|The Good, the Bad and the Ponies|
|Published:|| November 19, 2014 (#25)|
December 24, 2014 (#26)
|Artist:|| Andy Price|
Katie Cook (#25 p. 24)
Sara Richard (#25 pp. 26-28)
| Gallery • Allusions • IDW Publishing|
IDW Limited • IDW Publishing Forums
Friendship is Magic #24
The Root of the Problem
The Good, the Bad and the Ponies is the ninth story arc of IDW Comics' comic series, spanning issues #25 and #26. In this story, Applejack and her friends must protect a western Apple family town from a band of ruthless bulls.
The issue opens with the Mane Six on a train ride to Canter Creek, a western town owned by Apple family relatives. While Twilight Sparkle and Rarity are excited about the outing, Applejack is worried about her great granduncle Chili Pepper, whose sudden disappearance has the townsfolk troubled.
At the Canter Creek train station, the Mane Six meet with Sheriff Tumbleweed, and Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy notice various wanted posters on display. Tumbleweed shows the ponies to Rancho Bronco, Chili Pepper's farm and Canter Creek's central trading hub. In a town saloon, Tumbleweed explains that Chili Pepper's disappearance has left a vacuum of leadership at the ranch, and no one wants to fill in because of the Cattle Rustlers—a gang of outlaw bulls that terrorize the town and frequently demand supplies and food.
At that very moment, the Cattle Rustlers ride into town, and Applejack and Rarity recognize them from their past trip to Applewood. As the bulls forcibly collect food and supplies from the townsfolk, Applejack stands up to their leader King Longhorn. Despite her boasting about having an Equestrian princess on her side, she gets thrown through a barn wall because of Twilight's refusal to use her magic on sentient, non-magical creatures. With that, the Rustlers take off into the mountains.
That night, at the Rustlers' hideout, Longhorn expresses concern about Applejack's involvement in his plot to take over Rancho Bronco. The Rustlers resolve to chase her out of town. Meanwhile, at the ranch, Tumbleweed explains further that Chili Pepper didn't leave a deed to the ranch before leaving; Longhorn is waiting for the ranch to be considered abandoned so he can lay claim to it. As the ponies resolve to chase the Rustlers off, a commotion outside draws their attention—Longhorn has set fire to a barn and warns Applejack of more such disasters if she stays in town. As the ponies rush to put out the flames, Applejack declares war. She tries again to convince Twilight to use her magic, but Twilight still refuses to abuse her power, much to Applejack's frustration.
The next day, Tumbleweed calls a town meeting to inform everyone of this development. As the townsfolk worry about their livelihoods, Tumbleweed tells them that they need to work together to get rid of the Cattle Rustlers. As they discuss building fence and trap defenses, the Rustlers return. They lead a frenzied cow stampede through the middle of Canter Creek, causing further damage to the town. Tumbleweed loses nearly all hope, but Applejack assures him things will be better by morning.
The following morning, the Mane Six organize town repairs and building defenses. Twilight comes up with a trap to cover the Rustlers in molasses and feathers, and Applejack helps build a barbed wire fence around the town. Later, when the Rustlers see the defenses that the town has put up, they charge right through. Despite the town's efforts, the Cattle Rustlers succeed in bullying them out of more food and water.
The townsfolk abandon all hope of ever stopping the Rustlers, and Tumbleweed steps down as the town sheriff and walks away. Applejack, still determined, picks up Tumbleweed's sheriff badge and vows to save Canter Creek.
How Sheriff Tumbleweed Got His Cutie Mark
A bonus one-page story depicts how Tumbleweed got his cutie mark. A tumbleweed rolls across a desert, knowing that his life's purpose is to help a pony with his namesake get their cutie mark. However, when he comes across young Tumbleweed, Tumbleweed already has his cutie mark, much to the tumbleweed's disappointment.
To Tame the Beast
The ponies regroup at the town saloon to come up with another plan, but the residents of Canter Creek believe King Longhorn will win in the end. Outside, Longhorn meets with the town clerk, and Twilight bears even more bad news: having lived on the town property for months, Longhorn now has the right to apply for the town deed and will legally own Canter Creek in seven days.
Upon seeing some ponies gambling in an alley, Applejack comes up with a plan of misdirection: distract Longhorn for the ponies to move his gang's campsite off ranch land, rendering his claim to the town null and void. Twilight, still refusing to use magic, happily agrees to this plan.
