Shootout at Garsen's Saloon
Cast of Characters
Joe Garrett, leader of the homesteaders
Marian Garrett, Joe’s wife
Grandma Garrett, Joe’s mother
Johnny Garrett, dim-witted 16 year old son
Bonnie Garrett, 12 year old daughter
Cannonball Stone, fiery-tempered homesteader
Opal Stone, 16 year old daughter
Rocky Stone, 14 year old son
Svede Svenson, Swedish homesteader
Ebenezer Erp, town preacher
Alley Erp, Ebenezer’s wife
Hannah Erp, bad-breathed 16 year old daughter
Big Bill Wretcher, cattle boss of the valley
Rachael Wretcher, flirtatious 16 year old daughter
Kurt Jergens, Big Bill’s German, bully-boy foreman
Garsen, owner of Garsen’s Saloon
Tina Tintinnabulation, saloon girl
Digger Phelps, undertaker and barber
Widow Winslow, man-hunting, 35 year old widow
Shane, gunfighter trying to escape his past
Stark Verisimilitude, gunfighter
Place: Shoshone Hole,
(Garsen’s Saloon. Garsen is behind the bar sampling his own liquor. Cannonball Stone enters right)
Cannonball (to right exit): Get on in here, Rocky! I’m gonna make a man out a you if it kills me!
Rocky (loudly, off-stage): I’m … scared!
Cannonball: Of what?
Rocky: Saloons! I might get hurt!
Cannonball (yanking Rocky on-stage): Get in here, you … dandelion!
Rocky: I want to go back to the poetry meeting!
Cannonball: You’re not getting’ out a here ‘til you’ve downed a bottle of Red-Eye and danced with Tina.
Rocky: I don’t know how to dance, and I’m not going to ---
Cannonball (interrupting): You’ll do exactly what I tell you t’do! Step up to that bar! (Rocky minces up to the bar. On the bar is a plate of pretzels) Now, order something!
Rocky: Oh, … excuse me, sir, but … may I have a glass of milk? It would taste very good with one of these pretzels!
(Garsen gives Rocky an odd look)
Cannonball: Milk?! Pour him a whiskey, Garsen! He’s gonna drink it if I have to funnel it down his throat!
(Garsen pours whiskey into a glass)
Garsen (to Cannonball): Haven’t seen the boy in here before.
Cannonball: Been spendin’ too much time with his ma!
(Rocky picks up the glass, takes a sip)
Rocky: Oh dear! (He puts the glass down hastily)
Garsen: I see what you mean.
Cannonball: Where’s Tina?
(Tina Tintinnabulation enters left)
Tina: Someone call me?! (sees Cannonball) Cannonball! How your jaw feel? Kurt Jergens! He put dent in it!
Garsen: I’d better bring out some more glasses. (He exits left)
Cannonball: First chance I get I’m gonna measure the floor with that kraut!
Tina: No! No! No! No! No! You loco hombre! He too tough for you! (picks up a pretzel from the dish on the bar) He make you look like theese!
Cannonball: Thanks for the vote of confidence! (leading her over to the left exit) Come on over here a minute.
Tina: Where you take me?! You no get fresh!
Cannonball: I’ve … got a favor to ask.
Tina: Tina thought so! She work ‘ere for dinero, not to make whoopee! Carrumba!
(Rocky dips a pretzel into the whiskey glass and takes a bite and makes a face)
Cannonball: Keep your voice down. I don’t want Rocky to hear.
Tina: Tina not surprised!
Cannonball: Just … take a look at my boy over there.
Tina (after looking): So?
Cannonball: What d’ya think of him?
Tina: He got pretty boots.
Cannonball: Take another look! (pause) Now, from a female’s point of view, what about him?
Tina (after a pause): He nice leetle boy.
Cannonball: That’s the whole blazin’ trouble!
Tina: What you want a Tina?
Cannonball: Make him … not want t’be a nice little boy!
Cannonball: He’s always holdin’ on to a poetry book. I want him holdin’ on t’some girl!
Tina: What girl let heem do that?! He ‘bout as exciting as table leg!
Cannonball: Well, if any female can get him excited, you can!
Tina (after a pause): Si. You nice hombre. Tina try. (She glances over at Rocky with a mischievous glint in her eyes. Rocky methodically devours another pretzel)
Rocky: Pa, I think I am beginning to like whiskey! (He dips a pretzel into the whiskey glass, takes a bit, and winces) Eeeew, that’s strong!
Cannonball: Rocky, I’m goin’ in t’ the general store. (to Tina) Don’t want to cramp his style! (He exits left)
(Tina waits a moment longer and then dances over to Rocky with tambourine and stands next to him, looking at him out of the corner of her eyes)
Tina: Buenos Dias, … Beeg Boy!
