15Sheriff Bart and Jim, the ‘Waco Kid’ (Blazing Saddles)
Realistically, a black sheriff wouldn’t exactly been embraced in the days of the Old West, but only Mel Brooks was willing to use that premise as a launching point for a discussion about race in Blazing Saddles. In a town that doesn’t want him, Sheriff Bart (Cleavon Little) finds
acceptance in Jim, the ‘Waco Kid,’ (Gene Wilder), a disgraced gunslinger in need of his own other half. The two being outcasts of different sorts, they latched onto each other quickly.
Many of the movie’s funniest moments come when these two are together, namely the “Hey, where the white women at?” scene, and all of them point to the wonderful chemistry Little and Wilder shared. Additionally,given the film’s setting and premise, having a charismatic black hero and a white sidekick alongside him was a brilliant subversion of westerns -- as well as most other film genres -- in and of itself.