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"The Legend of John Shane"


Chapter 1
A1S1 The Legend of John Shane

By CrystieCookie999

Characters

Ellie Chatsworth                Town Gossip/Narrator, age 25-60.

Ida Simpson                       Town Gossip/Narrator, younger than Ellie.


John Shane                        The Hero, 25-35. Slight John Wayne accent on occasion, faithful horse is named Sterling.

Shorty                                 John's witty sidekick, 25-35.

MaryAnn Claussen             The Heroine, orphan, inherited farm, 18-25.


Mr. Cole Black                     The Principal Villain, banker after MaryAnn's land & hand in marriage, 30-45.

Martin "Big Marty" Lewis    Hired Gun, wears long duster coat, 25-45.


Four Outlaws -- Hired by Mr. Black Ages 18-50
Sam "The Rattlesnake" Sweatt    As lowdown as a snake, but not as bright.
One-Eyed Willie                             She's tough and feisty, wears an eye-patch, close to Shorty's age.
Ivan "The Famous" Starvski         He has a slight Russian accent.
Sneaky Pete Wilcox                       He'll sneak a peek into anything illegal.


Sheriff Richard Moore                   Pragmatic and to the point, 30-50.

Reverend Cardall                           An understanding man, especially when Big Marty's gun is making a point, 40-60.

 

Act I
Scene 1
 
Outskirts of Logan, Utah, circa 1897.

Town Gossips/Narrators ELLIE CHATSWORTH and IDA SIMPSON enter from opposite sides of the stage, ELLIE entering from Stage Right, and IDA from Stage Left. Both are dressed in long dresses and shawls, with their hair pulled up pioneer style, and both are carrying a basket. ELLIE's basket is filled with some plastic eggs, covered with a cloth. IDA's basket may contain a foam rubber or wax loaf of bread -- long French style, wrapped in a cloth.

ELLIE
(Still distant from IDA on other side of stage. Shades her eyes with free hand.) Ida Simpson, is that you? Fancy meetin' you here! This is a marvelous surprise!

IDA
(Chatty and conversational.) Why, Ellie, I was just on my way to bring you a loaf of fresh-baked bread here (uncovers top layer of cloth from bread, then re-covers it) ...when I said to myself, "Say, wasn't there somethin' important goin' on tonight?" But after I thought, and thought, and thought, I still couldn't remember what it was!


ELLIE
Well, Ida, you've sure come to the right person. (A little smugly.) I always know what's goin' on here in Cache Valley. It's what I'm famous for. Ellie Chatsworth -- the woman with the inside information on everyone and every event worth mentioning. (Pauses to grin at audience.)

IDA
(Expectant.) Yes, Ellie? So what is goin' on here?


ELLIE
(Opens her mouth, then looks doubtful, bites her finger, then musters a big smile.) Uh, er, uh. Hold on. (Uncovers eggs in basket, opens one plastic egg, removes small folded piece of paper, unfolds paper, and acts as if she is reading the paper aloud.) Don't forget...(turns paper over) melodrama tonight! (To IDA.) That's it, Ida, there is a genu-ine western melodrama tonight! (Leaves paper in basket with egg.)

IDA
(Delighted.) A melodrama! Right here! Now that is the highlight of my week! No, of the month! And look at all of these people here in the audience (waves hand across expanse of audience), who have turned up just to see this amazing melodrama. It's too good to be true! I am plumb speechless. (Stops to scratch head.) Uh, Ellie?


ELLIE
Yes, Ida? What is it?

IDA

What's a melodrama?

ELLIE
Oh, Ida. Don't you remember how a melodrama works? My goodness, let me explain it. See, we have a hero, right?


IDA
All right! I love a hero! Especially if you use smokehouse-cured slices of roast beef and some extra slices of aged cheddar cheese on top. I knew there was a reason I wanted to bring you this bread. (Pats bread in basket.)

ELLIE
No, not a hero sandwich! I mean a real hero. Tall, and good-lookin', and he's out to right wrongs and catch the bad guys. He's the one everybody is gonna applaud and cheer for, and his name is John Shane!


(JOHN enters from Stage Right, waves, and stands.)

IDA
Hurray! So, we have a man named Shane.

ELLIE
Yes, and ladies (addressing AUDIENCE), ain't he a looker?


IDA
Well, he's good-lookin' all right. But since I already got me a husband, it don't matter to me if a man's rich or poor.

ELLIE
Hey, Ida. I am impressed. You sure have some strong values.

IDA
(Beams.) That's right. It don't matter to me if he's rich or poor...just as long as he has money.

ELLIE
Oh, never mind. Now we need a damsel in distress.

IDA
Why does she have to wear your dress? Won't her own dress do?

ELLIE
No, it's not a damsel in "this" dress. It's "distress," as in "a whole lot of trouble."

IDA
Oh, I see. So that's why John is here!

ELLIE
Correct. And the name of the damsel he's going to save is MaryAnn.

IDA
Uh, she's marryin' who?

ELLIE
No. That's her name. MARY-ANN!

(MARYANN also enters from Stage Right, waves at audience, blows a kiss, and smiles flirtatiously at JOHN, then stands.)

IDA
Okay. John. MaryAnn. I'm followin' you so far. (To AUDIENCE.) So everyone, when we see John or MaryAnn, we got to cheer and clap real loud! Let's practice! I say JOHN, and you all? (Wait for response, making sure it is loud.) Good! Now I say MARYANN, and what do you do? (Wait for AUDIENCE response.)

ELLIE
Yes, that's right. And then we have a villain, or in this case, we have two main villains. They are Cole Black and Big Marty Lewis. And when you see them, you boo and hiss!

(COLE and BIG MARTY enter from Stage Left, smirk or frown, and stand while AUDIENCE responds.)

IDA
(Looks at COLE and BIG MARTY, then back to AUDIENCE.) Two villains! Well, that doesn't seem fair. I think John needs some more help.

ELLIE
You're right, Ida. That's why John has a sidekick. His name is Shorty.

IDA
Well, that's all right. My name is a shorty, too. It's only three letters long, I D A, but my mother said--

ELLIE
(Exasperated.) No, no, no! That's really his name! It's just Shorty!

IDA
Oh, I understand now! So we cheer for Shorty, too?

ELLIE
Yes. How about a cheer for Shorty?

(SHORTY enters from Stage Right and stands in front of JOHN and MARYANN. JOHN taps SHORTY on the shoulder, who moves to
the side of both of them so they can be seen. Wait for AUDIENCE response.)

(SAM, WILLIE, IVAN, and PETE enter from Stage Left, pushing each other and acting unruly.)

SAM
(Elbows the others to be still, then points to ELLIE). Hey, you! How about us? You forgot our names.

WILLIE
(Sniffles loudly, then wipes her nose with her sleeve.) Yeah. What's the matter? Do ya think you're too good for the likes of us?

IDA
(Intimidated, pulls on ELLIE's sleeve.) Uh, Ellie, I think you better introduce these, uh, fine folk, too.

ELLIE
(Slightly less intimidated.) Yeah, I think I better, too. All right, folks, this here is Sam "The Rattlesnake" Sweatt.

SAM
(Waves enthusiastically to AUDIENCE.) Hi y'all. (Whips out gun but keeps it directed at a low angle toward the ground.) Now don't even think of leavin' early, see? I might wanna hold you up later. (Replaces gun in holster.)

ELLIE
Then we have this, er, vision of loveliness, One-Eyed Willie.

WILLIE
(Marches up to edge of stage, lifts her eye-patch to squint out over audience, then replaces the eye-patch to grin, with one or two teeth blacked out.) Howdy!

ELLIE
Uh, and this is Ivan "The Famous" Starvski.

(IVAN nods head slightly. Remains standing with arms folded, aloof.)

ELLIE
And here is Sneaky Pete Wilcox.

PETE
(Tips hat to ELLIE, IDA, and AUDIENCE.) That's right, but I might have a different name come next month, so don't put too much stock in this one.

ELLIE
So here are the meanest, toughest, orn'riest bunch of outlaws you'll ever lay eyes on.

SAM
(Smiling.) Aw, go on. You're embarrassin' us. No more sweet talk, now.

IDA
Hey, I think we've got the idea! (To AUDIENCE.) How about we start this melodrama, folks? (Wait for response.)

ELLIE
Yes, it's the beginning of the Tale of the Rustlers' Trace. And now it's time for our opening number.

(Song) "The Legend of John Shane"

(ALL exit while waving or smirking at AUDIENCE.)

(Lights down.)




 

Author Notes The full title of this musical melodrama is "The Legend of John Shane: Tale of the Rustlers' Trace." There are 8 songs to go with it. I am on a bit of a John Wayne kick right now, and this is the script I have had sitting around since 2006. Cache is pronounced like 'cash.' Cache County and Cache Valley are about 100 miles north of Utah's capital city, Salt Lake City. Logan is the biggest city in that county, where Utah State University is located. It is the same university my paternal grandfather went to back around 1933. This script is aimed at a general audience. Terms like 'melodrama' are explained to the very young and first-timers.


Chapter 2
A1S2 Legend of John Shane

By CrystieCookie999

Scene 2

Outskirts of Logan, Utah. JOHN and SHORTY enter, both wearing cowboy hats, white shirts, jeans, and boots. SHORTY is also wearing a buckskin jacket. JOHN is also wearing light brown leather vest and appears tired while lugging a saddle on the opposite side of his hip holster, which contains a Colt .45 or gun from the period. SHORTY is ambling along and appears distracted while reading a German dictionary/guidebook.

SHORTY
(Reciting style.) Guten morgen. (Pause.) Uh, Good morning. Guten Abend. Mmm, good evening. Guten Nacht. Good night.

(JOHN stops to take a breather and wipe his forehead with a handkerchief or the back of his hand, while SHORTY, distracted, bumps into JOHN's back.)

JOHN
(Turns around, irritated, and drops saddle.) Hey, now, Shorty, I know the purpose of a sidekick is to cover my back, but I don't think you gotta get that close to do it! What'n the world are you readin' there, anyhow?

SHORTY
Oh, sorry, John. I was just studyin' German here.

JOHN
German? What on earth do you havta know German for? You only just mastered English a little while ago.

SHORTY
Aw, it's on account of my last girlfriend. She was one of those Mormon girls.

JOHN
Mormon girls? Don't you know any girl is trouble, and if'n she's Mormon, that's a double whammy? Why, you mighta got married and missed helpin' me out here on this trip!

SHORTY
(Scratches head.) Well, I reckon you're right, John, but she sure was purty! Besides, she got me to thinkin' I oughta start doin' my gen-ee-aw-loh-jee. (Takes off hat and holds it close to his heart.) After all, I'm mighty proud to say I belong to the Vanderhoffenschmidt family tree.

JOHN
That's your last name? Vander-hoff-uh...

SHORTY
It's Van-der-hof-fen-schmidt.

JOHN
(Pauses and grimaces.) Yes, well, Pilgrim, I guess if you gotta, you gotta.

SHORTY
(Puts hat back on head.) Besides, this German dictionary here is so complete, so thorough and well-written and up-to-date, why, it's even got you in here.

JOHN
Whaddya mean, it's got me in there? You mean it says "John Shane" somewhere in that book? All right, Shorty, let me see that. (Stands closer to SHORTY to look at the page SHORTY points out.)

SHORTY
Yep. See here on page 13. Every time someone does something nice, everybody has got to say your name. See? You have to say, "Danke Shane."

JOHN
Danke Shane? Why, that doesn't say "Shane," it says "Schön." It's "Danke schön"!

