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Hank's Cowboy Movie is the 54th episode of King of the Hill. It was first aired on April 6, 1999. The episode was written by Jim Dauterive, and directed by Shaun Cashman.



Hank and Bobby drive up from Arlen to Wichita Falls to see the Dallas Cowboys training camp. After watching the training session, they wait around until everyone has left, then Bobby notices a football left under a bench. They toss it around, acting out scenarios of Cowboy glory until they’re chased from the field by a security guard who thinks anyone from Arlen is a “pig farmer.”

At the local Dairy Queen (see below), the kid behind the counter puts a little spin on serving Bobby a Blizzard, which further impresses Bobby. When Bobby tries the same move in the front seat of Hank’s truck, he bobbles it and spills it on himself. As Bobby struggles into a clean pair of pants, Hank sees J & J’s Propane, advertising itself as “the official propane supplier of the Dallas Cowboys.” Hank makes the mistake of thinking that the place is a clone of Strickland Propane. The assistant manager and his pimply teenage son, however, dress as if they’re going to a rock concert or a bar, think Hank is a “South Texas pig jockey,” hate the Cowboys and would rather root for the Oklahoma Sooners. Horrified, Hank drags Bobby out of there.

That evening, at the Wichitan Motel, Bobby discovers the bed has a Magic Fingers vibrating feature. Hank pulls the plug on that, literally, saying “You’re under 18.” Bobby also finds a copy of the promotional video the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce made to lure the Cowboys. Hank isn’t impressed, and gets further ticked off when Bobby refers to Arlen as “Pigtown.”

On the way home, Bobby starts bad-mouthing Arlen, including the smell from the sausage plant; “That smell means jobs,” Hank responds. That evening, Hank tells Peggy he’s worried that Bobby’s focus will be on eventually moving out of Arlen. Peggy concurs, citing a couple of students who recently told her they wanted to be astronauts.

At the local Pancho’s Mexican Buffet, Hank airs his concern to his family, the Gribbles, Bill and Boomhauer. Hank puts forward a “long-shot” proposal to send a promotional film about Arlen to the Cowboys. Hank designates himself as “the president of the movie,” Dale volunteers to film it, Nancy to act as the on-air presenter, and Peggy to write the copy. Boomhauer seemed to want to volunteer his services as the narrator, but Hank told him he’ll be wearing an armadillo suit. Bill is assigned to take care of “snacks.”

The opening shot takes place at a city limits sign, then moves to a Y’All Store It facility, where Hank eventually confesses that the sequence needed to be filmed again. Creative differences emerge when Peggy and Nancy politely differ on whether the city’s residents should be called “Arlenians” or “Arlenites.” Hank then criticizes Dale for his “jiggle cam” work, and tells Boomhauer they’ll get to him tomorrow. Boomhauer takes some cheese cubes from a plate; this is the extent of Bill’s effort at catering.

When on location at Tut Rampy Stadium at Arlen High, Hank indulges in Cowboy dreams while engaged in doing stick figure storyboarding. He is so carried away he actually says to Bobby “I love you, Bobby,” but doesn’t follow up on the moment.

The next location is an extremely low-rent tourist trap, “Arlen Snake Farm and Boot Outlet. Now with monkeys.” The production begins to fall apart; Hank tells Dale to stop working his van into the background of every shot, Peggy is upset that Nancy wants to change the slogan “Arlen is darlin’” to “Arlen, where Super Bowls are born,” and Nancy locks herself away in her trailer/the Bug-a-Bago, necessitating a house call from John Redcorn: “I will need about an hour. And a bottle of Asti Spumanti.” Peggy takes it upon herself to replace Nancy in the next shot, which calls for someone to feed a live mouse to a snake. After one mediocre take, Nancy emerges and Hank tells her to do the scene. Nancy, however, refuses to handle a live mouse. Peggy places the mouse on her sleeve, Nancy flicks it off so that it ends up landing in Bookhauer’s armadillo suit, and panic ensues. The live mice scramble as Boomhauer knocks over the bucket they're in, the cheese plate is compromised by the mice, and the monkeys grab handfuls of Nancy’s hair. Nancy quits, Peggy quits as the Arlenian vs. Arlenite feud blows up, Bill quits because Peggy quit, Dale and Boomhauer also walk off the project: (Dale: "You have bully-ragged this production and stifled my creativity from Day One. It is now [checks his watch] Day Two. I quit!").

Hank then vows to shoot the film himself. He sets up shots at Strickland Propane and Tut Rampy Field which show he has no feel for cinematography. When he shows his footage to Dave, the tape editor at Channel 84, he’s merciless in his critique of Hank’s work: “You’re just a dot at this distance … you’ve got no master shot, you crossed the action access, your sound’s horrible…” Hank finally admits defeat.

