An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)

AnAmericanTail-FGW“Fievel Goes West” is a childhood favorite and a fitting end to the legacy of Jimmy Stewart. Not only does Stewart play an old dog who was once an old West hero, but Stewart was a man very fond of family friendly entertainment. “Fievel Goes West” is a film just as good as the original where the Mousekewitz family find themselves being exploited by a capitalist cat who wants to enslave the mouse community before eating them. Masquerading as a Southern mouse promising a new start in the old west town of Green River, the Mousekewitzes make another trek in to a new frontier after the crowded slums of New York didn’t quite work out for them.

Seeking a new chapter, everything seems fine, until Fievel learns of the new scheme by villainous Cat R. Waul and his gang of felines. Stuck in the desert after they attempt to kill him, Fievel makes his way to the town where his family has established their new home, and accidentally runs in to his old west hero, Wylie Burp. Meanwhile, old friend Tiger has been deemed a God by a roving tribe of Native American mice. Sister Tanya has also dismissed any notion of danger when she gains the affections of villain Cat R. Waul and becomes a beloved saloon singer.

When the drought makes things difficult, Fievel is intent on uniting Burp and friend Tiger to save his people before they become cat chow. “Fievel Goes West” is a nice and short follow-up to the original film that isn’t quite as focused on the overtones of the immigration experience. Surely, the sequel is still centered around the ideas of trying to lie down roots for the family, and Fievel learning to be a hero while also staying true to his culture, but this is a more commercial endeavor with an action packed premise.

The film moves at a rapid fire pace, with Fievel traveling across the West, and recruiting the heroics of Burp, as played by Stewart. Stewart gives a rousing final performance as the fierce hero who uses wit and clever tricks to beat the enemy over violence and guns. Don Bluth’s sequel garners the same beautiful animation, along with a fine cast of performers including John Cleese, Amy Irving, Jon Lovitz, and the return of Dom DeLuise as Tiger. “Fievel Goes West” was on constant rotation on our VCR as a child, and it still holds up as a strong and exciting animated film.