SHORTY
Gee, I didn't know you knew German, too!

JOHN
(Exasperated.) No, no, no! Danke schön is what them Germans say when they want to say "thank you."

SHORTY
Say, they sure are grateful to you, John. Did you rescue their cattle for 'em sometime?

JOHN
No, I...aw, never mind. (Picks up saddle again.) You know, we need a trail song. Music makes the journey lighter. How about it, Shorty?

SHORTY
Sure, John. I'll sing back-up.

(ELLIE and IDA also come on and stay upstage to sing back-up.)

(Song) "John's Trail Song"

JOHN
Say, how much farther is it to get to the middle of this Logan town? We've been walkin' for almost a mile now.

SHORTY
(Shrugs.) Beats me. Anyway, I wasn't the one who made you lug your saddle this far.

JOHN
Well, it's like this. If we don't find a place to sleep pretty soon, I have me a built-in pillow with this saddle here. Besides, I didn't feel good about leavin' it back in the blacksmith shop where my faithful horse, Sterling, is at. It's a shame Sterling threw that shoe so late tonight the blacksmith had already shut down his forge. Plus he was completely out of spare horseshoes.

SHORTY
Yeah, and not only that, but I think we caught him as he was about to sit down to eat dinner.

JOHN
The only thing is, I didn't trust the blacksmith one hundred percent. He was givin' me some ugly looks when we knocked on his door. In fact, when we first entered Logan, I noticed quite a few people were givin' me ugly looks. (Drops the saddle again.) Take the gentleman in the first row here. (Indicates a man in audience with thumb over his shoulder.)

SHORTY
(Closes dictionary, keeps it in his hand, and steps a little closer to the audience.) Where? Aw, now I see him. Stand up there, sir, will you? (Wait for a MAN in audience to stand.) Aw, gee, John. He ain't givin' you an ugly look. That's just what he looks like all the time. (If MAN is sitting by his wife, add the following line: ) See? Even his wife agrees! She's nodding her head. (To wife in audience.) Psst! Nod your head!

JOHN
(Moves up closer to SHORTY and peers out into audience.) Oh, are ya sure? All right then. Guess you can sit back down now, Mister. (Wait for MAN to sit down.)

SHORTY
Well, we just had ourselves a bit of bad luck. That's all it is, John. First my horse wanders off while we're asleep last night, then tonight your horse gets a flat tire.

JOHN
A what?

SHORTY
Uh, sorry, wrong century.

JOHN
I'm not so sure your horse just wandered off, Shorty. Didn't you tie your horse to a tree like I did?

SHORTY
Nope. Just ground tied him.

JOHN
Well, I've been warned to look out for a few diehard cattle rustlers and horse thieves in this end of the state.

SHORTY
No foolin' now, John?

JOHN
Yep. (While talking, JOHN places one foot on top of his saddle on the ground and crosses his arms in a positive, self-confident way.) My guess is one of them will show up now, any second. (Pause.) Yes sirree. Any time now. Should be comin' around the corner now. (Pause.) Ahem. Yep. Right about...NOW.

(MARYANN enters from Stage Right, sniffling loudly and holding a lacy handkerchief to her eyes and dabbing them as if she were
crying.)

SHORTY
(Looks MARYANN up and down, but only in a friendly way, then leans over to talk to JOHN semi-confidentially while indicating MARYANN with his thumb.) Gee, John. Which one is she? A cattle rustler or a horse thief?

JOHN
(Removes foot from top of saddle to stand with both feet on the ground. Sarcastically, to SHORTY.) Ha ha ha. (Tips his hat to MARYANN.) Evenin' to you, ma'am. Isn't it a little late to be out walkin' alone?

MARYANN
(With an independent attitude.) It's not so very late. (Softens.) Besides, I always (Sniffle) take a walk when I'm worried about somethin' truly and terribly awful.

JOHN
(Shrugs.) Oh, well, in that case...

SHORTY
(Elbows JOHN.) Say, John, aren't you goin' to ask her if she needs help?

JOHN
Oh, uh. Sure, sure. Well, ma'am. It sounds like you could use a friend right now. Would you care to unburden yourself and let me know what's troublin' you?

MARYANN
No, no. I couldn't. I mean, I just met you. I don't even know your name.

SHORTY
Yes, you do. Don't you remember, in Scene 1, when we all met up?

JOHN
(Sternly.) Shorty, stick to the script. She doesn't know my name yet. (To MARYANN.) It's John. John Shane, ma'am. (Tips his hat again.)

MARYANN
Well, John-John, I--

SHORTY
(Laughs/guffaws.) No, it's not John-John. It's just plain John. As in, "I have to go to the--"

JOHN
(Glares at SHORTY, who stops short.) Shorty, I'm warnin' ya.

MARYANN
(Manages a smile.) Actually, I thought it was kind of funny. Makes you sound like my father tellin' my little brother to behave. I wish both of them were here right now. (Sighs.) But they're gone. My parents and little brother all died five months ago, of influenza. I would have caught it, too, but I was away visiting my Aunt Elizabeth in St. George. I came straight home to take over the family farm. By the way, my name is MaryAnn Claussen.

JOHN
(Kindly.) Well, Miss Claussen, that's a lot to take on at your tender age now.

SHORTY
Yeah, but what's this truly and terribly awful thing you mentioned?

JOHN
(Sternly, to SHORTY.) Shorty, that's my question. (To MARYANN.) So, Miss Claussen, what's this truly and terribly awful thing you mentioned?

MARYANN
(Walks to far right edge of stage and wipes eyes with handkerchief again.) The problem is, the mortgage payments have fallen behind, and I don't want to lose my childhood home. Besides, I...I just can't run the farm anymore by myself. Not unless I get married and have a husband who knows what he's doing, business-wise. And right now, the only way out seems to be to marry...Mr. Cole Black. (Says name with obvious disgust.)

JOHN
Mr. Cole Black? Who's he?

MARYANN
Why, I thought everyone in town knew who Mr. Black was. But I reckon, both of you aren't from Cache Valley?

SHORTY
Nope.

JOHN
(Sternly, to SHORTY.) Shorty, stop stealin' my thunder. (To MARYANN.) That is to say, nope. (Pause.) I'm from Arizona, and Shorty here was born and raised in Idaho, with a spell in Kansas City.

MARYANN
(Paces back and forth slowly while speaking.) Well, you're a long way from home, John. Mr. Black has been tryin' to court me for the past four months. It's not that he's ugly, and he has been tryin' to give me expensive presents, but I just don't feel right about marryin' him. He's the one who owns the mortgage on my parents' farm, and he says if'n I marry him he'll tear up the mortgage, and the property will be in my very own name. Nobody else has made me any marriage offers, so I don't see any other way out, especially since he has been so persistent. I can't prove he's doing anything illegal, but I get the feeling he'll stop at nothing to get me and my land. If you could only help me, I'd be mighty grateful. But I don't know how...

JOHN
(Pulls out Colt .45 six-shooter from holster and polishes the muzzle with his sleeve.) Miss Claussen, you can stop worryin' that pretty head of yours. Why, with Shorty and Slim here, this Mr. Black won't dare try to force you to marry him. We'll set up watch on the perimeter of your property, and Slim will show him we mean business.

MARYANN
Slim? (Peers behind JOHN, then SHORTY.) Who's Slim? Did you bring someone else?

JOHN
(Laughs good-naturedly, holds up his gun in front of him, muzzle facing upstage away from the audience.) Why, ma'am, Slim is what I call my gun. Slim the Triple Slick Six-shooter. (To someone in AUDIENCE.) Yeah, you just try sayin' that six times fast. I double dare you.

MARYANN
(Skeptical.) Your gun? You named your GUN? (Shrugs.) Never mind. (Paces a few steps to the right.) Now where can I have you men sleep, so my neighbors' tongues won't start wagging? (Retraces path back towards JOHN.) I know! There's an extra barn, oh, about twenty yards from the house, and it's almost empty. I can fix up a couple of bunks with pillows and blankets. You should be pretty comfortable this time of year.

JOHN
(Replaces gun in holster while MARYANN is talking. Tips hat.) Ma'am, we'd like to thank you for your hospitality. (Picks up the saddle.) And as soon as I get my horse, Sterling, back from the blacksmith, I'll be glad to run any errands you need done regardin' your property.

MARYANN
Oh, is that where your horse is? All right then.

SHORTY
Yeah, and we'll make sure Mr. Black gets the welcomin' party that's comin' to him, and I don't mean a weddin' party!

MARYANN (Beams.) All right then, boys, follow me!

(MARYANN exits Stage Right, closely followed by JOHN carrying saddle, and SHORTY.)

(Lights down.)


 

Author Notes Once again, Cache is pronounced "Cash." I figure Shorty spent time in the Kansas City which is actually located in Kansas, not the Missouri city of the same name. Utah is the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons. There are plenty of church members in Idaho, which is Shorty's home state, too.


Chapter 3
A1S3 Legend of John Shane

By CrystieCookie999

Scene 3

COLE BLACK's office. A large wooden desk sits on center stage. On the front of the desk is a silver pen set, a silver photograph frame with a picture of a house or building in it, a silver tureen-shaped lighter, a silver-handled clothes brush, a silver snuff box, and a silver cigar box. COLE sits, leaning back in a chair, with his feet on the desk. BIG MARTY stands, facing away from COLE at an angle, practicing his quick
draw with one, then two guns, then back to one gun.

COLE
(Gloatingly.) Well, Marty, it's just a matter of time before the Claussen ranch is all mine.

BIG MARTY
(Keeps practicing while talking to COLE.) Yeah, but I don't think MaryAnn's ever gonna wanna marry you of her own free will and choice.

COLE
But I've come up with a plan that I think might change her mind. At least, it will look a lot better in the newspaper when they announce our upcoming marriage.

BIG MARTY
Even if you saved her from a burning building, I don't think she's gonna go for it.

COLE
(Dismisses the comment with a wave of his hand.) Oh, well, too bad for her. It's just like the story of the Sheriff of Nottingham and Maid Marian. I'm the Sheriff -- as well as being the town's premier banker, MaryAnn is well, Marian, and you and I both know there's no Robin Hood around to get in my way. Just think, all that lovely silver ore will be mine!

BIG MARTY
Uh, what silver ore is that?

COLE
(Lowers voice.) Okay, Marty, now do you remember the big silver mining operation over in La Plata outside of Ogden? For three years they pulled three million dollars' worth of silver out of that galena ore. That is, until they closed up shop back in 1894.

BIG MARTY
What does that have to do with your plan?

COLE
Well, I happen to know that our little Miss MaryAnn's farm is sittin' on top of a silver motherlode almost as big as La Plata had! Why, I assayed it myself, with one of the commercial prospectors in my employ. That is, while MaryAnn wasn't aware of what I was doin'. (Pulls a rock sample out of a drawer and holds it up to show BIG MARTY.)

BIG MARTY
Whew! (Grins.) Guess I've moved up into playin' with the big boys now.

COLE
That's right. I'm just hoping pretty little MaryAnn hasn't discovered what a treasure she has in her own backyard. Why, as soon as word gets out, there will be all kinds of men tryin' to court her, and I've already had a hard enough time scaring them away. (Emphatically.) They're not gonna get my silver! (Replaces rock in drawer of desk. Pauses, then as an afterthought.) Or the woman I want.

BIG MARTY
Say, with all that silver, maybe they'll go and name the town after you.

