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File:Brisco.jpg
"The Wild West -- Fox Style."
—The tagline used during the original run on the Fox Network.
"One part Bond, one part Indiana Jones and 100% cool."
—The tagline used by Turner Network Television when rerunning episodes of The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. was a mid-nineties TV show which provided a unique mix of the classic western and science fiction genres similar to The Wild Wild West TV series of the '60s. Created by Jeffrey Boam (screenwriter of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Innerspace) and Carlton Cuse (Lost), the series starred B movie and television icon Bruce Campbell as the title character who, after the murder of his father (Marshall Brisco County, Sr, played by R. Lee Ermey) at the hands of the infamous John Bly gang, is hired by the wealthy members of the Westerfield Club to recapture John Bly (played by Billy Drago) and his gang of 12.

Brisco is a graduate of Harvard Law School (with a theater minor) who is an implausibly accurate gunman, One-Liner King and ladies man with killer jawline and an almost permanent 5-o'clock shadow (Hey, it's Bruce Campbell, you expected something else?). He is smooth, quick-witted, durable, extremely creative and annoyingly hard to kill (he was even brought back from the dead once). After being hired by the "Robber Barons" of the Westerfield Club, Brisco (along with his horse, Comet) is immediately paired with the club's personal lawyer Socrates Poole (Christian Clemenson) who will be the middle man between them and their employee, Brisco. While searching for the escaped members of John Bly's gang Brisco obtains a reluctant partner in fellow bounty hunter Lord Bowler (Julius Carry), comes to know (quite well) a woman by the name of Dixie Cousins (Kelly Rutherford), slightly crazed scientist Prof. Albert Wickwire (John Astin) and a large number of guest characters. The secondary plot of the show revolves around a mysterious golden "Orb" which was uncovered by Chinese railroad workers and contains possibly mystical powers. Its true origin and purpose is something Brisco must discover.

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. ran on the FOX network for a total of 27 episodes from August 27, 1993 to May 20, 1994 and was then cancelled. The theme music is composed by Randy Edelman and was used during the 2010 Winter Olympic games for upcoming events.


This TV Series Provides Examples Of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Prof. Wickwire, naturally
  • The Ace: While it mostly makes sense, Brisco seems to be just a little too good to be true, especially when it comes to gunplay.
  • Actor Allusions and Casting Gags:
    • Hippie drug guru Timothy Leary's expertise in botany and pharmacology as Dr. Milo in "Stagecoach"...not to mention his Fauxlosophical Hand Contemplation scene.
    • John "Gomez Addams" Astin mentioning how the [John & John Q.] Adams family was "weird".
    • The series finale features a group of villains who are all played by football players, and discuss their plan to capture Brisco in the same style as a football play, including shouting "Break!" at the end.
    • The traveling scenes are denoted by a very Indiana Jones -style red line on a map overlaid with video footage, which falls more within Author Allusion.
  • Air Guitar: Actually more like Dueling Air Banjos when Pete Hutter and Aaron Viva try to outdo each other while locked in a jail cell
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Subverted when the actual Amazons (the Schwenke sisters) are more interested in Prof. Wickwire than Brisco.
  • Amazing Freaking Grace: Lord Bowler demonstrates that of all the bounty hunters in the west, he's the best singer, as Brisco lies dying after being gut-shot by John Bly. (He gets better.)
  • Anachronism Stew: The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. included such things as rockets, a mobile battle wagon (it's a freakin' tank, people!), steel horses (motorcycles), "machinery" guns, an inner-space suit (diving suit), a zeppelin and other items as well as modern popular culture references in the show dialog. Though these were supposedly early prototypes, their functionality and most people's understanding of them really strains suspension of belief.
    • Some of the "anachronism" were more Did Not Do the Research than playing with history - several of the "new-fangled" devices featured were already around by 1890, some for decades. The Gatling gun was patented in 1861, diving suits were a major area of research during the decade and would be manufactured before the end of the decade, and steam-powered airships had been flying since 1852. First motorcycle has been built in 1885 while similar vehicle powered by steam engine was constructed in 1868. Another episode featured denim being presented as the "next big thing" in textiles, despite having been used in American clothing for over a century.
      • Although Ned Zed's "machinery gun" was more like a Thompson sub-machine gun than a gatling gun, which makes it still fit into this trope.
      • The writers may well have been aware that these devices were around, albeit in primitive form, and that was the point.
    • It could be taken as Steampunk.
  • And Starring: With Comet.
  • Angry Guard Dog
  • Arrow Cam
  • Artifact of Death: the broken orb.
  • Awesome McCoolname: "This here's Utah Johnny Montana. It used to be Utah John Cougar Montana but he dropped the Cougar 'cause he thought it was pretentious." (And he's from Idaho.)
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning
  • Ax Crazy
  • Back From the Dead: Big Smith.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Brisco and Bowler
  • Badass Biker: A whole gang, really (yes, this is still largely a western show...largely).
  • Badass Longcoat: Lord Bowler
  • Bar Brawl
  • Because Destiny Says So
  • Berserk Button: Subverted. Supposedly, Pete Hutter will flip his shit if you touch his gun. In practice, every time someone does (even if it's a repeat offender like Brisco), he's so shocked that he'll stand there, gibbering that they "touched his piece", for several minutes, giving the would-be victim plenty of time to get rid of it, compelling Pete to waste his time finding it.
  • Betty and Veronica: Amanda Wickwire and Dixie Cousins, at least in the pilot
  • Big Bad: John Bly
  • Big Eater: Sheriff Aaron Viva