Rocky (after looking behind him to find the person she must be addressing, startled): I beg your pardon.
Tina: Why you flirt with Tina? (She nudges him with an elbow)
Rocky: Oh, I wasn’t flirting. I was just eating this pretzel!
Tina: You naughty boy! I see you! (pause) You get Tina excited!
Rocky: I … I did?!
Tina: You handsome muchacho! Perezoso eyes! Carrumba!
Rocky (swelling with pride): Well, I never!
Tina: Drive muchachas loco! You no look at Tina, you hear?!
Rocky: Why … why not?
Tina: Perezoso eyes! Make Tina jello! Tina … no know what she do!
Rocky: Oh gosh! (looks away, then slowly looks back at her)
Tina (shielding eyes): No! No! (looking) Oh! Oh!
Rocky: What’s the matter?!
Tina: Tina jello!
Rocky: I’m terribly sorry!
Tina (looking quickly about the room): We all alone! (pause) Eef you try keess me, I no can stop you!
Rocky (concerned): Oh, … how can we correct this situation?!
Tina: Keess Tina! Then she no longer jello.
Rocky: How … how do I do that?
Tina: Easy. I show you now.
Rocky: Oh my.
(Big Bill Wretcher and Kurt Jergens enter right. Wretcher sees Tina and Rocky up close, stops abruptly. He stares at them a moment)
Big Bill: What’s going on here?!
Tina and Rocky step away from each other)
Tina: Big Bill! Why you here so early?!
Big Bill: I’m here to meet someone! (walks over to Rocky) Any man … (takes a closer look at Rocky) … boy … touches Tina gets a free burial plot on Boot Hill! Compliments a me!
(Rocky looks worried)
Tina: You don’t own me, Big Bill Wretcher! Tina koochie, koochie, koochie who she wants! (She tickles Rocky under his chin) Kootchie! Kootchie! Kootchie!
Big Bill: You’re marryin’ me the end of the week!
Big Bill: You don’t have nothin’ to say about it!
Rocky: Here now! That’s no way to talk to a lady!
Big Bill (menacingly): What did you say your name was?!
Rocky: Albert Sidney Johnston Rhett
Stone, … but my father calls me Rocky. Butler
Jergens: Sodvuster vit hot temper! Yah! Last week I make face look like pizza! (He laughs)
Rocky: Then Shane made yours sauerkraut!
(Jergens’s facial expression immediately changes. He reaches out and grips Rocky’s neck with one hand)
Jergens: You vish me to pop head like pimple?!
(Rocky shakes his head)
Jergens: You schmart-alec! I don’t like schmart-alec! (pause) You vill leaf immediately! Schnell! Schnell! (He holds on to Rocky, who start running in place)
Rocky: I vill! I vill! I mean, I will! I will!
Jergens (still holding Rocky by the neck): Doomkopf! Schnell! (Rocky keeps running in place. Jergens finally releases him. Rocky dashes off-stage right. Jergens laughs)
Tina (to Jergens): You bad man! He nice boy!
Jergens (after a pause): He wears pretty boots.
Big Bill (to Tina gruffly): You and me’s goin’ to have a romantic talk! (He escorts Tina off-stage left)
Jergens (after glancing about the saloon): Alone. (pause) Vere’s Garrett? Thirsty! (shouting) Garsen! You vill come in here! Schnell! (He waits. Nobody appears) Doomkopf! I vill help myself! Maybe find … bottle of schnapps! (He walks casually over to the bar, taps the bar with his riding crop) No schnapps! Just beer! (He notices the plate of pretzels) Pretzels! Yah! Pretzels mit beer! (He grabs the plate and a bottle of beer and goes over to a table and sits down. He bites into the pretzel)
(Opal Stone enters left, sees Jergens at the table, smoothes her hair, and walks alluringly across the stage to the table)
Jergens: Opal! Liebchen! My apple strudel!
Opal: Kurtie! I have only a minute. Mrs. Erp is getting suspicious!
Jergens: You vill sit down!
Opal: Oh, Kurtie, I can’t! What if Pa should come in now?!
Jergens: If he does, I vill make face pizza again. Sit! (She does so, immediately. He gazes at her for twenty seconds. Finally) I haf written song. You vill listen! (He gets up, paces a little, stops, stands off to the side, hand on bar, drumming fingers, then walks over to the table and goes down on one knee. He starts to sing the English words to the German song “Du, Du Liegst mi rim Herzen”) You are deep in my heart …”
(Svede Svenson enters right in the middle of the line)
Svede: Yumpin’ Yimminy!