COLE
(Gloats.) Yes, I've already thought of that. (In a ringmaster's tone of voice.) Come one, come all to the city of Blackville! Renowned in the West for the most silver ever found in Utah. And here folks, is the mansion of the man who made it all possible, Cole Black. Why, even George Hearst with his fortune in silver from the Comstock Lode, and John Mackay's mansion in Virginia City don't hold a candle to Mr. Black's mansion here in Blackville! And Big Marty, let me tell you what else I'm gonna do.

(Song) "Black Schemes and Silver Dreams"

BIG MARTY
(Replaces gun(s) in holster.) Yeah, and no one would dare interfere with your plans while I'm around. (Laughs evilly.)

COLE
(Admiringly.) Hey, that was pretty good, Marty. Now it's my turn. (Laughs evilly.)

BIG MARTY
Okay, now it's my turn again. (Laughs evilly, but starts choking and coughing, then beats on his chest with his fist.)

(SAM, WILLIE, IVAN, and PETE enter COLE's office from Stage Right. BIG MARTY continues coughing.)

SAM
(To BIG MARTY.) Say, that's a nasty cough you have, Big Marty.

WILLIE
(To BIG MARTY, in a semi-motherly way.) I know what would clear that up! Hot lemon tea and an extra helping of garlic, cod liver oil, and a couple of shots of Tabasco sauce!

MARTY
(Stops coughing and shudders at the mention of garlic, cod liver oil, and Tabasco sauce.) No, no, I'll be all right. (Assumes macho stance again, pulls cowboy hat down a little farther over face.)

IVAN
(Impatiently, to COLE.) Mr. Black, what are our instructions for tonight?

PETE
Yeah, we wanna get going. I wanna do some sneakin' around and live up to my name, Sneaky Pete.

COLE
(Stands.) Well, boys, it seems to me I gotta do a little bit more work to convince MaryAnn Claussen that she just can't do without a man around the house. Now even though I got Marty here to back me up in a tough spot, I'm thinkin' I need the four of you to remind MaryAnn she's gonna be utterly dependent on me financially. So I got a special job for you now.

SAM
(Swaggers up a few steps closer to COLE.) We can do the job.

WILLIE
Yeah, whatever it is. You can count on us.

COLE
All right then, I want you four to go rustle some cattle.

PETE
(To IVAN.) Sounds good! I was in the mood for steak or hamburgers tonight! (To COLE.) Hey, boss, are we gonna have a bar-bee-cue? (Rubs hands together.) I just love a good bar-bee-cue!

COLE
No, no! I don't want you to eat them. I just want you to run the cows off MaryAnn Claussen's farm, and make a lot of noise when you do it so you'll make her nervous. She'll come runnin' to me, and then I'll ride in with Big Marty here, and we'll round you four up along with the cattle. I'll pretend to be taking you to jail, but you can "escape" on the way back and head on over to the hotel for a good night's sleep.

IVAN
(Disdainfully.) I do not permit myself to be "rounded up" like a prize bull.

COLE
(Won't take any lip.) Who in blazes do you think pays your wages?

IVAN
(Taken aback.) Well, you do, Mr. Black.

COLE
(Gets in IVAN's face.) All right then, when I say, "Rustle cattle," that's what you're gonna do.

IVAN
(Sighs.) Yes, sir.

SAM
Okay, boys, let's head on out. (Starts to exit Stage Right.)

PETE
(As all four outlaws leave Stage Right. Eagerly.) I shore like cattle rustlin'! It's a whole heap easier than cow-tippin' -- any day!

COLE
(To BIG MARTY.) All right, Marty, I guess we better go get our horses saddled up and ready so we can respond to MaryAnn's, shall we say, "predicament" tonight?

BIG MARTY
Right
 behind ya.

(COLE and BIG MARTY exit Stage Right.)

(Lights down.)

Author Notes Ogden is a city located about 60 miles north of Salt Lake City, Utah's capital. It was where the Osmonds grew up.
George Hearst and John Mackay were famous millionaires of the 19th Century.


Chapter 4
A1S4 Legend of John Shane

By CrystieCookie999

Scene 4

JOHN and SHORTY are bedding down for the night in MARYANN's barn, with one or two bales or some scattered hay for the night. The two enter Stage Right and bring in one or two blankets each and spread them out on the ground over the hay, remove their hats and lay them aside on one bale of hay, and JOHN drops his saddle to the side of the stage. Intermittent faint to medium-loud mooing of cows can be heard as if coming from outside.

SHORTY
(Rubbing or scratching stomach.) Mm, mmm! That dinner Miss MaryAnn fixed us sure hit the spot! She may claim she can't run a whole farm by herself, but she sure knows how to cook!

JOHN
(Pauses to smile.) Yep, I don't know when I had apple pie like hers. (Back to business.) Well, let's get to bed. We gotta be ready to take on this Mr. Cole Black tomorrow, first thing. There's got to be a way for MaryAnn to get caught up on her payments, so maybe if I sleep on it, something will come to me.

SHORTY
(Yawns and stretches.) Yeah, well, at least we have a quiet night to look forward to. I'm lookin' forward to a good night's sleep. (Pulls off his boots, then reclines three quarters of the way on his blanket.) Say, aren't you gonna get some shut-eye?

JOHN
Uh, sure, sure. Hmm. (Pauses, walks to Stage Right, and peers offstage.)

SHORTY
What is it? Do ya see somethin'? (Yawns.)

JOHN
(In a low voice to SHORTY.) Hmm. I think I'll just take one more pass around the barn, and make sure everything is settled in for the night. I'll be right back. (Exits Stage Right.)

SHORTY
All right. (Turns to his side and pulls the corner of the blanket over his legs. Calls to offstage Right.) Good night, John boy.
(Lights dim over SHORTY.)

(SAM, WILLIE, IVAN, and PETE sneak on from Stage Left. All have cowboy hats on and colored bandit kerchiefs hiding their faces.)

SAM
(Pulls kerchief down a little so he can be heard. Speaks in a low voice.) All right, let's wait a few minutes until those hired hands and the girl we heard talkin' a while ago are sleepin', then let's move on out. You know what to do? (Replaces kerchief.)

(WILLIE, IVAN, and PETE nod silently. All four sneak across front of stage to exit Stage Right. At one point near center front stage SAM stops suddenly, and WILLIE and IVAN also stop, but PETE bumps into IVAN, who turns around and scowls as PETE sheepishly shrugs. IVAN pulls PETE's cowboy hat off and takes a swipe at PETE's head, then drops hat on the ground.)

IVAN
(In low voice.) Pete! You have the brain of an idiot!

PETE
(Sincerely.) Aw, gee, Ivan, I'm sorry. Do you want it back?

IVAN
(Dismisses PETE with a wave of one hand.) Aw.

SAM
(Lowers kerchief again.) Shhh! All right, then, let's go back and get our horses. (Replaces kerchief.)

(PETE picks up the hat and puts it back on his head, looking behind him to see if they are being followed, as all four exit Stage Right.)

SHORTY
(Sits up just as the four disappear offstage and looks after them. To AUDIENCE.) Hey, did I just hear somethin'? (Scratches head.) I coulda sworn I heard and smelled four ugly skunks passin' through. (Shrugs, and lies down again.)

(Sound of crickets chirping for a few seconds, then the sound of a gate squeaking open, then closing. A few more seconds of crickets chirping. Then the sound of four horse hoofbeats and wild cowboy calls comes from offstage, followed by a frenzy of mooing and cattle hoofbeats.)

SHORTY
(Shakes and wakes up, trying to get out from the tangle of blanket and hurriedly puts on his boots and his hat.) Oh, my goodness! Somebody's after the cows! It's cattle rustlers! John's gonna need some help! (Stumbles off Stage Right.)

(Sound of lariat circling in air offstage.)

JOHN
(Offstage.) Stand still! I've got you now!

WILLIE
(Offstage.) Hey! Let me out of here! Let go! Hey, where are you cowards goin'? Come back!

(Sound of a couple of "yee-haws" from PETE and SAM and retreating horse hoofbeats.)

JOHN
(Enters Stage Right, pulling WILLIE behind him with both hands. WILLIE is firmly tied with a lariat rope around her middle with arms secured either just above the elbows or just below them, and struggling in the opposite direction like a wildcat.) Now we can make this easy (grunts and pulls), or we can make this rough (grunts and pulls). But you're not gettin' your hands (grunts and pulls) on MaryAnn Claussen's cattle, and I'm gonna take you in to the sheriff, soon as I (grunts and pulls) get my hat. (Reaches out with one hand, grabs hat off hay bale, and puts it on.)

(SHORTY, joined by MARYANN, who is dressed in a long Victorian-style nightgown and robe, rush on from Stage Right, out of breath.)

MARYANN
Why, John! I can't believe you caught a cattle rustler red-handed!

WILLIE
(Indignant and distraught.) He didn't catch me! My gang turned yeller and left me!

SHORTY
(Wags finger at her in a scolding manner.) Now, little lady, don't go blamin' other people for your trouble!

MARYANN
(Scornful.) Yes, you ought to take responsibility for your actions.

WILLIE
Oh, yeah? Well, I'm One-Eyed Willie, the curse of the West, and the only reason you haven't had me fightin' back is cuz I'm all trussed up here! (Struggles in lariat again.)

JOHN
Ah, settle down. You ain't sufferin' more than any other heifer I've roped.

WILLIE
(Twice as indignant as before.) Heifer? You're callin' me a heifer? Now don't make me get ugly!

MARYANN
(Disdainfully, as she looks WILLIE up and down.) Well, it's too late now.

JOHN
(To WILLIE.) Aw, simmer down. I'm gonna leave you in the hands of Shorty here, until I can get a couple of horses saddled up to haul you into town. (To MARYANN and SHORTY.) It's gonna take me a little while to finish roundin' up those loose cows and get a horse saddled up. I think this Willie's horse couldn't have got too far away. So I'll be back as soon as I can, if I can make my way in the dark here.

MARYANN
Oh, Mr. Shane, I mean, John. You're a lifesaver! How can I ever thank you? You and Shorty here are an answer to prayer!

SHORTY
(Tips hat.) Shucks, ma'am, it's just part of the job.

JOHN
It's our pleasure, MaryAnn. All right, Shorty. (Hands his end of the lariat over to SHORTY.) You keep an eye on One-Eyed Willie here until I get back. And if she gives you any trouble, I reckon MaryAnn here will be glad to loan you a cattle brandin' iron that you can use on her hindquarters.

WILLIE
(Shrieks, stops struggling, then hurriedly sits down.) You ain't brandin' me!

JOHN
Oh, that's better. (To MARYANN). Say, I'm gonna need another rope and whatever saddles you can let me use.

MARYANN
Of course, I'll come with you to get them. And thank you ever so much! (Flirtatiously.) You know, I could get used to havin' you around, John.

JOHN
(Flirtatious, but respectful.) Well, MaryAnn, I know I could get used to bein' around you. (Tips hat.) Well, shall we be off? (Offers MARYANN his arm, which she accepts.)

(JOHN and MARYANN exit Stage Right.)

SHORTY
(To WILLIE.) Humph! Now I gotta babysit the likes of you instead of sleepin' tonight. Or I coulda been readin' The Post, but I gotta keep my eye on you so you don't get away.

WILLIE
The post? You read a wooden post? Now that's just plain silly.

SHORTY
It ain't a wooden post, duh. It's The Logan Post. It's for German, Swiss, and Austrian residents here in Logan. I love to read, and I'm learnin' German, if it's anything to ya.

WILLIE
(Insecure.) Well, I don't know how to read. But even if I did know how to read, I wouldn't read somethin' you use in the outhouse. Ugh! I still can't believe I got caught when the boys left me behind. You can bet I'm gonna complain to the boss about this.