 Sheriff Viva: Uh, Miss Raymond? Any chance we can get something to gnaw on?

Lenore Raymond: Of course, Sheriff. What'll ya have?

Sheriff Viva: Four chicken-fried steaks, two top sirloins, six baked potatoes, a loaf of bread, a stick of butter...ahhh pound of tapioca and ahhh gallon of buttermilk. Mister County, you want anything?

Brisco: Uh, no thanks.

    • He's later shown BRUTALLY winning a pie-eating contest.
  • Big Fancy House: Bowler, much to Socrates and Brisco's surprise; apparently they thought he was stuffing his mattress with those big bucks he was making as a bounty hunter. He even has a cabinet full of top-of-the-line crystal, which he asserts he will make Socrates pay for in full if there's so much as a chip in it. So it's unfortunate that the reason they're even having the conversation is because Socrates has managed to acquire a Psycho Ex-Girlfriend in record time, and needs a place to hide out.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Swill Brothers and their extended family:

 Gil Swill: You remember our cousin Ed?

Bill Swill: The one who married Aunt Merriam?

Phil Swill: I thought he married his mother.

Bill Swill: That's what I said.

Gil Swill: Until recently, Ed was one of the Army's top test drivers. The man is fearless.

Phil Swill: You have to be fearless to marry your mother.

  • Black Best Friend: Subverted
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Brisco, in a showdown, actually manages to put a bullet through his opponent's barrel and into the chamber, causing it to explode.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil
  • Bolivian Army Ending: almost!
  • Book Dumb: Bowler may be slow on intellectual matters, but he's quite brilliant when it comes to tracking fugitives.
  • Boom Town: No Man's Land, a boom town with a population made entirely of women.
  • Bounty Hunter: Aside from Brisco and Bowler, many other bounty hunters also appear in the show. Most notably in the episode Bounty Hunters Convention
  • Broken Aesop: in "No Man's Land", a village of all women who are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves without needing to rely on men...unless four inept villains come to town in which case only a couple of men can save them now!
  • Brother Chuck: Professor Wickwire's daughter Amanda is never heard from after the pilot.
    • The reporter from the pilot was meant to be a recurring character as the paper's regular correspondent for Brisco's exploits, but as Socrates fulfilled the same function in a different venue, the idea was quickly dropped.
  • Butt Monkey: When at odds with Brisco, Bowler tends to wind up as this.
    • Socrates fits this category to a tee.
  • Card Sharp: Played to the hilt in one episode where Brisco is in a poker game and both he an his opponent are cheating extensively. At one point Brisco even reaches down to pet a dog and pulls an ace from it's collar. Even the cigarette girl is in on it. Though Brisco's opponent has a hand of five kings, he concedes defeat to Brisco's five aces:

 "Ya cheated me fair and square!"

