This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
"City Slickers II," subtitled "The Legend of Curly's Gold," makes the mistake of thinking we care more about the gold than about the city slickers. Like too many sequels, it has forgotten what the first film was really about. "Slickers II" is about the MacGuffin instead of the characters.
You remember MacGuffins. The term was coined by Alfred Hitchcock, to describe whatever it is that everybody in a movie seems to care deeply about. What Hitchcock understood was that it didn't matter what the MacGuffin was. It could be a spy ring, a secret formula, a treasure map - or Curly's gold. No matter what the MacGuffin is, a movie works or doesn't work on the basis of its characters and their human story.
The original "City Slickers" (1991) knew that. It told the stories of two men (Billy Crystal and Daniel Stern) who were locked in gloom, and a third (Bruno Kirby) who convinced them to go to a dude ranch where they would rediscover themselves. Crystal's wife agreed, urging him to "find your smile" again. And then, as the three men joined other urban refugees on the ranch, they fell under the spell of the grizzled old trail boss, Curly (Jack Palance, in an Oscar-winning performance).
The movie was a comedy, yes, but it was also rich in human values, and in their talks around the campfire the men confided secrets and worries that we could identify with. The movie was so special that Crystal said he didn't want to do a sequel until he had exactly the right screenplay. He should have waited longer.