SHORTY
(Suddenly alert.) And who is your boss?

WILLIE
Oh, no! You think you're gonna find out who put us up to this, do you? Well, sometimes a woman knows how to keep secrets! So there!

SHORTY
Oh, yeah? Well, I'll tell you a secret if you'll tell me a secret.

WILLIE
No way! Never! There ain't no chance of that. You ain't got a cricket's chance in a flock of Mormon seagulls of makin' any deals with me! (Pauses.) Uh, what kind of secret?

SHORTY
Well, how about this. I'll tell you my real name, if you tell me yours.

WILLIE
Well, I guess that's safe enough. So what's your real name, Shorty?

SHORTY
Hey, only my friends get to call me Shorty. My enemies have to call me by my full name.

WILLIE
(Matter-of-fact.) Oh. Well, then, since I'm your enemy, what's your full name?

SHORTY
(Stands a little taller.) It's Bartholomew Vanderhoffenschmidt.

WILLIE
(Impressed.) Really? That's such an, uh, important-sounding name. Like a German prince or somethin'.

SHORTY
Yeah, my ma thought so, too. All right then. It's your turn. Is your real name Willie, or is it something else? Like Wilma or Wilhelmina, maybe?

WILLIE
Nope. Neither one of those. My mama named me after the Willamette (wil-LAM-et) River in Oregon Territory. My real name is Willametta.

SHORTY
Say, it seems like your ma and my ma both liked long first names.

WILLIE
Yep. (Sigh.) Well, I guess I should be glad I didn't get arrested for stealin' horses, just cattle tonight. At least this way I'm just gonna end up spendin' time in jail, instead of bein' hung.

SHORTY
You've gone and stolen horses before?

WILLIE
No! I ain't admittin' to horse thievin'. Course, I mighta borrowed one or two, but only in the case of dire need, mind you!

SHORTY
I see, so ya do have some principles. Haven't you ever thought of goin' straight? Settlin' down and raisin' a family?

WILLIE
A family? Who'd want to have a family with the likes of me?

SHORTY
(A little self-conscious.) Well, I mean, that is, ya know, you don't have that bad of figure even if you do dress and talk like an outlaw.

WILLIE
(Taken aback.) I do? Funny, nobody's ever said anything nice about my figure before. Most of the time I ignore it, and I just do my best to look like one of the boys.

SHORTY
All I'm sayin' is, you don't have to live the life ya do. You got other prospects.

WILLIE
Oh, and I suppose you'd come courtin' after me if I was livin' straight?

SHORTY
(Shrugs.) It's not so crazy, is it?

WILLIE
Huh! I don't believe you. 'Sides, you aren't supposed to go makin' friends with the likes of me. You just stop talkin' now, and don't give me a reason to look at yer handsome face anymore. (Turns face toward Stage Right.)

SHORTY
(Taken by surprise.) Handsome? (Grins, then it's back to business.) All right, have it your way. (Turns his face to Stage Left.)

(Both freeze. Lights down.)

Author Notes Just a repeat, the full name of this script is: The Legend of John Shane-Tale of the Rustlers' Trace. Also, a reminder that One-Eyed Willie is a FEMALE.
"yeller"=yellow, or cowardly
"You ain't got a cricket's chance in a flock of Mormon seagulls of makin' any deals with me!"--This refers to an event in 1848, documented by several eye-witnesses, about hordes of ugly grasshoppers/crickets being eaten by California seagulls arriving just in time to save some of the Mormons' crops in the Salt Lake Valley, after the Mormon pioneers prayed for assistance. Which goes to prove not only the power of prayer, but also that Mormon crops taste amazing, and California seagulls sometimes get inspired as to where to go to find a good cricket buffet.


Chapter 5
A1S5 Legend of John Shane

By CrystieCookie999

Scene 5

The perimeter of the Claussen farm. JOHN and MARYANN enter from Stage Left.

JOHN
(Has a new lariat rope looped over his shoulder and is carrying a lantern.) Well, MaryAnn. Guess I'll be on my way into town with that outlaw now. It's pretty late, but I figure the sheriff will be glad to find someone who's been behind cattle rustling in the area.

MARYANN
Oh, John, you got all my cows back, even in the dark. Thank you so very much!

JOHN
Aw, this lantern helped. (Holds up lantern.) Besides, I think your cows are pretty attached to ya, MaryAnn. They didn't wander too far. And I can understand why.

MARYANN
Oh, John.

(Song) "Love Happens When It Wants To"

(Unbeknownst to them, COLE and BIG MARTY sneak in from Stage Right, to eavesdrop.)

MARYANN
(Pleased.) Why, John. (Back to business.) Well, you can use my father's horse until you get your own back.

JOHN
Yes'm. Oh, that reminds me. I gotta go pick up my Sterling in the morning. I don't think the blacksmith is gonna want to be a caretaker much longer, and you know a stall isn't going to hold a thousand pounds of fine mettle forever. Sterling's gotta be moved soon!

MARYANN
Yeah, you're right on that count. You can bring your Sterling back here. Hey, your hat got all dusty from chasin' after the cows in the past hour. Let me dust it off for you. (Removes JOHN's hat and uses a plain handkerchief or small clothes brush she removes from a pocket to dust it off while JOHN looks on admiringly. She continues to dust it and replaces it on his head close to the time that COLE and BIG MARTY finish with the following dialogue.)

COLE
(To BIG MARTY). Did you hear that? That John fellow said somethin' about sterling silver and a thousand pounds of fine metal. How in Sam Hill did they find out about the silver on MaryAnn's land? Sounds like they've already started mining it, and refining it!

BIG MARTY
Well, boss, I guess you'll just have to move in on her that much faster. Play your hand a little quicker, that's what you gotta do. (Pulls out gun.) Unless, of course, you want me to shoot him now.

COLE
No, not now; it would only turn MaryAnn one hundred percent against me. It would be better to wait and come up with a different way to handle this John fellow. Anyways, he doesn't know who's he dealin' with! Time's a'wastin' -- and I don't know where those other idiots are, but now I see why MaryAnn didn't come runnin' to me. I don't know who he captured, either, but I guess we'll find out soon enough. We sure can't take the chance of being seen, so let's get back to town.

(COLE and BIG MARTY sneak back off Stage Right.)

JOHN
Why, thank you, MaryAnn. There's nothin' like havin' a clean hat.

MARYANN
No, I'm the one who should be thankin' you! (Impulsively gives JOHN a quick kiss, which he responds positively to, so the kiss lengthens in a warm embrace.)

(Lights down.)


 

Entr'Act


(ELLIE and IDA return, this time entering from opposite sides of the stage, i.e. IDA enters from Stage Right, and ELLIE enters from Stage Left. IDA is carrying a bouquet of flowers, and ELLIE is carrying a quilt under her arm, if desired.)

ELLIE
Why, Ida! You're looking wonderful! You haven't aged a bit since Act I!

IDA
Thank you, Ellie! It's because I spend so much time outdoors in the fresh air. (Holds up bouquet.) I even picked these just a few minutes ago.

ELLIE
Well, does your husband mind you stayin' outside so often?

IDA
Of course not. Why, every time we have a fight, I just tell him, "All right then, I'm going out!"

ELLIE
Wait a minute. You mean to say, come rain, lightning, snow, or sleet, you are the one who goes outside when you have a fight?

IDA
(Grins.) Yeah, that's right.

ELLIE
Hold on here. Why don't you tell him he needs to go out?

IDA
Aw, gee. I never thought of that!

ELLIE
Oh, my goodness.

IDA
Hey, Ellie, I heard a good joke the other day. It's a cowboy joke.

ELLIE
Really? I like a good cowboy joke. Go on and tell it, then.

IDA
Yeah. So anyway, why did the cowboy buy a dachshund for a pet?

ELLIE
A dachshund? Gosh, Ida, I don't know. That seems pretty strange to me.

IDA
Well, he did it on account of his boss telling him he needed to "get along, little dogie." Get it? A long little dogie!

ELLIE
(Laughs or groans.) Oh, Ida. Did your brother tell you that joke?

IDA
Well, yeah. You know, my brother said something pretty memorable about you the other day.

ELLIE
He did? What was it?

IDA
Oh, he said you would make a good fisherman.

ELLIE
Huh? Why would he say I would make a good fisherman?

IDA
Well, actually, he said you'd make a good fisherman 'cuz when you're talkin' about your husband, you're always complainin' about the one you caught, but you also keep braggin' about the ones that got away!

ELLIE
(A little miffed.) Oh, really? (Back to old self.) Well, Ida, are you thinking what I'm thinking?

IDA
Uh, now what are the chances of that?

ELLIE
(Sighs.) Never mind. I'm thinking that it's just about time for Act 2.

IDA
Sounds good to me! And I'd better get my flowers away from the lady in the first row here! I think she must have allergies -- she's been snifflin' and wipin' her eyes ever since I came out here with them.

ELLIE
Oh, Ida, she's doin' that just because your jokes were just so painful!

IDA
(Cheerful.) Oh, that's all right then. (Pauses.) Huh?

ELLIE
Come on, Ida. All right, folks, we're ready to start Act 2!

(IDA and ELLIE exit Stage Left.)


 

Author Notes Full title of this musical melodrama is: The Legend of John Shane: Tale of the Rustlers' Trace.
"dogie" - slang for cattle, sounds somewhat like 'doggie' or 'doggy,' hence the dog humor.


Chapter 6
A2S1 Legend of John Shane

By CrystieCookie999

Review of Characters for Act 2:
Ellie Chatsworth Town Gossip/Narrator
Ida Simpson Town Gossip/Narrator
John Shane The Hero
Shorty John's sidekick
MaryAnn Claussen The Heroine
Mr. Cole Black The Villain
Martin "Big Marty" Lewis (Hired Gun on Outlaw Side)
Sam "The Rattlesnake" Sweatt (Outlaw)
One-Eyed Willie (Female outlaw)
Ivan "The Famous" Starvski (Outlaw)
Sneaky Pete Wilcox (Outlaw)
Sheriff Richard Moore
Reverend Cardall

Scene 1

Inside COLE BLACK's office. SAM, IVAN, and PETE are standing uneasily, shifting their weight. PETE takes off his hat and scratches his head, then puts it back on. COLE and BIG MARTY enter hurriedly. COLE sits down at his desk, lays a ring of keys on top, and starts opening drawers as if searching for something, then pulls out three pieces of paper, two of which say MINING CLAIM TITLE and MORTGAGE at the top. He takes the pen from his desk set and starts writing a letter on the third paper.

SAM
(Takes his hat off and hesitantly approaches COLE.) Uh, boss?

COLE
(Irritated.) Yes, what is it?

SAM
We, uh, ran MaryAnn's cows off like you asked. Every last one of them!

COLE
Oh, you can do somethin' right then. (Looks up.) Say, where's Willie?

SAM
(Looks at IVAN and PETE as if for reinforcement.) Uh, she got taken prisoner by the big man who's stayin' at the Claussen farm. He roped her just like a stray cow!

PETE
(Laughs, ending in a snort.) Huh, that was funny, Sam.

COLE
So, he got Willie? And you three just left her? Well, congratulations. You have just won the world record in stupidity.

PETE
(Claps IVAN on the shoulder.) All right! I knew we could do it!

IVAN
(Removes PETE's hand from his shoulder as if it were covered in mud.) Don't touch me.

COLE
(Stands, shakes finger at ALL.) Don't you know what's at stake? What if Willie talks?

