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Wagons East!

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Wagons East!
Wagons east.jpg
A sad way to end John Candy's career
Genre: Comedy
Directed By: Peter Markle
Produced By: Gary Goodman
Robert Newmyer
Barry Rosen
Jeffrey Silver
Written By: Matthew Carlson
Starring: John Candy
Richard Lewis
John C. McGinley
Ellen Greene
Robert Picardo
Rodney A. Grant
Ed Laueter
Lochlyn Munro
Photography: Color
Distributed By: TriStar Pictures
Carolco Pictures
Release Date: August 26, 1994
Runtime: 107 minutes
Country: United States

Wagons East! is a 1994 Western comedy starring John Candy in one of his last roles. The film co-stars Richard Lewis, John C. McGinley, Ellen Greene, Robert Picardo, Rodney A. Grant, Ed Lauter and Lochlyn Munro.


Wagonmaster James Harlow (John Candy) leads the citizens of the town of Prosperity back East.

Why It Sucks

  1. The story is awful.
  2. A majority of the characters are unlikable (eg. A flamboyantly gay character, an irritating brother and sister, the list goes on).
  3. The jokes aren't funny (eg. flatulence jokes (including a scene where farts are being lit on fire), someone uses a book as toilet paper (thankfully, it is unseen), drunk jokes, going in the wrong direction while heading East, a character drinks urine out of a canteen thinking that it is water and probably the worst joke is the one where a person dies after getting a bullet taken out of his head).
  4. Offensive stereotypes of Native Americans.
  5. The film feels somewhat like a rip-off of Blazing Saddles.
  6. The film was a very sad way to end John Candy's career.
  7. False advertising: John Candy and Richard Lewis look like they're in the film a lot whilst in the film, the two barely have any screen time together or even share a slight bit of dialogue.
  8. Unfunny and nonexistent quotes (eg. "Sissy boy! That is so Dodge City!", "Search your brain by the light of the candle!", "These people aren't settlers, they're renegades.").
  9. John Candy looks bored out of his mind throughout the film.
  10. Useless supporting characters including a person who tries to blow up the bridge that James Harlow's (John Candy's character) caravan crosses. Fortunately, the caravan crossed the bridge before it was blown up.
  11. Lame shootout scene where the flamboyantly gay man shoots an outlaw named Slade and says to him "Happy Valentine’s Day!" after Slade drops dead.
  12. The film feels like it goes on forever.
  13. Lame revelation where James lead the Donner Party.
  14. A disgusting and pointless revelation where it is revealed that Indians were sleeping with the women in the caravan (thankfully we don't see it).
  15. The cavalry scene was pointless.
  16. John Candy died before filming was complete.
  17. Overall, it ended John Candy’s film career on a sour note.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Decent soundtrack.
  2. Good performances from John C. McGinley, Ed Lauter, Ellen Greene and Charles Rocket, who all give out memorable performances.
  3. John Candy's performance as James Harlow was somewhat decent.
  4. The scene where James fights off the cavalry was kind of decent.
  5. The ending scene was okay.


Wagons East! was panned by critics and audiences alike. The film currently holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 2.4 out of 10 and a critic consensus stating "Wagons East! is a witless, toothless satire of Westerns that falls far below the standard set by Blazing Saddles, and is notable only for being John Candy's final screen performance." Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film a 0.5 out of 4 and described the film as "a sad way to end John Candy's career" and was on their Worst of 1994 show.

Box Office

Wagons East! opened at #14 on its opening weekend with a domestic gross of $1,802,878. However, the overseas marketing numbers aren't available. The film bombed after making a total of $4,412,297.


  • While this was the final film that Candy worked on, it wasn't Candy's last film in release order; that was Canadian Bacon, which was filmed before this, but sat on the shelf for nearly two years before eventually being released.
  • This is the only Carolco film to feature the 1993 TriStar logo.
  • John Candy did not want to star in the film, but was contractually obligated to be in it.
  • A year after this film was released, Carolco Pictures went out of business before the release of Cutthroat Island.


External links


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