As the beginning credits roll we hear a familiar melody, the same melody which accompanied the beginning of the first movie. You might think this is going to be a lot like the first movie, until...we see an Arizona-like landscape backdrop, and a logo slapped on with a whiplash sound as the soft soulful music picks up into upbeat old western music. It took about a minute to set itself apart from the first movie. The music alone here tells you we're in for something a lot more cheerful and upbeat than the first An American Tail, love it or hate it. We get a voice-over narration from Fievel himself as Wylie Burp faces off with the Cactus Cat Gang, who've surrounded him with guns. Fievel peeks over the top of a building, dressed in a cowboy hat and an off-white trenchcoat, and hops down to the aid of Wylie, declaring "Have no fear, Philly the kid is here!" Wylie tells him to leave while he still can, but Fievel refuses, and pulls out a couple revolvers, going on a rampage and shooting all the cats, and looking awesome while doing it. The surviving cats scatter and run for cover, as Fievel blows away a cat-shaped plume of smoke from the barrel of his gun.
Wylie thanks Fievel and presents him with a sheriff's badge, before gasping and telling Fievel to look behind him. That's when the dream sequence is interrupted by Fievel's mother telling him his food is ready. Fievel slowly comes back to reality (which apparently stings a little), and it's revealed he's still in New York. We're shown the dirty back alleys of the city; as opposed to some of the epic shots we're given in the first movie of New York to make it look like it's a really great place, this one goes out of its way to make it look like New York is a really dirty, ugly place to live. Soon we hear Tanya's voice, singing 'Somewhere Out There'. And my my has she grown into quite the pretty young lady. However as she's singing, some humans have the sheer audacity to throw tomatoes at her and tell her to shut up. But it seems that having vegetables thrown their way because of Tanya's singing is the main food source of the Mousekewitz family these days, as Papa jokingly points out. That's when Fievel kicks the door in, still in total cowboy mode and unable to separate his fantasies from reality, explaining that the reason he was late was because he had to help Wylie Burp defeat the Cactus Cat Gang. Wow, don't you wish you were a kid again?
After Mama forces Fievel to wash his hands despite having washed them yesterday, Papa complains that his violins sold better in Russia and that he thought things would be better in America. Well excuse me Papa, want to go back to having your villages burned down by Cossacks? That guy is never happy with where he is. Fievel pokes fun at Tanya saying she should just start singing again for them to get food, and she reveals her dream of becoming a big star one day. That's when the house begins to rumble as a train passes overhead. Everyone ducks for cover and they have to relight the candle to be able to see again. The scene was likely there just to illustrate how miserable life in New York is. Papa continues his complaining about America, lamenting that he can't afford to buy presents for Fievel's birthday. But Fievel doesn't care, and Tanya offers to sing so that they'll throw presents, and they all laugh and have a cute group hug.
Next we're taken to Tiger, who seems to be having a heated discussion with his girlfriend, Miss Kitty. She explains to Tiger that she's moving out west in search of someplace where her singing talents will be appreciated; and she also tells him that Tiger is too much of a fraidy cat to satisfy her. She wants a cat who's tougher...more like a dog. She then bids him farewell and hops onto a moving carriage, leaving Tiger heartbroken.
And next...the cat attack. We see some mice in the alley yell out in warning as some cats leap menacingly into the alley and the mice run for shelter. The camera turns to Cat R. Waul, a British gentlecat in elegant clothing, who commands the other cats to chase the mice but 'no eating'. Fievel watches from his window as the scattered mice are terrorized by the cats, as does Tiger from across the alley, but he does nothing to stop it. The next scene gives us the first Tony Toponi and Bridget cameo for those interested; Tony pushes Bridget and their baby on what appears to be a roller skate to escape a cat, and they roll into a storm drain. Tiger decides he needs to do something, but as soon as he gets enough courage he sees Chula the tarantula, and faints, falling into a trash can. Fievel has seen enough, and against his parents wishes he grabs his hat and hops out the window. He turns his hat inside out and it becomes a cowboy hat, which he wears until the end of the movie. Cartoon logic? Maybe. But perhaps it's a good thing that Fievel moved because as soon as he hops out a huge cat with an eyepatch rips the Mousekewitz home apart. Mama, Tanya and Yasha are hurled to the ground and Papa still hangs onto the house for dear life. The cat turns his attention to Mama and the two Mousekewitz daughters with an evil grin, until Fievel comes to the rescue!