BIG MARTY
(Trying to calm COLE.) Now, Mr. Black, I'm the only one who's in on your plan, remember?

SAM
Yeah, Boss. We just tried to do what you said.

IVAN
Yes, and anyway, Willie would not betray you.

PETE
Yeah! You can trust her more than all of us here put together, including yourself! (Pauses.) Wait, that didn't sound right. (To BIG MARTY.) Say, what is at stake anyway? (To COLE.) What does Big Marty know that we don't?

BIG MARTY
(Rolls his eyes.) Believe me, that could take all day.

IVAN
(His turn to be indignant.) Humph! Who do you think you are, a big smarty?

BIG MARTY
(Calm and quietly ominous.) Nope. Just Big Marty. And don't you forget it.

COLE
(Sigh of exasperation.) Oh, never mind. I've got work to do. I want you -- Sam, Ivan, and Pete -- to hightail it back over to MaryAnn's ranch and rescue Willie. Then all of you lie low. Take a few hours off tomorrow morning.

PETE
(Delighted.) Oh, boy! We get time off for good behavior!

COLE
(To BIG MARTY.) Big Marty, I may need your, shall we say, "talents" if something goes wrong tomorrow. First thing in the morning I'm on my way over to file some papers, but if anyone gets wind of you-know-what, you have my permission to take matters into your own hands. Feel free to take an hour or two off for yourself, but I'd appreciate it if you would stick close to my office to help me wrap up my plans tomorrow.

BIG MARTY
It's all right by me. But I'm gonna turn in for the night over at the hotel. (To SAM, IVAN, and PETE.) Any of you need me to help you cross the street? No? I'm on my way out, then. (Exits Stage Right.)

(SAM, IVAN, and PETE also exit Stage Right.)

(COLE sits back down at his desk, opens his silver cigar box, and takes out a cigar but only twirls it in his fingers as if he is mulling something over in his mind, then freezes. Lights down.)


 

Author Notes It's so hard to get good hired help. Or literate help. Or just plain help.
Full name again is: The Legend of John Shane: Tale of the Rustlers' Trace


Chapter 7
A2S2,3 Legend of John Shane

By CrystieCookie999


Scene 2

SHERIFF RICHARD MOORE's office. Three or four jail cells are painted with a perspectivedisappearing offstage. SHERIFF MOORE is seated at his desk, reading a history book.

JOHN
(Offstage.) Sheriff! Hey, Sheriff! (Enters slightly out of breath.)

SHERIFF
(Stands to greet JOHN). Yes, I'm Sheriff Moore. What's your hurry? I was just catching up on some reading.

JOHN
(Catches his breath.) Well, I got a female cattle rustler outside, draped over my horse.

SHERIFF
Alive or dead?

JOHN
Alive, of course. I'm just here to see justice done. Caught her in a band of rustlers while they were tryin' to steal MaryAnn Claussen's cattle. I don't have any proof of who the rustlers were workin' for, but MaryAnn said she was worried about someone's motives here in town.

SHERIFF
Well, now, that's mighty interestin'. Who is the person you suspect?

JOHN
To be honest, it's the banker, Cole Black.

SHERIFF
Hmm. But you don't have any proof.

JOHN
(Subdued.) No, but I don't know what kind of proof you need. I have an idea that Black is after MaryAnn's land for some reason he's not sayin'.

SHERIFF
Hmm. Cole Black is not always scrupulous, but he doesn't ever do enough to be considered a law-breaker. I guess I would need some kind of documentation or evidence to show that he has been involved in something he shouldn't.

JOHN
Figures. Well, I'll just come back when I get proof. In the meantime, come out and get your future prisoner.

SHERIFF
Sure thing. We'll see if she matches up to any of the wanted posters I have around here, but since she was caught in the act you can bet she's still gonna be under lock and key for a while.

(JOHN and SHERIFF MOORE exit Stage Right, Lights down.)



 
Scene 3

Back at the Claussen Farm, in the barn where SHORTY is sleeping and snoring. SAM, IVAN, and PETE sneak in from Stage
Right and circle round SHORTY. SHORTY continues to snore.

SAM
(Draws his gun, points it at SHORTY.) Bang, bang, you're dead.

SHORTY
(Snores louder. Might mumble something unintelligible in his sleep.)

SAM
(Looks at IVAN and PETE, shrugs, then points gun upward and fires. Sound of gunshot ricocheting off two or more surfaces can be heard as SAM, IVAN, and PETE duck.)

SHORTY
(Sits straight up immediately.) What was that? (Sees SAM, IVAN, and PETE.) Uh oh. (Raises hands.)

IVAN
(Pulls his gun out as well.) You'd better say, "Uh oh." All right, we want to know where Willie is. We're here to rescue her.

SHORTY
Aw, she's not here. John probably turned her in to the Sheriff by now.

SAM
Sheriff Moore? What did this John do that for? Doesn't he know who we are?

SHORTY
(Indignant.) Well, what gives you the right to take an outlaw out of custody? Don't you know who I am? (Drops one hand to point a wagging finger.)

SAM
Nope.

IVAN
No.

PETE
Sorry.

SHORTY
(Stands up to talk directly to the other three, leaves hands down for the duration.) My name is Shorty. But only my friends get to call me that. My enemies have to call me by my FULL name.

IVAN
And what is that?

SHORTY
(Proudly.) Bartholomew Vanderhoffenschmidt.

SAM (Laughs.)
IVAN (Chuckles.)
PETE (Guffaws.)

SHORTY
What? What's so funny?

SAM
Who in the world would name their son Bartholomew Vander-not-too-swift?

SHORTY
Hey!

SAM
Oh, wait. Maybe I heard wrong? Did you say Bartholomew Vander-lots-of-spit?

SHORTY
Now, just a minute.

PETE
Wait. I've got one! I've got one! Maybe the other kids used to call you Vander-chicken-lips? Am I right?

SHORTY
Uh, actually...

SAM
No, I bet they used to call him Vander-wooden-chip, and his father was so proud because he actually thought they were calling him a chip off the old block!

SHORTY
Hey, you leave my father out of this!

IVAN
How about Vander-huff-and-puff? Are you gonna huff and buff and blow my house down? You know, like the story of Peter and the Wolf and the Three Little Pigs in Russia?

SHORTY
That's NOT my name, and that's not the right title!

SAM
Vander-pants-were-split!

PETE
Vander-hop-and-skip! (Hops and skips to illustrate.)

SHORTY
All right, you've had your fun. And anyway, you're just common outlaws. I've seen your kind before. You've got nothin' to be proud of.

PETE
Huh? Just common outlaws? Hey, Sam, I don't think he knows who he's dealin' with. Why don't we tell him who we are?

(Song) "Braggin' Rights"

IVAN
So where are you keeping Willie, and what is your real name?

SHORTY
(Loses temper.) For the last time! Willie is not here, and my real name is Bartholomew Vanderhoffenschmidt, but if you can't remember to call me that, then it's Mister Shorty to you!

SAM
(Sighs.) All right, boys, guess MISTER Shorty here is telling the truth. It means we'll have to go bust Willie out of jail tomorrow, but let's head back to town and send word to the boss we were too late to get her here.

SHORTY
Ah ha! And your boss is...?

PETE
Aw, even I'm not stupid enough to fall for that one.

(SAM, IVAN, and PETE exit Stage Right, keeping their guns trained on SHORTY until they are gone. A few seconds later...)

MARYANN
(Offstage.) Shorty? Shorty, are you there? Are you awake? (Enters from Stage Right, still dressed in long nightgown and robe.) I thought I heard a gunshot, and I came to investigate. Are you all right? Oh, there you are.

SHORTY
Yeah, it was a gunshot you heard. Those cattle rustlers came back lookin' for Willie, the one John took prisoner.

MARYANN
Why, Shorty, you might have been killed!

SHORTY
Oh, they were just playin' games with me. I think they're on the chicken side.

MARYANN I wonder if they were gettin' paid by Cole.

SHORTY
Could be. They were about to say the name of their boss, but they held off. They also mentioned something about gettin' Willie out of jail tomorrow, but they didn't say when.

(JOHN enters Stage Right and takes off his hat to approach MARYANN and SHORTY.)

JOHN
Well, I didn't expect you two would still be awake.

MARYANN
(Lays a hand on JOHN's shoulder.) Oh, John, I'm so pleased you're here. Those cattle rustlers came back!

JOHN (Alarmed.)
They did?

MARYANN
Yes, but Shorty here held them off.

SHORTY
(Proudly.) Yep, I sure did. Uh, well, to tell the truth, they left of their own accord. But I found out they're going to try to bust Willie--that is, the other rustler--out of jail tomorrow!

JOHN
Hmm, one of us should warn Sheriff Moore first thing in the morning.

MARYANN
But we still can't prove those rustlers were hired by Cole.

JOHN
(Takes off hat, scratches head.) Aw, I don't know how we are ever going to get any proof against Cole Black that he's puttin' MaryAnn here under duress to marry him.

MARYANN
(Sighs.) It looks hopeless. (Pauses.) Unless? (Snaps fingers.) I know, there's gotta be a reason why Cole wants to marry me. Even though he says I can have the land in my name, what if there's somethin' about it he knows about and I don't? Or maybe it's just somethin' about me or my family. We need to search his bank office and see what he's up to.

SHORTY How are we gonna do that? I assume his banker's office is locked, bein' as how it's inside a bank.

MARYANN
Well, I know which pocket Cole keeps his keys in, and tomorrow Cole is supposed to be takin' me to lunch at a restaurant in town. What if you, Shorty, sneak in behind us, stay hidden in a corner table, and I find a way to get Cole's keys away from him, then pass them along to you? That way you can sneak out, go with John to open the bankin' office, rummage through everything, and see what you can find? Then bring the keys back to me before Cole even notices they're gone, with any luck. What do ya think?

SHORTY Sounds like more work for me. (Sigh.) But I'm willin' to help ya.

JOHN
I'll ride over to warn the sheriff first thing tomorrow, then I'll head over to the blacksmith's to pick up my horse long before you two head out for lunch.

MARYANN
Good! So we have a plan. So everything is set. Good night, John and Shorty, and thanks for bein' so brave in the face of danger.

SHORTY
Shucks, ma'am, it's part of the job.

JOHN
(Mildly irritated.) Shorty, am I ever gonna get the first word in?

SHORTY
Sure. You can talk all you want right now. I'm goin' to sleep. (Immediately lies down and covers himself with blanket.)

JOHN
Well, I might as well take advantage of this opportunity to thank you most kindly, MaryAnn. We don't often get a true opportunity to help such a beautiful and gracious person like you are. You are surely makin' your parents proud, the way you've handled yourself and your inheritance.

MARYANN
Oh, John, thank you so much. I...I do miss my family, and your bein' here has certainly gone a long way to easin' my loneliness.

JOHN
Well, MaryAnn, if this all works out, I'd like to keep you from bein' lonely ever again.

MARYANN
Oh, John.

(JOHN and MARYANN hold hands between them.)

MARYANN
(Reluctantly.) Well, I better be gettin' back to the house. We have a busy day tomorrow. (Starts moving toward Stage Right.)

JOHN
Good night, MaryAnn.

MARYANN
Good night, John.

(Lights down.)

Author Notes There are 2 scenes here in contrast to a customary single scene because scene 2 of Act 2 was pretty short. This is a musical melodrama, but I have no recorded version of any of the songs yet. Again, the full name of this script is The Legend of John Shane: Tale of the Rustlers' Trace.


