Bulldog's death, but come on, show a little sympathy! Are you non-Jimmy fans so cold-hearted that you can't be understanding of a man grieving a friend's death?? Sure, Jimmy is Mr. Cool Tough Guy, BUT HE'S HUMAN LIKE THE REST OF US! We all have tear ducts, folks, it's just a fact of life. Jimmy can shed a tear or two because of a friend's death and not lose his machismo, thank you very much.

Granted, if Kid was the one crying then I would've claimed he most likely sleeps with men.

Teaspoon and Sam have a bit of an ol' chinwag with Mr. Majors. Apparently G. Gordon Liddy and his banker friend are going to jail. Mr. Majors asked about the Indians. He said one of Liddy's fake riders claimed to have seen at least 20 Indians there. Teaspoon decides that honesty isn't the best policy when trying to prevent a war with the Indians and says, "Indian burial grounds is a strange place for a white man. Once in awhile those spirits come up from the ground just as real as can be. Know what I mean?" The original script had Teaspoon saying, "Know what I mean, Vern?" but Jim Varney threatened to sue.

Unfortunately, Ambrose's penchant for lying has started to rub off on everybody else. It's such a sad way to end the episode.

Teaspoon and Sam finally decide to head over to Bulldog's funeral AFTER it's pretty much over. That's real respectful. And then Teaspoon wants to hog the spotlight and read from Ambrose's journal. Ambrose said that the West taught him something he didn't learn in school, "For the first time, I can honestly say now I know what it feels like to really be alive." The riders leave. Ike limps off. That's good; at least they're showing that he's still feeling the effects of the gunshot. I was expecting Ike to sprint to his horse without a problem.

Jimmy remains at Ambrose's grave to mourn alone. "So long, Bulldog." The end.

EPILOGUE

Excellent episode. It's got a good dose of humor, plus I like the way Jimmy had trouble dealing with Bulldog's admiration of him. Josh did a good job of showing how Jimmy is already starting to mature. He's done what he's done, but he really feels no need to gloat about it. He just accepts his life for what it is.

Ambrose was annoying at times, but I felt a little sympathy for him as he tried so hard to fit in. Some viewers may be upset that he died at the end of the episode, but I think it brought a little realism to the show. This was the WILD West, and it's to be expected that not every ending is going to be rosy. Just watch "Lonesome Dove" and you'll see what I mean. It's interesting to note that an homage is paid to Ambrose in the second season in the "Dead Ringer" episode when Jimmy disguises himself as "Ambrose Merryweather." I always thought that was a nice bit of continuity.

This episode isn't as good as "Gunfighter" or "Ten-Cent Hero," but it's one of the better episodes of the season so far. Overall I'd definitely recommend this as a YRRT. Show it to all your friends and family without shame. They'll be glad you did.

Mark-Out Remark:

I can't believe I'm doing this, but I'm going to give this award to Cody and Kid with:

Kid: Gotta give him credit, he's got guts.
Cody: Yeah, and pretty soon they're gonna be all over the place.

Granted, Kid merely set up Cody's response which is what really earned the award, but regardless of that, Kid still brings home a share of his first award. All 4 Kid fans must be so happy.

Classic Scene:

I've gotta give it to, "the scene where Ambrose spills his heart to Jimmy and Jimmy is uncomfortable with it." It's got so many elements that make it great: Ambrose trying to be serious, the mock sentimental music, Cody and Kid laughing at the situation, Jimmy's uncomfortableness, Kid getting hit in the back of head. It's just classic Young Riders.

HOW THIS EPISODE CHANGED YOUR LIFE

This section has proved to be enormously popular, and it's amazing to see how many people's lives have been changed by watching a TV show. Now let's take a look at how "Bulldog" formed and shaped the lives of a few YR fans.

Rhi: "Bulldog" taught me that even the geekiest person around can still hang with the cool crowd. Truly, it was a life inspiration.

It led to many many letdowns later though...


JB: One can only venture a guess as to what those letdowns were, but I would assume that Rhi probably eventually realized that the cool crowd doesn't always let the geek hang out with them. But "Bulldog" can give a geek the inspiration to risk his life to fit in with the cool crowd. Granted, once said geek becomes friends with the cool crowd he must realize that at any time he might be required to give his life to save the life of the coolest guy in the group. But if the geek is really living out his dream, then he shouldn't be sorry at all about that prospect. Remember kids, living out one's dream does not come without sacrifices.

Heidi: After thinking long and hard about all those different aspects of this episode (and actually watching it), the lesson that I really learned was that a Caucasion should never, ever try to speak in an Indian language. No matter how well you have it down, they will always go back and dub over what you say. Then people watch the episode and firmly conclude that Indians truly CAN'T speak their own language. ????? And then, the next thing you know, Buck is still not translating it correctly!!!!! Not for the first time, though. But that doesn't really come as a surprise, does it? Proves he's not a reliable translator.

JB: I learned long ago that Buck was pretty much just winging it when he was attempting his translations. One thing I learned from this episode is that you should never hire a Chinese Indian to speak Lakota. I'm afraid it just doesn't ring true.