"I'm talking to YOU furhead!"
Fievel threatening the big cat turns out to be a big mistake, but just as the cat is about to disobey Waul's orders and make a meal out of Fievel, Papa saves the day by screeching his violin Warren-style, causing the cat to freeze and clutch his ears in pain. Fievel takes this chance to run between the cats legs and hop into a discarded tuna can, running inside it and causing it to roll on its side. The rest of the family hops in with him and after a suspenseful chase they end up hurdling down a storm drain into the sewers. We get an evil-looking shot of Waul looking down at the one-eyed cat with menacing storm clouds in the background and saying "Jolly good." Yep, that guy is the villain alright, if it wasn't already plainly obvious. Meanwhile the Mousekewitz family are floating along in the tin can in the sewers. But uh oh...a waterfall! Everyone but Fievel is terrified as it tumbles down, and soon they float down a rapidly flowing underground river. Again, only Fievel is enjoying himself; when it's over he shouts "Lets go on that ride again!" (If it sounds odd to you when he says it, I read somewhere once that they had to speed it up for some reason. Though I don't recall where I read that.) That is when they drift by a group of mice (another Tony and Bridget cameo in there if you look closely) listening to a speaker talk about how great things are out west in a poorly executed southern drawl attempted by someone with a British accent, claiming that there, cats and mice are friends. The camera pans upward to show Cat R. Waul controlling the speaker who was obviously a puppet. At one point he humorously lets it sag for a moment as he goes on about himself before coming to his senses again. The puppet then hands out train tickets to go West, and the Mousekewitz family agrees to go. Which goes to show how completely blind and gullible everyone but Fievel is for the rest of the movie.
The next morning Tiger wakes up from the garbage can he fell into, and searches for Fievel. He worries when he sees the Mousekewitz home in shambles, but soon he finds a note written by Fievel, telling him that he's moving to Green River and leaving on a train. Tiger, after having both his girlfriend and his best friend move west, decides to do the same, but runs into a bit of dog trouble along the way. Well, more than a bit. While running from one dog he eventually lands on top of a whole pack of dogs, and he falls off a building into a dog pound unleashing dogs which chase him to the train station. It's all much funnier seen than summarized. Meanwhile the Mousekewitz family boards the train, and Fievel sadly wonders where his friend Tiger is, while Tanya eyes all of the singers and actors she sees. Tiger is chased to the caboose of the train by a dog, and he barely manages to hop on as the train is leaving. But when he walks in, he finds himself eye-to-eye with...yes...another dog. He jumps off the train and is slammed into by a second one, eventually falling off a bridge and into water. As he reaches the bottom, he's barked at by a dog fish. Just his luck.
And so we see the train traveling across the American countryside. The mice on the train are so excited about heading west for their fortunes that they all get together and sing 'Way Out West'. Isn't Manifest Destiny great? We see Tiger taking the hard way west after the song, as he's pulled up in a fishnet and tossed by an annoyed human off a bridge and onto a stagecoach, and he then jumps off after meeting yet another dog, with funny little squeak toy sound effects.
