This episode begins with a very angry horse cornering Doug. What the hell is going on?
What did Doug do to piss off this horse? As with a lot of Doug's trouble, this one began with Patti. She has a flyer for a dude ranch right outside of town and she's asking everyone to go out there with her on Saturday. Her dad will drive them.
Patti's invitation immediately reminds Doug of his family's annual summer trips to his Uncle Happy's farm where he was allowed to ride their pony Tornado. Tornado is a pretty badass name for a small, pink pony.
You decide which part of this picture is the cutest. Doug says he loved that pony and his parents would sometimes let him sleep outside with the pony, presumably on the nights when they wanted to have undisturbed sex.
So after the memory-fantasy, Doug tells Skeeter he can't wait to get out there. Roger hears him and begins his taunting.
After saying they wouldn't know which end is the front, Roger asks Skeeter if he's ever even seen a horse, except for when he looks in the mirror. Doug quickly shuts him up with some pony jargon and restrains from calling him out on his vitamin deficiency.
After Roger stomps off, people start asking about his experience and he tells them he used to ride Tornado all the time. Everyone quickly jumps on the "Doug was a real cowboy" bandwagon and Doug is immediately in over his head in lies. At first he seems a little anxious about it, but he quickly accepts this new popularity.
So now he's adopted a southern accent and he's making up stories about Tornado. Everyone follows him around all day, listening to stories about rattlesnakes, and the death of Tornado, which is of course why Doug doesn't ride anymore. I hope that story is actually true. I hope that his uncle actually had to put Tornado down, and now he just doesn't want to ride anymore. His stories have impressed everyone, especially Patti. He says even he started believing himself, and that's when we get one of the best fantasies ever. It's Durango Doug.
Durango Doug breaks off a piece of a cactus to comb his hair and brush his teeth. Durango Doug uses a rattlesnake as a belt. The whole fantasy has a great song about how badass Durango Doug is and I wish it was 2 hours long.
So finally the big day has come and Doug has built himself up so much he's sure to make an ass of himself.
Done. Doug is in full fantasy mode right now. The dude ranch dude apparently had them fill out a form detailing their riding expertise. Most people put beginner. Beebe put intermediate. Patti put advanced. Skeeter asks what Doug put down, "expert? Super-expert?" Doug pauses and replies, "other." Everyone replies with "wow" in unison.
The guy starts introducing everyone to the horses they'll be riding. Patti gets Buttercup. Roger is excited when he hears he'll be riding Lightning, but is disappointed when it turns out to be an ass.
Who wouldn't be pissed here? Presumably Roger paid to ride a horse. He should not be charged horse prices if he's riding a donkey. That's a total rip-off. If I was Roger, I'd definitely report Buck's Dude Ranch to the Better Business Bureau.
Anyway, Al and Moo get introduced to their twin horses Romulus and Remus, and finally the rancher gets to Doug. Doug will be riding Sugar. Sugar is the black horse from the beginning that was chasing Doug. Doug's tough cowboy persona fades away immediately at the sight of the horse, and he has another Durango Doug fantasy. This time Durango Doug is a coward.
He jumps at every sound and the song is about what a coward he is and I still want it to be 2 hours long.
After the fantasy, Sugar is jumping around uncontrollably and Doug asks if maybe he's a little wild. The guy says Sugar's a sweetheart if you know how to handle him, and a rider of Doug's expertise should have no problem. Doug asks why he's named Sugar, and the guy pulls out a sugar cube and the stupid horse stops acting crazy long enough to eat it and make a cute face. The guy gives Doug another sugar cube and leaves to help the others. Patti butts in to say that Sugar looks fun.
Doug says Sugar is a killer. He realizes he's showing a bit and tries to break back into his cowboy character to say the horse looks a little rough. A badass wouldn't say a horse was a killer. Patti calls Sugar a big sweetie and walks back over to Buttercup. Doug thinks that he can't back down now. "That horse would probably murder me, but I couldn't let Patti see me chicken out." This is crazy reasoning. Didn't Doug watch the Back to the Future movies?
Patti asks him if he's coming but he tells them to go ahead. He's going to head out alone on Sugar.
Skeeter's horse matches his skin color. Al and Moo's horses match their skin color. Roger is riding a jackass. Doug sees things how he wants to see them.
Doug finally feeds the sugar cube to Sugar and climbs on his back. He starts to tell the horse to take it nice and easy, but with the horse being a horse, it doesn't understand English and starts running at top speed. Meanwhile Roger is finally the first person to say something about all of Doug's talk. As Patti starts defending him, he jumps Sugar over a fence and rides past them, leaving them in a trail of dust.
It's all an accident of course. As with most, or all, instances of horseback riding in comedic television shows or movies, there is unfortunately a low hanging tree branch sticking out into the well worn trail. What's wrong with these ranchers? They know how to take care of horses, but cutting a dangerous branch out of the way on your main trail is just too complicated. Anyway Doug hits the branch and Sugar runs away. Doug hides in the bushes while the other kids slowly trot by, easily ducking under the branch, or in Roger's case, slightly nodding under the branch.
Doug determines to get back to the ranch before everyone else so they don't find out he's a shitty rider. He finally finds Sugar, eating garbage from the most curiously placed dumpster ever.
Doug starts pulling on the reins but the horse won't budge. The garbage is too delicious. Doug shuts the dumpster but that only serves to piss off Sugar. Doug relents and opens it again. He then determines to drag the dumpster back to the ranch.
It would probably be easier to pull out whatever Sugar is eating and leading him with that instead of the entire dumpster, but what do I know? I hate horses.
While Doug is pulling the dumpster, Patti wanders by. Doug hides in the dumpster for some reason. Doug's absense makes Patti worry.
If Doug isn't on his horse, he must be hurt. She starts yelling out for him. The best thing she says is, "are you conscious?" A perfectly logical question. She shouts down into the gorge, hoping Doug didn't fall. Finally he reveals himself.
He also tells her the whole truth. He only ever rode a little pony and everything else was made up. Naturally she's pissed. She points out that he could hurt himself riding a horse like Sugar when he doesn't know how. He apologizes and starts to walk back, but she says she's not done with him yet. She's climbed onto Sugar and demands that he get on behind her.
He climbs up and is happy to hold onto her waist while she explains the basics of horseback riding to him. They ride off to meet with the group and we never get to hear what Roger has to say about Doug's bullshit.
Doug is quite crazy in this episode. His friends buy his exaggerated bullshit until he starts living out his fantasy as Durango Doug. He changes his whole demeanor and adopts an accent to live out this fantasy. He puts himself in danger to live out this fantasy. It's one of the most dangerous things his delusions have made him do.