Chapter 8
Legend of John Shane A2S4,5

By CrystieCookie999

Scene 4

Town Café. Two or three small tables with chairs, red-checkered tablecloths covering each. MARYANN and COLE are sitting at one table. SHORTY is at another table, hidden behind a large menu. COLE and MARYANN already have their food and have started eating.

MARYANN
Cole, you know, I had an awful fright last night.

COLE
Is that right? What are you talking about?

MARYANN
Some cattle rustlers ran off my cows!

COLE
(Feigns surprise.) What? Why didn't you tell me sooner?

MARYANN
I didn't want to bother you. Besides, a neighbor helped me round them all up again.

COLE
(Pretending to be shocked.) Why, my poor little MaryAnn! You might have been hurt!

MARYANN
Yes, but luckily they left pretty fast. My neighbor caught one of them, though.

COLE
He did? So did you get anything out of her—or him, I mean?

MARYANN
(Gives him a sharp look, then softens.) I think the rustler is over at the sheriff's office, if you want to go see who was traipsin' around the farm last night. In fact, we could go together, if you want. I'd like to give that rustler a piece of my mind!

COLE
All right, dear, let's finish eatin', and then we can head on over.

MARYANN
(Rises.) Oh, Cole, I wasn't frightened when it happened, but now the shock of it is makin' me lose my appetite! I just don't know what to do to keep my farm safe!

COLE
(Rises also, and approaches MARYANN.) As long as I'm around, no one will harm you!

MARYANN
Uh, right. (Impulsively hugs COLE, then runs her fingers up and down his shoulders and arms, then hugs him again.) Oh, you're so strong!

COLE
(Pleased.) Why, thank you, dear. I have been gettin' muscles movin' money bags around in the bank's vault.

MARYANN
(With arm that is facing away from audience, she holds out a key ring behind her so that the audience can see it. Speaks pleadingly to COLE.) Hold me tighter. Oh dear, I don't know what would have happened if they had come after me, too.

COLE
Gladly. (Holds MARYANN tighter.) Mmm.

(SHORTY lays menu down, stands, walks over to take key ring from MARYANN, wraps it in a sound-proof cloth, and leaves Stage Right.)

MARYANN
Oh, I feel better already. (Sighs.) Shall we finish our meal? Then I should be feeling strong enough to find out what the sheriff says about all this.

COLE
Certainly. I must say, your show of affection leaves me feelin' encouraged. (Holds chair out for MARYANN to sit, then sits back down as well.)

MARYANN
(Bats her eyelashes at COLE.) Yes, well, it shouldn't be too long before I'll be ready to go anywhere with you.

(Lights down.)



 
Scene 5


COLE BLACK's office. Jangling of keys is heard offstage, then the sound of a door creaking open. SHORTY steps gingerly inside from Stage Right.

JOHN
(Offstage, in medium low voice.) Is it safe to come in, Shorty?

SHORTY
(Turns around and beckons to JOHN). Yeah, nobody's here. Hey, how is Willie doin', by the way?

JOHN
How come you wanna know about Willie?

SHORTY
Well, I got to feelin' kinda responsible for her, and we had a little time to chat last night. No sign of the other outlaws tryin' to break her out of jail?

JOHN
Nobody's shown up so far this morning. The sheriff said he'd keep an eye out for trouble, after I told him what you overheard last night. But remember, we're here to help MaryAnn. Let's see what we can find.

SHORTY
All right, then.

(JOHN and SHORTY start rummaging through the items on and inside COLE's desk. SHORTY starts picking up each silver item to
inspect, then replaces each item in the exact position as before.)

SHORTY
Say, I never met a man who liked shiny silver stuff as much as this Cole feller.

JOHN
Wait a second. I think I found something here. (Pulls out the silver ore sample and the assay paper. Whistles low.) Hey, you're not foolin' about the silver. Look at this! (Shows specimen and paper to SHORTY, who reads the paper for a few seconds.)

SHORTY
Ah, so this silver ore came from--

JOHN
MaryAnn's land! No wonder Mr. Black wants to marry her! Not only that, but this would help MaryAnn pay off her mortgage. We'd better tell MaryAnn about this as soon as possible, and the sheriff, too!

(BIG MARTY steps out from behind curtain on Stage Right, with two guns pointed at JOHN and SHORTY.)


BIG MARTY
I wouldn't do that, if I were you. Drop that silver ore, and keep your hands up.

(JOHN drops the rock and paper on COLE's desk, then JOHN and SHORTY stand side by side in front of the desk with hands raised.)

BIG MARTY
How'd you two get in here? Mr. Black's not gonna like it.

JOHN
Don't tell him, Shorty.

SHORTY
I won't, John.

BIG MARTY
John? You're John? Oh, so you're the one who caught Willie?

JOHN
And what if I am? Say, since the sheriff never told others his prisoner's name, but you know who Willie is, I believe your question helps prove the cattle rustlers who were out botherin' MaryAnn last night can be traced back to Mr. Black! And for that matter, the same can be said for you!

(IVAN enters from Stage Right. When he sees the situation, he whips out his gun to point it at JOHN and SHORTY alongside BIG
MARTY
.)

BIG MARTY
(Glances at IVAN.) Glad you're here, Ivan. We got us some trouble.

IVAN
I laugh in the face of trouble! Ha, ha, and ha!

SHORTY
Gee, I just don't feel like laughin' right now. What are we gonna do, John?

JOHN
(Matter-of-fact.) Keep breathin.'

BIG MARTY
Ivan, keep these two covered. I'm gonna find Mr. Black and see if the others broke Willie out of jail yet.

IVAN
I think they were almost done makin' a plan when I left. All right, you can depend on me. This Russian is no wimpy little girl carrying sunflowers, nyet!

BIG MARTY
I'll be back. (Backs away toward Stage Right, keeping guns trained on JOHN and SHORTY still, until he reaches off stage.)

SHORTY
(Calls after BIG MARTY.) Take your time! We ain't goin' nowhere!

JOHN
(To SHORTY.) Did you hear that? They're gonna try to get Willie out, probably while the sheriff is on his way over here. We need to start distracting them.

SHORTY
Sounds good. I'll follow your lead.

JOHN
(Nods, then to IVAN.) Hey, why do they call you Ivan "The Famous"?

SHORTY
Yeah, what makes you such a famous outlaw?

IVAN
Well, before Kid Curry took my place, I used to run in Butch Cassidy's gang. Now don't tell me you've never heard of Starvski and Butch? (Pronounce like "Starsky and Hutch" with short u vowel.)

JOHN
Nope.

SHORTY
Sorry.

IVAN
In that case, maybe I should shoot the both of you to boost my reputation, if neither of you have heard of me.


JOHN
But we're from out of state. That's why we don't know you.

SHORTY
Yeah, and if you shoot us, it would be bad for Cache Valley's peaceful reputation. Plus we might bleed all over Mr. Black's desk.

IVAN
Hmm, I guess you're right.

SHORTY
(Sighs.) Thank goodness.

IVAN
I don't care two bits for anyone's reputation except for mine, but Mr. Black might get sore at me if I let you two bleed all over his oak desk. All right then, move over to the right--away from the desk!

(JOHN and SHORTY glance at each other, then shuffle slowly to the right at the same time.)

JOHN
Shorty, next time, let me handle him.

SHORTY
(Gulps nervously.) Hey, the job is yours.

JOHN
(Speaks in low voice.) Listen, I've got an idea.

SHORTY
(Speaks in low voice.) Great! That's a relief! (Pauses.) Uh, what is it?

JOHN
(Speaks in low voice.) Play along. (In normal voice.) So, Ivan, how big a share are you gettin' when it comes to the silver on MaryAnn Claussen's farm?

IVAN
(Suspicious.) Silver? What do you mean? Mr. Black pays us a fair wage. And if we happen to get caught by the law, he guarantees he'll get us the best lawyer that stolen money can buy.

JOHN
(Shrugs. Hands still in air.) Oh, well, I guess a fair wage is your fair share of two or three million dollars.

IVAN
What two or three million dollars?

JOHN
Well, according to this assayer's report, there's a great silver motherlode sittin' on the Claussen farm. Yeah. Mr. Black should be able to retire in style, while you can keep doin' what all fine outlaws do. You know, ridin' for hundreds of miles with the dust and hot wind burnin' your eyes.

SHORTY
(Catches on.) Yeah, and holdin' up stagecoaches and trains, then hidin' out in the back rooms of saloons or in lonely canyons so nobody knows who or where you are, livin' off dry bread and beans.

JOHN
Always wonderin' where your next meal is comin' from, and never bein' able to sit anywhere in a restaurant without havin' your chair flush up against the wall just so nobody -- like some trigger-happy sheriff or deputy or bounty hunter -- recognizes you and shoots you in the back without warnin'.

SHORTY
Yeah, why have a soft and cushy lifestyle when you can keep on bein' an outlaw and a hired gun for a crooked, no-good, connivin' back-stabber?

IVAN
Uh, hey, Mr. Black has never talked about me behind my back! He wouldn't sell me out!

JOHN
Hmm. Well, you just keep thinkin' that. But there's nothin' to keep Black from turnin' on you. All he thinks about is money. (To SHORTY). Well, Shorty, this might be the last time we both see Ivan.

(Song) "Ode to Ivan (Sh'Boom, Sh'Bang)"

JOHN
(Matter-of-fact.) In the meantime, of course we'll just have to have faith that Sheriff Moore doesn't recognize you the instant he walks in here with Mr. Black. Now I seem to recall, when I was in the sheriff's office the other day, that there was a big ole 'wanted' poster on his wall with your name and picture on it.

IVAN
(Scratches his head with the end of his gun, then returns it to its original position, pointed at JOHN and SHORTY.) Uh, now, wait just a minute.

JOHN
(Casual.) Yeah, whaddya thinkin'?

IVAN
Ah, I think you're right. The sheriff is gonna recognize me. I was supposed to lie low with the others over at the hotel. The reason I came over here against orders was because I wanted to talk to Marty about his next job. Mr. Black doesn't appreciate my skills, and I was ready to move on to something bigger, get back in the class I'm used to bein' in.

SHORTY
Yeah, you are the sharpest one in the bunch.

IVAN
I can't just leave you here. But I don't want the sheriff to get a good look at me, either. What am I gonna do?

JOHN
Welllll.... It just so happens that Shorty here is an expert at masterful disguises.

SHORTY
I am? Oh, uh, sure, I am. Best in the west. Why, I could fix you up so even your own mother wouldn't recognize you at three paces.

IVAN
You'd do that for me?

SHORTY
Sure! Why, all I need is a charcoal pencil, and I can alter your eyebrows and a couple of features right here and now.

JOHN
(In a helpful way.) Hey, I bet there's a charcoal pencil or some kind of pencil that will work over in Mr. Black's desk.

SHORTY
(To IVAN.) Yeah, why don't you sit down in the chair and I'll make you over before the sheriff and Mr. Black get here?

IVAN
Well, okay. But no funny stuff now. I still have my guns ready to shoot both of you if you even start to make a wrong move.

JOHN
Sounds good to me. If you'll, uh, allow me to look for a charcoal pencil over in the drawer.

IVAN
All right.

(JOHN, keeping his hands up until he reaches the drawer of the desk, then keeps one hand up while he pulls open the desk drawer
(hand not seen by audience), starts rummaging around papers noisily. Then, while SHORTY distracts IVAN with the following
dialogue, JOHN folds the silver assay report into a fourth or an eighth of its original size and slips it into a pocket or his shirt front
so it's hidden.)