That night as the Mousekwitz family sleeps on the train, that rascally Fievel wakes up and decides to have a look around...having not learned his lesson about doing things like that from the first movie. He fearlessly climbs a cable beneath the train and explores the next car, scurrying up to the ceiling boards. That's when he meets a familiar face, the guy who sold them the train tickets. As Fievel goes to greet him he realizes that it was a puppet, and he peers down below. Waul's gang members are playing cards, and Chula is cheating. The cats then ask Waul when they're finally going to be able to eat the mice. Waul scoffs at their impatience. What crude brutes. Why eat the mice all at once like a raging imbecile when you can take advantage of them first? Waul's plan is to bait the mice in, make them trust the cats, and then...build a mouse trap and turn them into mouseburgers! Ahahaha! Oh but Waul isn't against a little snack first, as he takes the mouse train conducter out of a lunch box and shoves him into a sandwich. Fievel rescues the conductor by dropping the puppet into the sandwich and knocking the mouse out, and Waul gets a mouthful of wood and splinters. This comes at a price however, because Waul tugs on the strings and Fievel falls into his paws. Waul flirts with the idea of eating Fievel, rolling him up in lettuce and splashing some dressing onto him...but decides against it
No, if he ate Fievel, the other mice would come looking for him, of course. So, he lets Fievel go...and tells Chula to give him "The Flying Ahh" instead, to make it look like Fievel accidentally fell off the train. The Mousekewitz family is awakened by the scream as Chula boots Fievel off the train. He rolls down the side of the tracks, just as the menacing desert sun rises behind him. It's gonna be a long day.
We next see a scene that presumably happens a little later where Tiger becomes separated from the carriage and is lost in the desert too, so the two friends wander separately, in a 'million acre cat box'. The train is then shown stopping at Green River, as the Mousekewitz family sadly depart from their trip, gathering Fievel's things. The things that kid puts them through. But of course they stay sad about losing Fievel for about ten seconds, after all him getting lost has become pretty routine by now. When they get off the train they see that Green River is a dusty, dried up old town that looks like it's seen better days. Soon other mice storm off the train and begin to stake claims on living quarters. We see the final cameo of Tony and Bridget as they move into a used teapot with their baby. Papa Mousekewitz decides to move near the water tower in a discarded metal barrel. It isn't all they thought it was going to be when they moved west, story of their lives pretty much. And just when they thought things couldn't get worse Chula corks up a leak in the water tower so water ceases to drip down from it. It was then that Waul stepped in, promising the mice that together they could make Green Rivers prosper, earning their trust by picking up Yasha and kissing her. His speech is so convincing that the mice end up cheering for him.
Meanwhile Fievel was still wandering in the desert, following the train tracks, and becoming delusional through dehydration. Soon he departs from the train tracks and follows a mirage he sees of his family. As he reaches them and hugs them...the mirage morphs into a group of cactus plants. Ouch! At that same time Tiger is also wandering through the desert, and he sees a mirage of Miss Kitty. However, when he goes to kiss her, he finds himself kissing an owl. Next he sees Fievel in the distance, and Fievel sees Tiger in the distance! But, both conclude that they're seeing a mirage, and they walk right past each other. Grr, this is even worse than all the times Fievel walks right past his family in the first movie. Well, maybe not all the times. Next we see Tiger continue to wander, until he's snuck up on by a bull skeleton. The skeleton fakes Tiger out a few times (even performs 'Putting on the Ritz' for a few seconds) before...it turns out to be a tribe of Native American mice and they ambush and capture him!!! And no, these are not the peaceful, politically correct Native American mice from the third movie, they're going to eat Tiger. "In Soviet Russia, mouse eat YOU!" Sorry, couldn't help it. But when the chief comes out, he realizes that Tiger, as he's hanging on a pole over a fire, bears a striking resemblance to the mountain behind him, the mice seem to change their tone...
Night has fallen by now, and we see a hawk flying overhead, zeroing in on the now very tired and thirsty Fievel. It swoops down, chasing him as Fievel squeaks in horror (actually some very mouse-like squeaks, the only time we hear Fievel make those). The hawk chases Fievel into a hole, where he thinks he's safe, until he comes face-to-face with a scorpion, which comes very close to stabbing Fievel with it's stinger a few times, once in a place where it would really really hurt to be stabbed for a male, best to leave it at that. Fievel is driven out of the hole and the hawk picks him up, flying high into the sky.