Jergens (gets up, approaches Svede): Vat ish der matter, farmer? Suspenders too tight?!
Svede: No! No! Yust that you and Opal. Cannonball will be mad.
Opal: Please, Svede. Please don’t tell Pa! Please!
Svede: Your pa will have to know. That is my duty.
Jergens (after a pause): Garsen says he needs more furniture. How vould you like me to make you into table?!
Svede: That is not Opal I see before me!
Jergens: Goot! Schmart! I sing now! (He walks to the table, goes down on one knee, his back to Svede) You vill come here! (Svede does so, standing behind the table between Jergens and Opal and facing the audience) Ven I point, you vill say, “Oom-pa-pa, oom-pa-pa.” Dat is an order!
Svede: Yah! I will do it!
(Jergens turns his attention back to Opal and after a moment begins singing)
Jergens: You are deep in my heart. (He points at Svede)
Svede: Oom-pa-pa, oom-pa-pa.
Jergens: You are much on my mind. (He points again)
Svede: Oom-pa-pa, oom-pa-pa.
Jergens: You bring me great sorrow,
You don’t know how much I am yours!
(He stands, points to Svede, who oom-pa-pa’s as Jergens finishes the remaining two lines with beer hall gusto)
Ja! Ja! Ja! Ja!
You don’t know how much I am yours!
Opal (after a pause): Donner Vetter!
Jergens (smiling): Come! You vill now sit on my knee!
(Svede sits on his knee)
Jergens: Not you, Doomkopf! Her!
(Svede gets up. Opal comes over and sits on Jergens’s knee. Grandma Garrett enters right)
Grandma: Opal! (Opal leaps off Jergens’s knee) Opal Stone! What do you think you’re doing?!
Jergens: Liebchen! Vhat is dis old bat?! Himmell!
Swede: I tink I better go now. (He exits right)
Grandma: Old bat, am I?! (She hits Jergens on top of his helmet with her cane)
Jergens (backing away): Nine! Nine!
Grandma (pushing the end of the cane into his stomach): You stay away from this girl!
Jergens: I vill!
Grandma: That is an order!
Jergens: Yavo! (He clicks his heels)
(Grandma wacks him over the helmet again and then exits right with Opal, who looks at Jergens regretfully)
Jergens (after a pause): Frauline vit hair like hay – caput! Find another. Yah! (Smiling, he exits right)
(Ominous music. It builds to a crescendo. Stark Verisimilitude enters right. He looks menacingly about the empty saloon and then saunters over to the bar and pours himself a drink)
(Widow Winslow enters right. She sees Stark at the bar, stops, and looks flustered)
Widow: Oh dear. I thought I would fine … Mr. Garsen here … or at least Digger Phelps.
(Long pause while Stark looks Widow over. Widow becomes more flustered and fusses with her hair)
Stark: Don’t know who they are, … but I’m ten times better!
Widow (impulsively): Oh, you are, at least that! (realizing her blunder) Oh dear! There I go again! (to herself) Cynthia, you must do a better job of controlling your tongue!
Stark (after looking her over again): You don’t look too bad. How old are you? Thirty-six?
Widow (embarrassed that his estimate is so accurate): Uh, … twenty-nine.
Stark: That’s what I thought. Thirty-six.
Widow (false injury): Mr. whoever-you-are. I want you to know you are speaking to a lady! Guessing her age is not what a gentleman does to a ---
Stark (roughishly): I’m not a gentleman!
Widow: To a … I didn’t think so. (fans herself vigorously) … To a … well bred … deep feeling … lonely … appreciative lady!
Stark: You’re a widow, aren’t you?
Widow: How’d you guess?
Stark: In my line of work I meet a lot of widows.
Widow: I bet you do!
Stark: You know what I do with widows?
Widow (impulsively): Oh, you are twenty times better than Digger or George! What?!
Stark (smiling, after a pause): I buy them a drink.
Widow (disappointed): Just a drink?
Stark: And then another drink, and another.
Widow (coyly): Sir, you have a dashingly dangerous aspect about you. What you must do to helpless moths like me! I must be on my guard!
Stark (about to pour her a glass of whisky): How much?
Widow: Just the teeniest bit! Whiskey makes this lady tipsy!
(Stark pours a little into a glass and then more for himself)
Stark: Drink up!
Widow: Oh yes! (She takes a sip and squeaks. Stark downs his drink with one swallow) My goodness you’re so manly! That must just burn your throat to pieces!
Stark: I’m a hard-living man, lady.
Widow: Oh, my goodness. That is just not healthy. What you need is a good woman to take care of you. (enunciating each of the following adjectives) A deep-feeling, lonely, appreciative woman!