SHORTY
You know, I think we oughta make you look more Italian or Greek-looking. I will give you a mustache and some thoughtful eyebrows. I reckon you'll fool everyone when I'm done with you. That profile! Those cheekbones! You have a perfect face to disguise!

IVAN
(Pleased.) Well, I am rather handsome.

JOHN
Don't it just beat all? This Mr. Black's only got them fancy new yellow pencils. No charcoal pencils here.

SHORTY
Hey, I forgot! I have a piece of charcoal in my pocket.

JOHN
In your pocket? Whaddya carryin' around charcoal for?

IVAN
Yeah, Mister Shorty, what for?


SHORTY
Well, with your permission. (Lowers one hand to fish a piece of charcoal out of his pocket, holds it up.) See, it's just because, well, a few years ago it so happened that once when I was out in the woods takin' care of business, I, uh, got a little lost on my way back to camp.

IVAN
Takin' care of business?

SHORTY
Yeah, you know what I mean?

JOHN
Oh, takin' care of business!

IVAN
What? (Dawns on him.) Oh, that kind of business!

SHORTY
Yeah, that's right. So I figured if I always kept a little piece of charcoal in my pocket, I could mark the trees as I went, and that way, I'd always find my way back to camp from then on. (Approaches IVAN with the charcoal and his hands still in raised in the air.) May I have the honors?

IVAN
All right, Mister Shorty. You do a good job of this, and I don't shoot either one of you today.

SHORTY
(Gulps.) No problem. (Hurriedly changes IVAN's eyebrows and adds a mustache to his upper lip and a goatee to chin).

IVAN
(Smirks.) Now, then, get back over and stand by John.

SHORTY
Yes, sir. And may I say you have never looked better. (Stands by JOHN, both holding their hands up.)

(SHERIFF MOORE enters from Stage Right with COLE.)

COLE
(Points immediately to JOHN and SHORTY, ignores IVAN.) Right there, Sheriff Moore! They've been caught in the act! There they are! My employee told me their names are John and Shorty, and they're wanted men! Now they're caught in the act of breakin' into the bank! I want you to arrest them immediately!

JOHN
Now just a minute! Sheriff, I want you to arrest Cole Black here for rustlin' cattle! That is, he hired the rustlers! Remember, I brought one of them over to you last night? And I heard another one of them today talkin' about it and havin' to report to Black. It was a big feller who was in here earlier, in a long duster coat. Looked like a hired gunslingerto me. Not only that, but they're probably tryin' to break the first rustler I brought you out of jail right now!

COLE
Oh, yeah? Have you got any hard proof of what you're insinuatin'? (Throws up his hands in attitude of dismissal.) You know, I don't have time for this. I have a weddin' to attend over at the Presbyterian Church. (To SHERIFF.) I trust you'll take care of these...men?

SHERIFF
Well, I suppose, but--

COLE
All right, then. I'm on my way out. (Exits Stage Right).

SHERIFF
(To IVAN.) Go ahead and put your guns down, I got it covered now.

IVAN
(Replaces guns in holster.) Okay. If you don't mind, I'll be on my way, too. (Hurries out Stage Right.)

JOHN
He must be on his way to help break Willie out of jail.

SHORTY
Yep. He didn't waste any time!

SHERIFF
(With gun now pointing haphazardly toward JOHN and SHORTY.) Who's breaking whom out of jail? Now, John, I'm a mite confused. What are you doin' in the banker's office in the middle of the day, when it was locked tight? First you haul in a cattle rustler, then you break the law yourself. This just doesn't set right with me.

JOHN
Well, Sheriff, time's growin' short, and I suspect we're gonna have trouble at the jail and who knows where else. If you'd let me show you a piece of paper, it will explain everything. May I?

SHERIFF
All right.

JOHN
(Lowers hand and takes out folded silver ore assay report and unfolds it.) Look, this here paper shows how there's a huge vein of silver ore on MaryAnn Claussen's land. It might even be worth two or three million dollars!

SHERIFF
What? Let me see that. (Crosses over to where JOHN is standing and looks down at paper, with gun still drawn but not pointed at JOHN.)

(SHORTY lowers his hands but remains a little farther away.)

JOHN
Only thing is, it's not MaryAnn's signature on this paper. It's signed by a Charles Feldman and Mr. Cole Black. MaryAnn doesn't know anything about this silver, but Black sure does.

SHORTY
Yeah, and as of yesterday, MaryAnn had no desire whatsoever to marry Black, but she told us he sure has been pesterin' her to marry him for four months.

JOHN
And after conversin' with Black's hired gun, I think he not only hired a bunch of rustlers to discourage her, but he's gotta be plannin' somethin' else as well!

SHERIFF
Oh, my goodness! That weddin' Black said he had to go to? Why, he told me he was marryin' MaryAnn Claussen today! Reverend Cardall was gonna be there to perform the ceremony.

JOHN
Hmm, my guess is Black's over at the Presbyterian Church right now holdin' MaryAnn and the reverend by force, and if we don't hurry, she's gonna be married to a very dangerous man who will take her for everything she's got property-wise!

SHERIFF
Well, this is mighty serious! But as I recall, you mentioned the rustlers were plannin' to break my prisoner out of jail?

JOHN
Yeah. Hmm, we'll have to divide up. If'n you head back over to the jail, Shorty and I both can go on over to the church, then you can join us as soon as you check on things at the jail.

SHERIFF
Sounds good. My deputies can help me if anyone gets rough, so I shouldn't be too long.

JOHN
Yeah, let's hurry. Hopefully we'll catch Black before his entire gang shows up. I've got my faithful horse, Sterling, waitin' outside now.

(JOHN, SHERIFF MOORE, and SHORTY run off Stage Right. Lights down.)

Author Notes ยน See "Outlaw Tales of Utah," by Michael Rutter, page 25, for a reference to the line "the best lawyers stolen money could buy." Used with permission of author. (michael_rutter@byu.edu). A couple of jokes in this script were also borrowed from playwright/improvisational comic/actor Bob Bedore of Utah.
"Starsky and Hutch" was an action/crime detection TV show in the U.S.A. in the 1970s.


Chapter 9
Legend of John Shane A2S6

By CrystieCookie999

Scene 6

Christian church interior. Stained glass window is seen behind a white or brown wooden pulpit. A few wooden chairs are placed to suggest the pews. REVEREND CARDALL is standing behind the pulpit, with BIG MARTY standing behind him. COLE BLACK enters from Stage Right, holding MARYANN firmly by the arm. MARYANN looks unhappy.

REVEREND
(To COLE.) Oh, there you are. I say, isn't this wedding rather rushed today? You're terribly lucky I even had time to perform the ceremony this afternoon. We have choir practice in an hour, and I need to sweep the floor and the choir loft.

COLE
Never mind that. We are gettin' married today, and that's final, Reverend.

MARYANN
Please, Reverend...

COLE
(Firmly, to MARYANN.) What was the deal, MaryAnn?

REVEREND
Yes, my dear?

MARYANN
Never mind. It was nothing.

REVEREND
All right, then. Shall we begin? Oh, wait, I need to find my reading glasses. (Searches in pockets of robe.)

COLE
(Impatiently.) Come on, come on! (Looks back over shoulder.)

REVEREND
Ah, here they are. (Pulls out glasses and puts them on. Opens Bible on pulpit to read piece of paper that says "Marriage Ceremony" on top.)

MARYANN
Wait, Reverend! I don't want to marry this man!

REVEREND
What? Oh, all, right, my dear. If you have changed your mind, then I won't continue. (Closes Bible.)

COLE
(Sternly.) Continue, Reverend. (To MARTY.) Marty, we need a little bit of your "persuasion" to get this done.

BIG MARTY
(Pulls out gun, cocks it, and aims it at REVEREND CARDALL's arm, slanted downward.) Keep readin' now, Reverend.

REVEREND
(Leans away from the gun, opens Bible again. Clears throat, and speaks with a shaky voice.) Uh, dearly beloved?

COLE
(To MARYANN.) Remember, MaryAnn, you marry me or I'll send every sharpshooter I can hire to go after that man, John. I'll teach him to steal my silver!

MARYANN
(To COLE.) What do you mean? What silver?

REVEREND
(To COLE.) Yeah, what do you mean? What silver?

BIG MARTY
(To REVEREND.) Hey, you, preacher man! Keep readin'! Mr. Black's orders!

REVEREND
Say, we have laws in Utah prohibiting the use of force or duress in regards to any marriage.

BIG MARTY
(Sneers close to REVEREND's face.) Yeah, well, my gun doesn't know your law. Don't you know who I am? I'm Big Marty Lewis of Abilene, Texas.

REVEREND
Er, I don't believe I'm acquainted with that name.

BIG MARTY
Well, then, listen to this.

(Song) "Ballad of Big Marty" (ALL except JOHN, SHORTY, REVEREND, and MARYANN sing.)

REVEREND
Uh, yeah, in that case. Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today--

(JOHN and SHORTY run on from Stage Right, with guns drawn, then hurry to squat or kneel on one knee behind the wooden chairs and train their guns on MARTY and COLE. MARTY appears confused and first points his gun at JOHN, then SHORTY, but finally decides to point his gun at REVEREND CARDALL again.)

COLE
(Sees JOHN and SHORTY and starts reaching for his gun from a shoulder holster under his coat.) Why, you!

JOHN
Don't even think about it, Cole. You just tell your gunslinger there to drop his gun, or I'll let Slim here do the talkin'.

COLE
Slim? Who's Slim?

JOHN
(Clears throat.) Slim is my gun. Slim the Triple Slick Six-shooter.

MARTY
Huh? You named your gun?

SHORTY
Gee, John, that's what MaryAnn said, too!

JOHN
Not now, Shorty! (To MARTY.) Drop your gun, or you're going to find out what it means to be turned into Swiss cheese.

SHORTY
Yum! I love Swiss cheese! Course, it's not the same as German cheese, but--

JOHN
Shhh! I'm trying to bluff the bad guy here!

MARTY
(Derisively.) Oh, like I'm so scared!

JOHN
That does it! (Shoots his gun upwards. The sound of a bullet ricocheting seven or eight times, a pause.)

MARTY
(Sneers.) Ha ha, you missed!

JOHN
(Confidently.) Wait a second.

(Rubber chicken or stuffed bird with loose feathers falls to ground, or is tossed from offstage.)

REVEREND
(Looks at an angle toward ceiling.) How'd you do that?

MARYANN
Oh, John, that was just incredible!

COLE
(Mocks MARYANN.) Oh, John, that was just terrible!

JOHN
Well, I do admit, on a good day, I can hit two birds with one shot. But let's get back to business. Now, what was your name again?

BIG MARTY
Big Marty. And don't you forget it!

SHORTY
(Derisively.) Huh? What was your name?

JOHN
Shorty, let me handle this.

SHORTY
(Eagerly.) Okay, John, I've got ya covered.

COLE
That's what you think! Big Marty, I need a distraction!

BIG MARTY
Sure thing, boss. (Jumps in front of COLE with his back to JOHN.)

JOHN
What the--? Now you know I ain't gonna shoot a man in the back!

(BIG MARTY turns around, so that COLE can now be seen with his gun drawn and pointed at MARYANN's arm.)

BIG MARTY
Yeah, that's what I was countin' on. You good guys are SO predictable.

SHORTY
Dang it, John! Now what are we gonna do? (To MARYANN.) Oops, pardon me for cussin', ma'am.

MARYANN
(Nervously, while looking at COLE's gun.) Uh, that's all right, Shorty. I've got bigger problems than that right now.