    • Even more fun is that despite Brisco's obsession with the "coming thing," he's relying on classic low-tech cheating while the other guy has all kinds of steampunk gadgets to help him. And it's still Brisco who wins.
  • Cargo Ship: Pete/Pete's Piece
  • The Casino
  • Cattle Punk
  • Chained to a Railway: In the pilot episode, Brisco and Lord Bowler are tied to the railway tracks by the John Bly Gang.
  • Character as Himself: "...with Comet" - actually played by four horses, each with a specific area of training (gestures, riding tricks, etc.)
    • Bruce Campbell mentions on the commentary that there were a few times where he had to break it to an episode's director that a shot they wanted with Comet was impossible, due to requiring two different horses.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Quite literally with Brisco's own gun, which has a connection with the Orb.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them
  • Clear My Name
    • Subverted in Socrates' Sister where the titular sister Iphigenia Poole (Judith Hoag) helps accused forger Jack Randolph (William Russ), who claimed Mistaken Identity, to escape...guess what; he was guilty all along
    • Played straight in Crystal Hawks with Brisco himself the innocent accused.
  • Cliff Hanger: Of the Commercial Break Cliffhanger variety. Usually Once an Episode, but earlier on, twice. When the episode would return from a break, a chapter title would appear.
  • The Con: "Riverboat."
  • Con Man: Brisco, occasionally. Not to mention con women (Dixie and Dolly Cousins)
  • Contemplating Your Hands: Dr. Milo (Timothy Leary!) in "Stagecoach".
  • Conveyor Belt O' Doom: Examples include Brisco being tied to a log in a sawmill, tied to railroad tracks, tied up with wet rawhide, stuck in a soon-to-be exploding boiler room, tossed into quicksand, dumped down a well, stuck in a burning barn, the ax-throwing trick, tied to a metal pole in a thunderstorm, acid bath (actually intended for the victim in the room above Brisco but nearly gets him when it falls through the ceiling) and much more.
  • Cool Gun: Aside from having a pretty, sculpted pearl handle, Brisco's gun, which was also his father's, holds a secret.
  • Cool Horse: He can even open combination locks. And knows Morse code.
    • So naturally, Brisco is inclined to quibble over small details.
  • Creator Cameo: Carlton Cuse as an artist Pete hires in the pilot.
  • Cute Bruiser: Crystal Hawks
  • The Danza: In "Senior Spirit," the kidnapped boy Jason is played by Jason Marsden.
  • Dead Hat Shot: in the Pilot subverted in that the victim, Big Smith, survives
  • Deader Than Dead (specifically being melted into a pile of ash.)
  • Deadly Dodging: In one episode, Brisco is about to be shot by four bandits who form a perfect cross around him. He decides to duck at the last moment and the bandits kill each other simultaneously.
  • Deadpan Snarker: U.S Attorney Breakstone

 Socrates: Rita Avnet is obsessively in love with me.

Breakstone: I'm sorry. You'll forgive me for laughing.

Socrates: But...you're not laughing.

Breakstone: Trust me. On the inside...I am.

 Socrates: U.S Attorney....uh, Mister Break...oh, this is silly. My name is Socrates, what's your first name?

Breakstone: Ginger. But that's on a need-to-know basis.

Socrates: Ginger....?

Breakstone: That's right, Ginger.

 Enzio Tataglia: [Sitting at a table in the middle of town] In my country we have a saying "If you yodel in the forest , the yoohoo that you yoohoo will be the yoohoo that you get back."

Brisco County Jr.: Where were you from again?

 Whip Morgan: You think we can break out?

