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The Goat


Dumb luck sets some policemen on his trail -- after a series of innovative escapes, he gets mistaken for a murderer with a price on his head, which means the people that aren't chasing him are fleeing from him.

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The Goat is a 1921 in film short comedy film written, directed by and starring comedian Buster Keaton.


Buster Keaton is walking by and peers through a barred window while captured murderer "Dead Shot Dan" is having his picture taken. Seeing that the photographer is looking away, Dan moves his head to the side and snaps a picture of Buster without anybody noticing. Thus, when Dan escapes, the wanted posters all show Buster with his hands on the bars. Buster does not notice, and moves on. At a street corner, Buster notices a horseshoe, and kicks it aside. Another man comes along, picks it up, cleans it off, and then throws it. The man then continues on, and finds a wallet that contains a large sum of money, thus displaying the horseshoe is good luck. Buster then scrambles for it, finds it, and then promptly throws it, inadvertently hitting a policeman. The policeman chases Buster, while Buster manages to anger other officers who join the chase. He then tricks the officers into the back of a truck, locks them in, and escapes. Afterwards, Buster sees a man, later revealed to be Dead Shot Dan, arguing with a woman, later revealed to be the Police Chief's daughter. Buster stands up for the woman, and after wrestling Dan to the ground, a policeman finishes the argument, then walks off. Buster walks back into the officers who had chased him earlier, and hops onto a train going to a nearby town, escaping the officers. Unfortunately for Buster, the town has heard of Dan's escape, and the wanted picture with Buster in it is everywhere. The Police Chief is on his patrol, and Dead Shot Dan appears to murder the Police Chief, and once again, Buster is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dan's murder attempt fails, but is able to once again frame Buster. Buster runs away from the persistent Police Chief, inadvertently causing mischief all over the town. Despite his desperate predicament, Buster notices a pretty young woman and wrangles an invitation to dinner, only to discover her father is the Police Chief. Once the Police Chief notices Buster, he chases Buster all over the apartment complex. Buster is able to explain his predicament to the Police Chief's daughter, and with her help, Buster manages to escape the Police Chief. Noticing a sign outside a furniture store that says "You furnish the Girl, we furnish the home!", Buster carries his date into the store.
This short contains one of Keaton's more memorable images: A distant, speeding train approaches the camera, and stops with a close-up of Keaton who has been sitting on the front of the train.


  • Buster Keaton
  • Virginia Fox - Chief's daughter
  • Joe Roberts - Police Chief
  • Malcolm St. Clair (filmmaker) - Dead Shot Dan (as Mal St. Clair)
  • Edward F. Cline - Cop by telephone pole
  • Jean C. Havez - Bit part

See also

  • List of American films of 1921
  • Buster Keaton filmography

Category:1921 films
Category:1920s comedy films
Category:Films directed by Buster Keaton
Category:American films
Category:American silent short films
Category:Black-and-white films
Category:Films directed by Malcolm St. Clair
Category:Metro Pictures films
Joseph M. Schenck

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