COLE
(To JOHN.) So now that I've got more bargaining power, I say it's my man, Big Marty, against you, and winner takes all, including MaryAnn.

BIG MARTY
Uh, boss?

COLE
What is it?

BIG MARTY
I thought you were the one who wanted MaryAnn. Besides, I already got me a girl in Abilene.

COLE
It's just a figure of speech. You'll get your money. I get the girl and the silver and the farm.

MARYANN
Silver? What silver?

COLE
(Sternly, to MARYANN.) Quiet, you!

BIG MARTY
(Steps toward front right stage.) Well, then, I guess it's time for a showdown. Otherwise you ain't gettin' past me to get to Mr. Black, now, are ya?

JOHN
(Stands up taller, moves to front left stage.) I reckon you're right. Course, it's the first and the last time I'll square off against ya. So get ready.

(Part of the theme music from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" plays, or other 'showdown' style music, while BIG MARTY and JOHN give each other mean, narrow-eyed looks. BIG MARTY might stick his tongue out at JOHN.)

BIG MARTY
(Sneers.) That's all the time I'll need. A city boy like you don't stand a chance, no matter what you named your gun.

JOHN
Oh, yeah? Well, you have until the count of three to drop your gun.

BIG MARTY
Go ahead and count. I ain't backin' down.

REVEREND
(Wheedling.) Now, boys, can't you take this outside? (Indicating stained glass window behind him.) I just had the stained glass window washed.

BIG MARTY
(Looks at REVEREND, breaking eye contact with JOHN and lowering gun in order to whine.) Aw, we're just gettin' started!

JOHN
(Quickly.) One-two-three! (Shoots toward BIG MARTY's hand as if to disarm him.)

BIG MARTY
(Drops gun and howls with pain.) Ow, that hurt!

COLE
What the blazes?! (Pulls MARYANN with him hurriedly off Stage Right.)

JOHN
Slim wins every time! (To SHORTY.) Keep him covered. I'm goin' after MaryAnn and Black! (Follows COLE and MARYANN off Stage Right.)

SHORTY
Sure thing. (Moves closer to BIG MARTY.)

BIG MARTY
(Holds shooting hand with other.) Your boss don't play fair!

SHORTY
Oh, well. Too bad for you we aren't as predictable as you thought.

(SHERIFF enters from Stage Right with gun drawn and squats down behind SHORTY and trains his gun on BIG MARTY.)

SHERIFF
Drop your guns!

SHORTY
(Drops his gun and puts his hands up, then looks back to see the SHERIFF.) Hey, the sheriff's here! (Picks up his gun again. Nods toward SHERIFF.) Glad you could make it, Sheriff.

BIG MARTY
(In an oily, persuasive way.) Aw, now, Sheriff, let's talk this out.

SHERIFF
I don't think there's anything to talk about, Big Marty. You're wanted in seven states for all kinds of bad stuff -- stealin' and rustlin' and shootin' three men in the back. Plus you didn't do your church visits last month.

REVEREND
(Shakes finger at BIG MARTY.) You're busted.

BIG MARTY
Aw. It's not fair. Those three men were lawyers, and I figger, we got enough lawyers out West here as it is.

SHERIFF
Well, it's up to the judge now. (To SHORTY.) Shorty, where did John go? And where's Cole Black and MaryAnn Claussen?

SHORTY
Black took MaryAnn somewhere, and John was right on their heels!

SHERIFF
All right, then, as soon as I cuff Big Marty here and take him into jail, I'll have to go lookin' for 'em. Any idea where they might have gone?

SHORTY
(Takes hat off to scratch head.) Well, if it was me, I'd head back to the farm where the silver is. That Black feller might just commence diggin' or explodin' a big hole in the land, to start gettin' at that silver!

SHERIFF
(Takes out old iron handcuffs to cuff BIG MARTY, who is still nursing his "injured" hand.) I reckon that sounds right. Why don't you head on over, and I'll be there in a few minutes.

SHORTY
All right. Bye, Sheriff! Bye, Reverend! (To BIG MARTY, in a mocking way.) And what was your name again?

BIG MARTY
(Growls at SHORTY.) Get outta here!

SHORTY
(Slightly intimidated.) Bye-bye now. Gotta run! (Hurries off Stage Right.)

(REVEREND, SHERIFF, and BIG MARTY freeze as lights down.)

 

Author Notes figger-figure
Thanks to those who are following this. I think there are only 1 or 2 posts more. Let me know if you think this needs a violence warning. I do my best to indicate pointing with gun props, aiming down toward stage floor.


Chapter 10
Legend of John Shane A2S7,8

By CrystieCookie999

Scene 7

Claussen Barn, first floor, with hay arranged differently. MARYANN is tied and sitting on a barrel, surrounded by two bundles of red sticks of
dynamite.

COLE
(Ties one last knot in the rope around MARYANN.)

MARYANN
(Struggles.) Let me go!

COLE
Ha! Just try and get out of that rope!

MARYANN
(Struggles and wiggles even more wildly.) Mmmmf!

COLE
Hey, stop squirming!

MARYANN
But you said—

COLE
Never mind what I said. (Pulls piece of paper out of vest that says LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT.) Now I gotta light that dynamite and after you're gone, I'm gonna go get a lawyer to execute this will of yours faster than you can say "You can't get away with this."

MARYANN
Oh yeah? Well, you can't get away with this! Besides, you forced me to sign that will!

COLE
(Holds gun loosely with one hand, cups ear with other hand.) Ah, music to my ears! So, are you foolish enough to think this John fellow will come to your rescue? He probably doesn't even have a clue of where to find us.

MARYANN
(Sarcastically.) What, you don't think he can read the script just as well as you can? Anyway, I just know he will come. He loves me, and I love him!

COLE
I knew it! That's why I'm blowin' you up. (Melodramatically.) Your cheatin' heart has wounded me to the core.

MARYANN
Well, considerin' you're such a bad apple, it must have been a ROTTEN core!

(JOHN sneaks in, crouching, from Stage Right, with gun aimed toward COLE.)

JOHN
All right, Black, your days of taking advantage of others --and your lousy singin' -- are over. Put your hands up!

COLE
(Looks back, bites his lip with frustration. Scowls and drops gun.) All right. (Holds hands up.)

(JOHN carefully retrieves gun from floor and backs up again with guns still aimed at COLE.)

MARYANN
(To JOHN.) Oh, John! I knew you would come! I just knew it!

JOHN
(Approaches MARYANN to start loosening ropes while keeping gun trained on COLE the whole time. Pats MARYANN on shoulder.) There, you're safe now, darlin'. My guess is the sheriff will be here any minute.

(SHORTY enters from Stage Right, with his gun aimed at COLE.)

SHORTY
Hey, John. The sheriff is right behind me.

(SHERIFF enters from Stage Right, with his gun aimed at COLE.)

SHERIFF
Yeah, I'll be glad to take him in now!

SHORTY
Hey, Sheriff, did you catch the three other cattle rustlers before they attacked the jail?

SHERIFF
Well, it was the darndest thing. My deputy told me those three outlaws showed up all right, but they turned tail and ran on account of the fact that the prisoner, Willie, wouldn't allow herself to be busted out of jail. She even volunteered to testify in court--AND give a talk in church services next Sunday in jail. Can you figure that?

SHORTY
(Smiles.) Sounds like she's turnin' over a new leaf.

SHERIFF
That could be. (To COLE.) All right, Cole. If you talk, I can put a good word in for you with the judge.

COLE
Humph! I'll only talk if this John scoundrel here will tell me how he started refinin' the silver on MaryAnn's land without anyone knowin' about it. (To JOHN.) Marty and I heard you talkin' to her about pickin' up a load of sterling silver from a blacksmith, and don't you play innocent about the silver with me, MaryAnn! After the way you picked my pocket to get those keys, I know you know more than what you say you know!

MARYANN
(Exasperated, to COLE.) I really have no idea what you're talkin' about! (To JOHN.) John, do you know about this?

JOHN
(Puzzled.) Refinin' the silver? Wait a minute! (To MARYANN.) Remember when we were talkin' about Sterling, MaryAnn?

COLE
Ah ha! So you admit it!

JOHN
(Laughs. To COLE.) Sterling is the name of my horse! I had to pick up my horse, not real silver. In fact, there was no silver at all, except the silver ore you were hidin' in your office. (To MARYANN.) Darlin', the reason Cole wanted to marry you was mostly because of a bunch of silver he wanted to get off'n your land. Shorty and I found the assayer's report in Cole's office and a silver ore sample.

MARYANN
Really? That's amazing. Tell me more later!

SHERIFF
I'd like to get a look at that. I think I'll need to have it as evidence.

(SAM, IVAN, and PETE saunter in from Right Stage. They don't notice that COLE has just been arrested and come right up to him.)

SAM
Hey, Boss, you've been holdin' out on us.

PETE
Yeah, we think it's time you gave us a raise.

IVAN
And it had better be in silver, Mr. Black.

COLE
Shhh! You idiots! Don't you see the sheriff is here?

SAM
(Turns around.) Oh, hi, Mister Sheriff. (Sees drawn guns. Pauses.) Uh-oh. (Raises hands, along with IVAN and PETE.)

SHORTY
(Trains his gun in the direction of SAM, PETE, and IVAN.) Yeah, you better say uh-oh. (To SHERIFF.) Sheriff Moore, here's your other three cattle rustlers. Looks like they didn't get away, after all.

SHERIFF
Well, that saves me a trip to round them up. (Pulls out handcuffs and chain to begin linking COLE, SAM, IVAN, and PETE together, one by one).

SHORTY
(To SAM, IVAN, and PETE.) So boys, why don't you say hello to Willie for me, while you're in jail?

PETE
Sure thing, Bartholo-myoo-hoo. Or is it Bartholo-me-ow?

SHORTY
Hey, that's Mister Shorty to you!

PETE
(Grins sheepishly.) Uh, right.

SHERIFF
(To JOHN and SHORTY). All right, let's haul these rascals in to the jail. And I sure appreciate your help!

(ALL start exiting Stage Right, with COLE, followed by SAM, IVAN, and PETE, followed by SHERIFF, JOHN, SHORTY, and
MARYANN.)


 
Scene 8

Presbyterian church. REVEREND CARDALL is behind his pulpit, pulls out a handkerchief and wipes forehead.

REVEREND
(To AUDIENCE.) Say, am I gonna have a story to tell the choir! What a day!

(ELLIE and IDA enter from Stage Right holding hymn books.)

ELLIE
Hello, Reverend, we came to wrap up this melodrama and get ready for choir practice.

IDA
Yeah, and I hear the hero, John, got to kiss MaryAnn. (Giggles.)

REVEREND
Aw, ladies, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but that didn't happen.

ELLIE
What? He didn't kiss her? Why, that's un-American! (Calls Offstage.) Hey, John and MaryAnn! Come back on here.

(JOHN and MARYANN re-enter from Stage Right.)

JOHN
(To ELLIE.) Yeah, now what is it?

ELLIE
(Hands on hips.) You didn't kiss the girl. Everyone knows when a melodrama ends, the hero has to kiss the girl.

MARYANN
(To JOHN, with imitation of John Wayne accent.) Well, Pilgrim, if you gotta, you gotta.

JOHN
Aw, MaryAnn, I guess you can tell our children, this is how we started our family tree. (Kisses MARYANN.)

(Lights down. Curtain/Final song.)

(Song) "Rustlers' Trace Finale"
(reprise of melody from "The Legend of John Shane")

Author Notes Full name of this musical melodrama again is: The Legend of John Shane: Tale of the Rustlers' Trace.


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