|A Rover Runs Through It|
|Season 9, Episode 1|
|Air date||November 7, 2004|
|Written by||Dan Sterling|
|Directed by||Tricia Garcia|
Peggy receives a phone call from her estranged mother, who invites the family to her ranch in Montana. Peggy isn’t interested in going, as her mother criticized her as a child, and ignored her as an adult. Hank thinks Peggy’s mother might be extending an invitation to patch things up between them. Peggy thinks Hank might be right. The family flies to Montana, where Hank tries to rent a pick-up truck. But the rental car store is all out of pick-up trucks, so Hank is forced to rent a Range Rover. Hank and his family drive to the Platter ranch, and along the way, Hank is overwhelmed by the beautiful Montana scenery. At the ranch, Peggy gives her mother, Maddy, a big hug, but Maddy is her old disapproving self. That night, Peggy tells Hank she can’t figure out why Maddy suggested they get together, as she’s just as cold and critical as ever. The next morning, Hank offers to give Peggy’s brothers, Blake and Rusty, a hand with the chores around the ranch. Blake and Rusty have fun criticizing Hank, his Range Rover and his “Hollywood attitude.” Meanwhile, Peggy helps Maddy deliver a calf. Instead of praising Peggy for her assistance, Maddy suggests the calf would still be inside its mother if Peggy had been alone. Peggy erupts in anger. Maddy tells her the family is losing the ranch, and blames everything on actor Henry Winkler. Rusty and Blake tell Hank that the family normally herds cows into the mountains using a local trail. Part of the trail was on property owned by the Grammersdorf family. But the Grammersdorfs moved away, and the property was purchased by Henry Winkler, who won’t let the Platters use the trail. Meanwhile, Bobby grows increasingly bored with the surroundings…until he strikes up a friendship with a horse named Tennessee. Peggy puts her old saddle on the horse and shows Bobby how to ride. Meanwhile, Hank strikes up a conversation with Henry Winkler, who loves the clean air and peacefulness Montana has to offer. Winkler doesn’t want cattle on the trail because the animals would have to cross through his favorite fishing area, and fears the cattle could contaminate the fish. Hank eventually gives up on Winkler. He heads back to the ranch and tells Peggy they’re going home. But when Hank realizes Bobby has taken an interest in lasso tossing, he curses Henry Winkler for not letting him enjoy the best moment of his life. Peggy decides she’s not willing to give up the ranch. Peggy buries herself in a pile of old books. She discovers an old ordinance that says if a dedicated cattle road should become impassable, Main Street can serve as a temporary pass. Peggy, Bobby and Hank move the cattle herd off the property and onto Main Street, which is lined with upscale restaurants and galleries. Yuppies begin to panic when they see the cattle, and one steer begins defecating on an expensive convertible. Peggy shows a policeman a copy of the law. The officer says it holds no meaning because it was made more than a hundred years ago. Hank deliberately causes a stampede, and the animals rush through town. Later, Peggy realizes that even though she saved the ranch, her mother still isn’t proud of her. Peggy wonders if the entire trip wasn’t pointless…but Hank points to a nearby cliff, and Peggy sees Bobby sitting on the horse, watching the sunset. As the credits roll, Hank narrates a public service announcement with Winkler while fishing.
- In the scene where Hank puts down his drink and gets up, look closely at the drink. It vanishes when Hank is fully standing.
- On Adult Swim and other syndicated airing, the end titles play over a sort of epilogue where Hank breaks the fourth wall. He and Henry Winkler are fishing together in a stream. Hank says that it was always Henry's intention to eventually yield the road rights to the ranch. Due to Fox's practice of compressing show credits into a smaller box on the screen so they can air previews for other shows, this coda was not used in its original airing on Fox. However, it did air in Canada. Plus, it is used on FX's rerun of the episode.
- The episodes "Happy Hank's Giving," "Peggy's Fan Fair," and "Ceci N'est Pas Une King of the Hill" also refer to Peggy's Montana upbringing. It may be possible that Peggy was born in Montana, moved to Arlen at a young age, and her family moved back to Montana at some point.
- It should also be known that Peggy's mom DID visit the Hill family in "I Remember Mono", and she seemed much more friendly, too.
- Peggy's mother, Maddy, has been completely redesigned since her last appearance (she used to look like just an older version of Peggy). Also, the version of Peggy's backstory given here, which is that she grew up on a ranch, fell out with her mother and hasn't talked to her for twenty years, completely contradicts her backstory as given in the episode "I Remember Mono," where teenage Peggy is shown living with her mother in Arlen.
- Actually, Peggy's story is that she was born in Montana (hence, she can't be a "real texan" either, like Hank, who was born in New York City), but she and her family moved to Montana at some point and she attended school in Arlen at least for a while.
- Bobby: (when the horse shows interest in Bobby's candybar) "Oh you want some candy huh? I don't blame you, I've had hay."
- Bobby: (about to mount a horse) "Are you sure he won't mind?"
Peggy: "Honey, he weighs 1,000 lbs, to him, you are like a hat!"
- Peggy: (speaking about her mother) "She's just as cold, mean and critical as she ever was. Hank ... don't ever let me become my mother. Bobby, from this moment on, I will CODDLE you!"
Bobby: "Alllll right!"
- Peggy: (telling a 'funny' story about her day at school) "She said, 'No, Mrs. Hill, this is Advanced Placement Latin,' then I said, 'Oh, okay then, what's Latin for 'my bad'?"
- Hank: (trying to convince Peggy she had a good childhood) "Look at this saddle ... are you trying to tell me that this saddle doesn't bring any good memories?"
Peggy: "Well, of course it does, it reminds me of 'Mezullah', my old Gelding horse. Momma made me castrate him myself."
- Hank: "Dang it, I am sick and tired of everyone's asinine ideas about me. I'm not a redneck, and I'm not some Hollywood jerk. I'm something else entirely. I'm complicated!"
- (Hank is awkwardly riding a galloping horse during the cattle drive)
Rancher: "What're you doing?"
Hank: "Well, right now I'm trying not to die."
- An episode of the show Unscripted on HBO featured Pamela Segall Adlon doing some ADR voice recording for this episode.
Hank: "Sven Grammerstorf?"
- Title: A River Runs Through It
The episode title comes from the book "A river runs through it"
- The title is an obvious reference to Robert Redford's 1992 film "A River Runs Through It" which featured Montana and fly fishing.
- Hank: "Sven Grammerstorf?"
Sven Grammerstorf is the name of someone who went to Harvard -- presumably one of the show's Harvard-educated writers slipped in the name.
- John Wayne film "Chisum"
The episode has two homages to one of the Duke's better later westerns. That film featured Chisum's men stampeding cattle down the middle of the main street of the town, featuring lots of destruction, and here we see the cattle driven by Peggy and the other cattlemen. Also the film opens and closes with a majestic shot of Chisum high on a hillside overlooking his ranch. This episode ends with almost exactly the same shot of Bobby, astride his horse on a bluff. The music is even vaguely western here.