Meanwhile, the Native American mice are worshiping Tiger as a god, feeding him fruits and vegetables. Silly Native Americans, those non-Christian heathen injuns will worship anything. (I'm being very sarcastic of course! It's the writers of this movie you should be offended at.) A mouse atop the mountain sends a smoke signal that a hawk is flying overhead. These mice aren't afraid of anything, they march right up the mountain and attack, launching hot coals at it and burning it in the air, causing it to drop Fievel right into Tiger's cup of water. Fievel drinks it quickly before being drunk by Tiger himself. "Oh no, I'm in a mouth..." He grabs onto Tiger's uvula, begging him to 'say ahh', and when Tiger sticks out his tongue they are reunited. Fievel tries to convince Tiger to come to Green River but Tiger declines because he is afraid of offending the mice (who walk by with a freshly cooked bird that could only have been the hawk, if you think about it, because where would they find a chicken?) Tiger tells Fievel to catch a passing 'sage coach' (get it?) and Fievel hops into a tumbleweed, which takes him to Green River as nearby animals sing "Rawhide". Very random indeed. However, Fievel reaches Green River at dawn, and after a brief encounter with Wiley Burp ("Another tumbleweed asking me for help, not again...") Fievel is freed from the tumbleweed.
After wandering and looking around in awe, Fievel spots his family helping pull a rope for a decoration and is reunited with them. It's not exactly the heartwarming, tear-jerking reunion from the first movie, but they're happy to see each other. Fievel tries to tell them about wandering in the desert, finding out Tiger is a god, and that Waul is planning to turn the mice of Green River into mouseburgers, but Papa dismisses Fievel's rantings as the result of having been in the sun too long. "Because after all, what do kids know? Now help me build this giant mouse-trap-shaped stage and we'll forget all about it." Fievel sat down on a piece of wood in disappointment, only to have it be hoisted up as the door to Cat R. Waul's saloon. As a cat rushes through the doors, about to snap after having to be nice to the mice, Fievel lands in the cat's hat. There he overhears Waul's scheme to invite the mice to the grand opening of the saloon the next day at sunset, gather them onto a giant mousetrap, and trigger it with the cutting of the red ribbon, resulting in mouseburgers. Just as Waul complains that the singers they have for the saloon are awful, Fievel sneaks onto the stage and stabs Waul with a fork, sending him jumping through the ceiling into a human saloon situated upstairs and into the arms of his owner, who snuggles him between her gratuitously large breasts much to his disgust, before he finally falls back down into his own saloon again. Upon his return he demands that whoever attempted to assassinate him be found, and Fievel backs away onto a record player, only to have the needle nail his shirt down. Waul finds him and prepares to make a meal of him until...until he is captivated by a beautiful singing voice coming from outside. As Fievel falls into a glass bottle and is captured by Chula, Waul follows the voice outside. It turns out to be none other than Tanya Mousekewitz, singing "Dreams to Dream" as she does her chores.
Yes, her voice is beautiful, so beautiful in fact that Waul is completely seduced by it despite the difference in species. Tanya becomes so caught up in the song that she forgets her chores and dances right into Cat R. Waul's paws, still singing with her eyes closed. With getting carried away like that she was lucky she was caught by a cat who appreciated great singing, or else she might have danced instead straight into a cat's mouth! But luckily for her, Waul picked her up and brought her straight to Miss Kitty's dressing room. She didn't realize what had happened until she opened her eyes and was done singing. Waul demanded Miss Kitty make a diva out of Tanya, but Kitty doubted the audience would go for seeing a mouse on the stage. The two cats get into an argument in which Miss Kitty teases Waul by calling him 'pussy poo', the pet name his owner gives him. But in the end, Miss Kitty agrees to ready Tanya for the stage, and Waul leaves. Yes, this entire scene is what spawned the Tanya/Waul shippers. Though I have to really disagree with the pairing I have to admit it does have a certain cute 'Phantom of the Opera'-esque quality about it. It's just that Tanya would have to forgive Waul for, I don't know, trying to kill all her family and friends and turn them into mouseburgers? Not to mention the obvious...Waul is a cat. But hey, if you like it that's great, I'm just happy the movie has its fans. But, there's no conceivable way their pairing could work canonically.