Later, Hank talks to a Tom Landry commemorative plate, wondering where he went wrong. This scene echoes the flashback in “Escape from Party Island” where Hank remembers his mother fixating on her glass miniatures as Cotton is out of control and their marriage starts going off the rails. Peggy then decides to do something about it. She gathers up home movies from Nancy Gribble as well as the Hills and has Dave cobble together a “human interest” promotional film, complete with brief nude scene featuring Bobby as a toddler: “Look how smooth my bottom was.” It ends with the slogan: “Arlen: where super people make Super Bowls.” Since everyone who gathered to watch the premier of the movie is connected to it in one way or another, it’s a hit with them.

As for the Cowboy, they reply to the offering with a form letter thanking them for the video but that they have no plans to move to Arlen in the near future and a toy football. Hank accepts that Bobby will leave Arlen at some point; Bobby agrees but plans to move to either New York City or Hollywood instead of Wichita Falls. Besides, he points out, there’s still plenty of time. Hank and Bobby then toss around the toy football, reliving Cowboy dreams.


Stinger Quote

Hank: "Sweet Jethro Pugh."


  • A city limits sign, glimpsed in the 3rd season episode "Hank's Cowboy Movie", gives Arlen's population as 145,900.
  • The closing song is the Dallas Cowboys "Stampede March" song that Hank was singing in the truck and in the Wichita Falls Propane store.
  • "Pancho's Mexican Buffet," where the group gathers and decides to make a promotional video for Arlen, is an actual franchise with locations mostly in Texas.
  • When the bucket full of live mice is overturned and panic ensues at the snake farm, the music in the background is "Gimme Three Steps" by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
  • During the scene in the Wichitan Motel, Bobby sings a couple of short phrases from "Wannabe" by The Spice Girls.
  • At the time this episode aired, the Cowboys were training in Wichita Falls on the campus of Midwestern State University. They trained in Wichita Falls until 2002, with a brief stint in 2001 at the River Ridge Sports Complex in Oxnard, California; the prospect of the Dallas Cowboys training in California must have offended Hank's Texas sensibilities. During 2002-2003, the Cowboys relocated to San Antonio and the Alamodome. Between 2004 and the present, the team has moved back and forth between San Antonio and Oxnard.
  • In a couple of episodes, "Pigmalion" and "How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Alamo," Arlen's pig slaughtering industry is highlighted. Throughout the series, the focus is relentlessly kept on Strickland Propane.
  • Luanne's parents, Hoyt and Leanne, are seen in their younger versions in Hank's movie he sends to the Cowboys. This is also the first episode Hoyt is seen.
  • This is one of the few episodes where Hank tells Bobby he loves him.
  • The 'home movie' portion of the episode distinctly shows Hank grilling on a charcoal grill.
  • At the end of the episode, when Hank and Bobby are throwing the football, is a reverse from the pilot opening scene.
  • When Hank goes off on his own to record the portion of the video which takes place on a football field, it's revealed that the field is called Tut Rampy Field. In the episode Après Hank, le Deluge, there's a dam which is called Tut Rampy Dam. In the episode Hank Gets Dusted, there's a racetrack which is called Tut Rampy Racetrack.
  • This is the second and last time a Dairy Queen makes an appearance in the series. In Square Peg, it's revealed that there's a local Dairy Queen in Arlen which Hank, along with Bobby, drives by in his truck.
  • The ending of the 'home movie' video shows the Hank and the guys on the red couch out in the alley from the episode And They Call it Bobby Love.
  • “Arlen Snake Farm” is similar to the real-life “Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo” that is located on I-35 in New Braunfels, Texas.


  • Hank and Bobby are in Wichita Falls visiting the Dallas Cowboys training camp. They go to Dairy Queen. At that time, Wichita Falls did not have a Dairy Queen. The closest one was in Holliday, TX (20 minutes away).
  • Snakes do not have eyelids, but the milk snake Peggy holds at the snake farm blinks once.

Season 2 Season 3 Season 4

Death of a Propane Salesman · And They Call It Bobby Love · Peggy's Headache · Pregnant Paws · Next of Shin · Peggy's Pageant Fever · Nine Pretty Darn Angry Men · Good Hill Hunting · Pretty, Pretty Dresses · A Fire Fighting We Will Go · To Spank with Love · Three Coaches and a Bobby · De-Kahnstructing Henry · The Wedding of Bobby Hill · Sleight of Hank · Jon Vitti Presents: Return to La Grunta · Escape from Party Island · Love Hurts and So Does Art · Hank's Cowboy Movie · Dog Dale Afternoon · Revenge of the Lutefisk · Death and Texas · Wings of the Dope · Take Me out of the Ball Game · As Old as the Hills