Pete Hutter: Whip, you happen to be in the company of a connoisseur of penal lodging.

Whip Morgan: Hey! I ain't into that.

Pete Hutter: I was talking about the jailhouse design.

  • Kangaroo Court
  • Known Only By Their Nickname: Lord Bowler. His real name is James Lonefeather.
  • Literal Cliff Hanger: a humorous example as Brisco is hanging out a window with Socrates(who is holding onto Brisco's belt). There's a wagonful of sharp pointy things under them and a Chinese gangster stepping on Brisco's fingers.

 Brisco: "Socrates...my hands are slipping."

Scorates: "Don't worry, I've got a good grip on your belt."

 Lord Bowler: Dayum!

Brisco County Jr.: Now, it's just anatomy guys.

Lord Bowler: Yeah, it sure looks real good on her.

 Brisco: What's with the buckboard?

Sheriff Viva: Wagon-jumpin' contest...got out of hand.

 Dixie: You like the bed? It comes from France.

Brisco: Louie the 14th?

Dixie: No, I think Louie was the 9th or 10th. But then a lady never counts.

Brisco: Oh, yeah, then what are those notches on your bedpost?

  • Old Master: Lee Pow, leader of the Scarred Foot Clan
  • One-Liner: a staple of the show
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Lord Bowler is an excellent tracker and has a good record of success, but to dime store novel readers, passers-by and even a woman from the very distant future, he is just Brisco's "faithful companion."
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In order to hide his identity, Brisco often introduces himself as Roscoe Merriweather or "Kansas" Wylie Stafford (at least until the episode AKA Kansas, where "Kansas" Wylie Stafford actually shows up to set the record straight).
  • Parental Abandonment: Episode: The Brooklyn Dodgers. Okay, actually The children weren't abandoned, they thought both their parents were dead but their mother was still alive although she also believed they were both dead.
    • Bowler himself, having lost his father while a baby and his mother later on during childhood.
    • And, of course, Brisco. His father is gunned down in the pilot and his mother died years earlier.
  • Parody Names:
    • Sheriff Aaron Viva (parody of Elvis Presley, including looks, mannerisms and even occasionally speaking in well-known Elvis song lyrics.
    • From No Man's Land: Dr. Rosa Quintano, Medicine Woman.
  • Piano Drop: John Bly arranges this as Brisco is chasing him, used as a Commercial Break Cliffhanger. Brisco shoots the pully clamp to stop it just before it hits him and his Girl Of The Week.
  • Pinkerton Detective
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: One member of John Bly's gang and his lackeys were a group of actual pirates. Somehow or another they'd gotten driven off the high seas, so they took to pirating on the American plains. It's also a literal example of this trope, as they're very much classical pirates (maybe 17th century-ish), but the show is supposed to take place right around the turn of the 20th century.
  • Power Trio: Brisco (ego), Bowler (id), and Poole (superego)
  • Pun-Based Title: Almost every chapter title per episode (After the Pilot, always two there are: EX: "I'll be Sawing You in All the Old Familiar Places"; "When All is Zed and Done").
  • Punk Punk: Steampunk elements abound, as Brisco seeks out "the coming thing."
  • Punched Across the Room: Justified due to the Power of the Orb
  • Put on a Bus: Amanda Wickwire, Designated Love Interest of the Pilot
  • Quicksand Sucks: Quicksand surely does suck for Blackbeard La Cutte
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom
  • Reality Subtext: Originally, the writers envisioned the rivalry between Brisco and Bowler lasting longer. However, as Campbell and Carry had such strong chemistry, the writers were compelled to have them interact more often - leading to Brisco and Bowler becoming close friends sooner than expected.
  • Reckless Gun Usage:
    • While Brisco is tussling with a bad guy. The Girl of the Week wants to help, and grabs a nearby pistol by the barrel and is about to hit the bad guy before Brisco stops her. He beats up the bad guy himself, then demonstrates that fact that if the woman had struck someone with the butt of the loaded, flintlock pistol, it would've gone off. Directly into her.
    • Also lampshaded in the pilot, when Big Smith's gang is going to shoot Brisco.