Lindsay: "Bulldog" changed my life by helping me realize the good fortune of being double-jointed. If my parents ever tie me up (which is a very real danger nowadays), I know I can get free because I am double-jointed in my thumbs. The lucky are lucky due to their double-jointedness, and though brainless they may be, they are always able to get out of a fix, because duh, being double-jointed is luck. The only time this doesn't work is when a keg of gunpowder blows up behind you.

JB: Apparently this episode is an inspiration to not only geeks but also to people who are double-jointed. If you are double-jointed then take pride in the fact that you can always escape if you're tied up, but please realize that being double-jointed will not get you out of EVERY harrowing situation.

Angela: Very interesting look into Jimmy's character - so hard on the outside, and then he gets soft and even almost cries at Bulldog's death. **sniff** so touching. And as I missed this episode the first time around it gave me a wonderful insight as to why Jimmy uses that name later (don't know episode name) doing some undercover work. Isn't that the one that has principal Dennis Martino from "Ed" in it as the bad guy? "Ed" is my new favorite show and funny how that all comes full circle.

JB: Yes, that is indeed the episode, and it's name is "Dead Ringer." I think this just further emphasizes that the last 13 years of TV centers around "The Young Riders."

E-I Beth F: I found it somewhat ironic that Bulldog died in the end. Even more interesting, the writers did not want people to forget his character immediately, as in another episode, (can't remember the name) Jimmy uses his name when he registers at a hotel while investigating a series of bank robberies under his name.

I figured Jimmy must have respected Bulldog to use his name again. Ambrose Merriweather. Not a bad name. He was certainly dedicated to trying to not be a wuss.

I felt all bad for Ike when he got shot, but I was very glad he recovered. Never knew when they were going to write characters out of the show....*glares at writers*.


JB: You gotta admire a wuss who is truly dedicated to trying to not be a wuss. And I think Ike learned a valuable lesson in this episode. Early in the episode he was having a good laugh at poor Ambrose's expense. However, Ike was shot in the leg later in the episode and we can only hope that he quickly learned that you shouldn't laugh at the pain and misfortunes of others. You'd think a bald-headed mute would've learned that lesson EARLY in life, but I guess not everybody is a quick learner.

Jeanette Rider: This episode was one of the most touching in the annals of YR history where it involved someone outside the Rider camp.

I appreciate how it teaches us that heroes aren't always six-feet tall, squared chin and well-built ... of course Jimmy is the exception. *grin* But it emphasizes that no matter what we are or who we are, we can all have a positive impact on those around us.


JB: You're right; EVERYBODY can be a hero. Sure, it helps if you're Jimmy or Johnny Betts, but you don't have to be. Don't ever think that YOU are too small to make a huge impact. Anybody, anywhere can perform heroic actions, even Kid fans.

Jeanette Rider: Jimmy was hard on Ambrose at first, but his sincerity and honesty ... not his admiration of Jimmy ... was the recipe that softened Jimmy's attitude toward Bulldog. Ambrose didn't pretend to be something he wasn't. He tried to fit in but didn't change the person he was inside. Everything he did was without pretense and that is what made Bulldog so special to me.

JB: He was obviously a dreamer. He could never be the type of hero he dreamed of being, but he could still be a hero. Man, for some reason I was just reminded of the time in 10th grade when our high school principle announced his retirement. We had a big going away party for him one day in the auditorium. At the end of all the festivities we were all supposed to stand up and sing "Wind Beneath My Wings." You know, it's the Bette Midler song (Stephanie is forcing me to mention that Gary Morris did the original version of the song. Stephanie also says Gary Morris' version is much better) with the line, "Did you ever know that you're my hero?" Several people were swaying back and forth, and I noticed that a few people had tears in their eyes. I sat there stone-faced with my arms crossed and didn't sing a word. Not even the threat of being expelled could have forced me to participate in that silliness. That was probably the single gayest thing I have ever witnessed in my life.

Jeanette Rider: Another lesson I learned in this episode was that Jimmy is still the sexiest rider and one to be imitated, so Bulldog just underscores that truth. Not that Jimmy could ever be duplicated by any means! And just to add, Kid is none of the above.

One last thing ... if Bulldog had been a girl and had she been me ... the last thing going down around that campfire with Jimmy out in the woods would've been ... well I'll keep that to myself but THAT would've really CHANGED MY LIFE!


JB: I'll take your word for it. That's a lesson that I would NOT be learning. I wonder why there were never any episodes that focused on someone being a huge admirer of Kid? What's that you say? Oh, Kid didn't have any admirers? Yes, I guess that's a good point.

The next episode I'll be reviewing is "Matched Pair." This is ANOTHER Jimmy episode! Can I get a BOOYA? It's another good episode. In this episode, Chris Penn guest stars as an old friend of Jimmy's who returns for one final confrontation.

I hope someone out there will provide me with some screenshots!

In the immortal words of Kevin Arnold, "And if dreams and memories sometimes get confused, oh well. That is as it should be, because every kid deserves to be a hero. Every kid already is."

This is just my opinion, you could be wrong.
The Sun Sets on The Rider Review
Copyright 2002 Madlib Productions, All Rights Reserved

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