So Miss Kitty approaches Tanya, who at first backs away in fear, understandably. Miss Kitty has to assure her first that she's not mean like she was acting, and she's not going to eat her. The two have a bit of a girl-talk; Tanya reveals she wants to be a famous singer, but she's never sung to an audience before and she's nervous, but Kitty attempts to pick up her spirits. Tanya replies that she's not pretty, and hides her face sadly. Miss Kitty begs to differ, and tells her to imagine herself the way she'd like to look. Tanya does, and she sees herself in the mirror wearing a lovely dress. Miss Kitty puts make-up on Tanya, revealing that she in fact misses her days in New York with Tiger. By the time she's done, Tanya is in the dress she imagined. When Tanya exclaims that she looks like a real lady, Miss Kitty reminds her that the real lady is what's behind the mask. Miss Kitty carries her in the saloon, as Chula tries to cook Fievel over a candle as he's trapped in a glass bottle. Cat R. Waul introduces Tanya on the stage to a less than thrilled audience, and Miss Kitty nudges a nervous Tanya out from behind the curtains. She stumbles over her lines at first as the cats jeer, just soon lets out a long high note that gets their attention, and breaks the glass bottle Fievel's stuck in. She begins to sing "The Girl You Left Behind."
And the cats are actually charmed by her singing voice. As she sings Chula chases Fievel up to the rafters, breaking a mirror in the process which adds a cool effect to Tanya's performance. He then chases Fievel upstairs into the human saloon where they're shot at and both fall through the floor again. Meanwhile Tanya is oblivious to the action as she sings and dances her heart out (with gratuitous upskirts too), and the cat audience participates in the song. Chula corners Fievel behind Miss Kitty's perfume bottle and is about to bite off his head, as he threatens, when Fievel sprays the perfume in his face and runs away. The song finishes up and the crowd cheers for Tanya, who is now blinded by stardom. Fievel finally makes it up to the stage to plead to his sister to leave with him, but she refuses, and instead, she signs an autograph for him and leaves backstage. Sadly, Fievel isn't going to be getting any help from her now.
Fievel wanders the streets of Green River that night sadly, when a certain old, drunk, worn out dog by the jailhouse asks him what's wrong. Fievel explains that he has a problem but no one will believe him, and that he wishes Wylie Burp were there. The dog replies that he is Wylie Burp. Fievel doesn't seem to believe him until he reads the badge, and then he pleads for help. But, Wylie Burp replies, "Let this sleepin' dog lie, son. Doggone it I'm dog tired, I'm tired of leadin' a dog's life an' fightin' like cats and dogs against cats and dogs, and young pup's doggin' my trail tryin' to become top dog... I'm goin' to the dogs in a dog-eat-dog world, son." But he stops Fievel as he walks away in disappointment, and offers to train a younger dog to take his place. But, Fievel doesn't know any dogs. He does know a god though. Next we see him return to Tiger. Tiger is against the idea at first until Fievel takes his hat off to fan himself off, and Miss Kitty's perfume scent from earlier escapes, giving Fievel the idea to entice Tiger by bringing up his 'darling baby buggy bumper boo'. He's convinced, and his training to become a dog begins.
Tiger and Wylie argue a bit at first. Wylie's first test is to have Tiger fetch a bone, however he does so while strutting his stuff, making Wylie facepalm. Wylie then tries to teach him 'The Lazy Eye'. When Tiger tries to do the lazy eye, he begins to tweek out and go into spasms. It seems Wylie's got his work cut out for him. Next Wylie tries to teach Tiger to walk, and give himself a dirt bath, both of which Tiger ends up messing up. Wylie then tries to teach Tiger to bark and growl, none of which Tiger is able to do while sounding remotely intimidating. Tiger doesn't begin to grasp the concept until he turns the barking into a kind of song, listening to the echo through a mine shaft. We then see a montage of Tiger excercising and getting himself in shape. Over time he gets better and better, until finally Wylie sizes him up, presents him with a dog collar, and they're ready to go kick some tail. Namely Waul's.