Stark (after looking at her three or four seconds): I guess when you’ve seen one widow, you’ve seen them all. (He strides toward the left exit)
Widow: Oh, where are you going, Mr. … You never introduced yourself!
Stark (turning about at the exit): Verisimilitude!
Widow: Oh, how nice. Is that Italian? (He exits without another look) Well! How rude! What a thoughtless … exciting man!
(George Garsen enters right with Grandma Garrett)
Garsen: A saloon is no place for you to enter, Grandma Garrett.
Grandma: For the hundredth time, don’t call me “Grandma”! I’m much younger than you think!
Widow: That’s right, George. She isn’t a day over seventy!
Garsen (seeing Widow at the bar): Widow Winslow!
Widow (a bit exasperated): “Cynthia,” George! “Cynthia”!
Grandma: Seventy be derned! I’m not ten years older than you, ya man-hungry hussy!
Widow: Oh really? I do declare, that must make you just thirty-nine!
Grandma: The day you saw twenty-nine George Washington chopped down the cherry tree!
Widow: Since you know what day it was, Grandma Garrett, you must have seen him do it!
(Each woman looks at George; then each looks at the other)
Grandma: You know, George, you just might be right!
Grandma: Competition be derned! The prize isn’t worth it! I’m goin’ to say hello to Digger Phelps! (She starts toward the left exit)
Widow: What a coincidence! I was about to pass his shop myself.
(Each hurries toward the left exit to beat the other. Widow arrives first, looks at Grandma, and laughs. Both exit)
Garsen (perplexed): Competition? A prize? What were they talking about? No prize here! (He shrugs his shoulders and starts drying a glass with his towel)
(Stark Verisimilitude enters left)
Garsen: What’ll you have, stranger?
Stark: Wretcher! He’s late!
Garsen: Oh, that all depends on where he’s supposed to be. Now if he’s on his horse and he’s supposed to be getting a haircut, …
Stark: Beat it.
Garsen: … then I’d say he’s late. (pause) “Beat it”?! But this is my saloon!
(In one swift motion Stark shoots Garsen’s hat off. Garsen stares at Stark for five seconds)
Stark (casually): Oooops. I missed.Garsen rushes out the right exit)
(Stark blows on the barrel tip of his pistol, spins his pistol several times around his trigger finger, and holsters it)
(Big Bill Wretcher enters left, sees Stark, and stops)
Big Bill: Verisimilitude?!
Big Bill: That’s right!
Stark: The name fits!
Stark: Where’s the money?
Big Bill: You get half now – the other half later. (Stark draws and puts the end of his pistol against Big Bill’s nostrils) How … about three-quarters now. (Stark cocks the firing pin) What the heck, take it all! (Stark lowers the pistol, spins it around his trigger finger, and holsters it)
Stark: When do I do it?
Stark: Gotta be tomorrow! Tomorrow’s Saturday. (sarcastically) Gotta be back t’teach my Sunday school class! (He chuckles at his joke)
(Digger Phelps enters and stands at the right entrance with Widow Winslow and Grandma Garrett)
Digger: Hey, Wretcher. When am I gonna get some stiffs?!
(Stark whirls and shoots the hat off Digger’s head)
Grandma: (her eyes glowing): Who is that handsome young feller?! My, can he shoot!
Widow: What a man!
(Stark spins his pistol into his holster)
Big Bill: Be here about this time tomorrow, undertaker!
Digger (picking up his hat): Uh, yes, Big Bill! Uh, who shall I expect to measure?
Big Bill (dramatically): Joe Garrett! (pause) And a gun fighter named Shane!
Stark (startled, then shows a worried look): Did you say … Sh-Sh-Shane?!
Big Bill: That’s right! Something wrong?!
Stark: Heard about him … back in
Big Bill: So?
Shane (a worried look): He blew a hole in a man in a pool hall with a .45. They rolled a cue ball through him before they buried him!
Big Bill: What does that have t’do with us?!
Stark (suddenly tough): Nothin’! Show me where I bed down!
Stark (after looking her over again, to Digger): You the undertaker?
Digger (extending his hand): Digger Phelps.
Stark (indicating Widow Winslow): Bury this! (He and Big Bill exit right)
Widow: Well, of all the nerve!
Grandma: Now there’s a man with smarts! A real prize! (She ambles out the right exit after him)
Digger (smiling to himself): Finally, some business! (He rubs his hands together) I wonder what coffin Mrs. Garrett would like, cherry wood, or pine? (He exits right followed by the Widow)
Widow: Now you just wait for me, Digger. Don’t you go runnin’ off without me, you hear?!