A courier pony delivers a telegram to Longhorn, informing him of some incomplete paperwork. As he returns to town, Applejack, Pinkie, and Rainbow Dash distract the rest of the Cattle Rustlers so they can move the campsite. In town, Twilight and Rarity pose as office clerks and have Longhorn sign more paperwork—with disappearing ink. Unfortunately, the ponies fail to move the camp far enough before Longhorn returns. They decide to get the townsfolk involved, and Tumbleweed, seeing the potential in Applejack's plan, joins in.
The next day, Longhorn is summoned to town by another telegram. Pinkie distracts the other Cattle Rustlers with a fake ghost haunting, and the ponies move the camp again. However, they miss the property line by only twelve feet, prompting a third attempt. This time, when an angry Longhorn returns to town, Rarity has Fluttershy distract the other Cattle Rustlers with her cuteness.
Having had enough of signing paperwork over and over, Longhorn rounds up the Cattle Rustlers and prepares to move into Canter Creek early. He finds the ponies repairing the barn that he burned down and tells them to leave. When Tumbleweed finally fights back, Longhorn threatens to harm Rarity unless the ponies surrender the town deed. Twilight retaliates with papers notarized by Princess Celestia declaring Rancho Bronco a historic Equestrian landmark. With Longhorn's own paperwork incomplete and his gang's camp moved off of ranch property, his claim to the town is invalid.
In a blind rage, Longhorn destroys the barn again. With damage caused to a historic Equestrian site, Twilight now has authority to use her magic, and she constructs a prison from the barn's remains to house Longhorn and his gang.
With Canter Creek saved, Tumbleweed assumes the position of town sheriff again, and the Mane Six depart for home.
- Rarity: Perhaps we should stop in a larger town for some accouterments?
- Pinkie Pie: Accoutre-whatta?
- Pinkie Pie: Isn't carrying Rarity's bags Spike's job?
- Twilight Sparkle: He's at a Pony Trek convention in Las Pegasus this week.
- Rainbow Dash: Every pony in this town is afraid of a cow?
- Fluttershy: Bull.
- Rainbow Dash: I think that was uncalled for.
- Twilight Sparkle: So I guess we could call them a bunch of bull-ies, am I right?!
- Pinkie Pie: Let's leave those jokes to the professionals, thank you very much.
- Sheriff Tumbleweed: Longhorn! I thought I told you I didn't want to see you back in my town!
- King Longhorn: You did say that, didn't you? I didn't listen.
- Applejack: Hey! You bunch of yellow-bellied brisket cowards!!!
- King Longhorn: Shame about your barn, ma'am. It'd be terrible if anything else happened while you were staying here.
- Applejack: It's on, Longhorn!
- Applejack: Canter Creek has got to work together to save Rancho Bronco.
- Rainbow Dash: And we've come up with a plan!
- Twilight Sparkle: "We" Kemosabe? You took a nap!
- Applejack: We... We lost?
- Rainbow Dash: Wait a minute. We aren't supposed to lose. We're the heroes!
- Applejack: This isn't over. I'll save Canter Creek if it's the last thing I do.
- Twilight Sparkle: We're with you, Applejack...
- Rarity: ...Until the end.
- Pinkie Pie: Yay! The end!
- Fluttershy: I think you mean "to be continued."
- Rainbow Dash: Whatever.
- Applejack: Tumbleweed! Will you get back over here?
- Tumbleweed: No, ma'am. I have given up my life as the law to become a humble saloon piano player. I may even change my named to "Honky Tonk."
- King Longhorn: Rest up, boys. In a few days... we're moving into a house on the ranch.
- Doc Holstein: Does that mean we get beds? I've been using a cactus as a pillow for months.
- Pinkie Pie: Indeed, I bonked your empty coconuts, you gristle-filled, toffee-nosed ungulates!
- King Longhorn: What are you doing out here?
- Angus McSteer: We saw a ghost!
- King Longhorn: Idiots.
- King Longhorn: Everybody off my property... or I'm going to have to hurt the lady.
- Rarity: My hair! How dare you touch my hair! You ruffian!
- Applejack: Why, Princess, I do think I see someone destroying a historic site of Equestria!
- Twilight Sparkle: Why, Applejack, I do believe you are right!
- Applejack: Why, Princess, I do believe the destruction of such a site is cause for you usin' your fancy magic to put a stop to it!
- Twilight Sparkle: Why, Applejack, I do believe you are right again!
- Rarity: That was for my hair, you cow pie.
- Pinkie Pie: Feels like we should be riding off into the sunset, right? Are those goats still here?
- Rainbow Dash: Pinkie, don't be weird.