Tiger, Wylie and Fievel march into town at sunset, ready to put an end to Waul's evil scheme, as the mice are gathered in front of Waul's saloon for its grand opening. Waul gives a speech, in which his tongue slips a few times and he reveals his plans, but the mice pay it no mind. Tanya is safely watching from a balcony with Miss Kitty, spared from Waul's plan to massacre the mice because of her singing voice. After he finishes his speech, he is about to cut the red ribbon, which will set off a cheese grater behind the bleachers the mice are all sitting at and crush them, when Tiger shoots a slingshot and knocks the scissors out of Waul's hands. Waul sends his goons to 'put these dogs through obedience school', and a shoot out involving sling shots ensues. You know, because guns would be too violent. Though it's okay if Fievel daydreams about going on a shooting rampage. Miss Kitty doesn't immediately recognize Tiger at first but admires him. However Tiger's slingshot is knocked out of his hand by a short cat with a six-stringed slingshot, which he's really good with. The cats surround them, and it looks like they're going to be defeated, when Fievel tells tiger to give them the lazy eye. So Tiger and Wylie both give them the lazy eye, Tiger's way of doing it that is by spazzing out, which naturally scares the cats away.
But Waul counters by shooting a real gun at Tiger, knocking his hat off. The gun is human-sized and more like a small cannon when Waul uses it. He then commands his lackeys to trigger the mousetrap. Miss Kitty and Tanya overhear him refer to it as a mousetrap, and Tanya rushes down to the crowd, warning them by singing "Oh say can you see? You're on a mousetrap!" The mice scatter and Waul commands his men to stop lest they crush the diva. Waul then begins to fire angrily at the mice and the three heroes take cover. Wylie then launches Fievel with a loose floorboard and he lands on Waul's gun, pointing it at him. But just then Chula announces that he's holding Miss Kitty hostage, and he hangs her off the balcony by spider webs. This sends Tiger over the deep end, he becomes furious. He then starts manhandling every cat in his path, growling like a dog, and throwing each of them onto the mouse trap. He then pulls Chula down by his web and tosses him onto the trap too, catching Miss Kitty as she falls. Fievel sets the gun off and it shoots the red ribbon, which catapults the cats into a mail bag hanging from the water tower. A train comes by and takes it away, and as Waul promises revenge, his owner happens to grab him through the window and cuddle him.
The crowd cheers and celebrates. As Tanya goes to grab her papa's violin, she catches her reflection in a bucket of water. She stares at herself, before dipping her hands in and washing her make-up off. Perhaps this means she's discovered that the real lady is what's behind the mask; that she's beautiful enough all by herself. She hands Papa his violin and he begins to play some dance music on it, as Tiger and Miss Kitty share a kiss. Wylie Burp turns around and walks off into the sunset, and Fievel notices, following him. They sit together on a large rock and watch the sunset. Wylie Burp hands Fievel his sheriff badge. Fievel is unsure about taking it, since he feels he is not really a hero, but Wylie reminds him that, if it weren't for Fievel, he'd still be a washed up dog. He realizes his journey is still not over, and that "if you ride yonder, head up, eyes steady, heart open, I think one day you'll find that you're the hero you've been looking for". Fievel smiles, taking the badge (which is almost as big as he is), and turns his hat right-side out again, perhaps making the same kind of realization Tanya had made earlier. The sun goes down over the desert mountains, and it's The End.
Release Date: November 22, 1991
Directed by: Phil Nibbelink and Simon Wells
Produced by: Steven Spielberg and Robert Watts
Animated by: Amblimation