  Pete: "Dixie! I'm kind of a stickler for gun safety." *waves the gun in her direction* "Could you move a little to the left?"

  • Recurring Character: Usually Dixie Cousins, the Love Interest, or Prof. Wickwire, the Reluctant Mad Scientist and sometimes both.
    • Also Whip by the end of the season.
    • Along with Pete and Pete's Piece
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Professor Wickwire though he may be just a little unhinged.
  • Retroactive Precognition: Brisco and his obsession over "the coming thing." Which he runs into quite frequently, even when he doesn't know it(such as drive-thru windows and the hitchhiker's thumb.)
  • Retirony: in "Bye Bly" with Lord Bowler this was played straight and then subverted!
    • Best part: Retirony is used exclusively for dramatic effect; after Bowler does not die, he decides against retirement. He was thinking of retiring just so it would be extra poignant when he dies.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Generally averted with Brisco himself. He's hunting the men that murdered his father, but as personal as the loss was, he is content to bring them to justice.
    • Played straight, however, when Brisco encounters the man responsible for his mother's death. Brisco takes two beatings when he tries fighting head-on as opposed to using his wits.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: "Brisco in Jalisco"
  • The Rival: Lord Bowler (early on)
  • Rule of Cool: one of the driving forces of the series, along with:
  • Rule of Funny
  • Runaway Train
  • Scary Black Man: both played straight and subverted in Lord Bowler. He tries to be this Trope and sometimes succeeds...when his own dimwittedness doesn't subvert the attempt.
  • Screwed by the Network: other than the Friday Night Death Slot mostly averted: Fox spent a lot of money advertising the show, including running ads during movie previews.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Or an Orb, in this case.
  • Secret Legacy
  • Sexy Discretion Shot
  • Shadow Discretion Shot
  • Shaky POV Cam
  • The Sheriff
  • Shout-Out: several, typically to old western series.
    • In "Riverboat" Brisco's gambler outfit is a duplicate of the one worn by James Garner in Maverick
    • One episode has John Astin's character remark that the John/John Quincy Adams family was said to be weird.
    • In "Stagecoach", the captured agent is named Emma Steed
    • One of the residents of No Man's Land is Dr. Quintano, Medicine Woman.
  • A Simple Plan: Usually a plan constructed by Pete Hutter which he often pulls off with the same success of anything by Wile E. Coyote. Though he does seem to be fairly successful at causing trains to run into giant rocks that are painted to look like the continuation of the train tracks.

 Pete: That's why they came to Pete Hutter. Because they know if you're gonna pull off this type of operation, what you need is big rocks!

 Brisco County Jr.: We heard you were alive, Pete.

Lord Bowler: We just didn't believe it. We saw you get killed by that Chinese death star with our own eyes.

Pete Hutter: Well that's the thing about your Chinese death stars, An hour later and you're alive again.

 Brisco: All those years where dad was gone all the time, you're the closest thing I ever had to a father! You were the sheriff! You held this town together.

Bob: I'm still holding it together.

Brisco: Like the hell you are! You're a drunk! If my father were still alive, he'd be ashamed to ride with you. And so am I.

  • Whole-Episode Flashback: "Ned Zed," which tells a story early into the hunt for Bly and his gang (well before Brisco and Bowler officially teamed-up). The framing device is a father and son reading a dime store novel.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: While on the run in "Deep in the Heart of Dixie," Dixie dons a matching black wig and dress, and performs under a different name.
  • Will They or Won't They?
    • Subverted in the pilot with Brisco and Dixie when the Sexy Discretion Shot strongly suggests they did.
  • Witty Banter: This show practically crawls with it.
  • Woman Scorned
  • Wrench Wench: Amanda Wickwire in the Pilot and the Schwenke sisters in "No Man's Land"
  • Young Gun: "Whip" Morgan
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