Below we present the complete text of “The Fall of Liberty Gulch”, episode 4 of our new Weird Western; Where Death Comes Uninvited. This is a brand new (unpublished) series (featuring a brand new roster of heroes including Jim Wilkes – the Sheriff, Annie Deems – the Crack Shot, Speeding Elk – the Tracker, and Sally Turner – the Gambler). If you would like to see these new stories advance from being drafts into polished publications then please consider supporting us by purchasing one or more of our previously published titles. Every sale directly funds the production of new stories.
Where Death Comes Uninvited
EPISODE #4 – THE FALL OF LIBERTY GULCH
by Philip Craig Robotham
Cover Illustration by Miyukiko
Copyright 2016 Philip Craig Robotham
Creative Commons Attritubution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Edition .
This play is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) International license. This play may not be commercially reproduced, performed, or sold. Non-commercial production, performance, and reproduction is allowed under this license so long as attribution is maintained. No derivative content or use is allowed. It can be freely shared in its current form (without change) under this license. If you would like to purchase one or more copies of this work (for your own personal non-commercial use, or to help financially support the author) then please return to http://www.weirdworlstudios.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Other works by this author can be found at the author’s website: http://www.weirdworldstudios.com or through select, online book retailers.
Serial #1: Where Death Comes Uninvited
Jim Wilkes, former U.S Marshall, drifts into town to become the new Sheriff, but all is not as it should be. When he arrives, the town is in mourning, many of its children having been killed in a fire at the schoolhouse/church. He greets a wall of suspicion against outsiders, the spectre of multiple unsolved murders, strange and unnatural events, and a saloon keeper that seems to rule the town with an iron fist. In his quest to confront the evil power behind the town he must recruit allies, discover the frightening source of the towns wealth, prevent an indian war, and pass through death itself. Can he do so before death has a chance to claim the entire town?
Episodes in the Host Your Own “Old Time Radio Drama” series are designed to provide a fun dinner party experience for 6–8 participants. Read along, taking on the role of one or more of the characters in the story, and listen as the exciting drama unfolds. This is the theater of the mind, where the special effects are only limited by your imagination, and your participation will build a memory that you’ll treasure for years to come.
Where Death Comes Uninvited
NARRATOR: The Narrator
JIM WILKES: Sheriff of Liberty Gulch
ABE FARROW: Drifter
DAN WILSON: Mayor of Liberty Gulch
CROW’S SHADOW: Medicine Man
LEAPING TOAD: Apprentice Medicine Man
BRAVE #1: Indian Brave
CHIEF: Indian Chief
VILLAGERS: Indian Villagers
SFX: SFX operator (1 required)
SCENE 15: INT – TENT IN AN INDIAN VILLAGE – NIGHT (JIM, ABE, CROW’S SHADOW, LEAPING TOAD)
- MUSIC: OPENING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
- NARRATOR: Jim Wilkes, Sherriff of Liberty Gulch, and his deputy Abe Farrow, have tracked the murderous mayor into the desert only to have him get the drop on them, take them captive, and to discover he is a shape shifting monster. The mayor has left them to be taken captive by the local indian tribe, on who’s lands they have been trespassing in pursuit of the mayor.
- SOUND: (WALLA) CRICKETS, INDIAN DRUMS, LOW INDIAN SINGING – ESTABLISH AND UNDER
- JIM: (GROANING) Ugh! Where am I?
- ABE: Take it easy. You’ve been out for a while. If you want to know anything, ask him.
- JIM: (GRUNTS) Ugh. My hands are tied.
- ABE: Mine too.
- JIM: Who did you say I should talk to?
- ABE: Him.
- CROW’S SHADOW: You awake now. Good. Head hurt?
- JIM: Yeah. Who’re you?
- CROW’S SHADOW: I am Crow’s Shadow of the Navajo nation. I am the medicine man of my people.
- JIM: Where am I?
- CROW’S SHADOW: You are guests in my tent.
- JIM: Guests huh? Do you always tie your guests up.
- CROW’S SHADOW: Only when they are also prisoners.
- JIM: Why are we here?
- CROW’S SHADOW: You were found trespassing on our land.
- JIM: No, I mean why are we still alive?
- CROW’S SHADOW: Ah. You are to stand trial. The spirits will be consulted about your destiny.
- JIM: That’s better’n being turned into a pincushion by your arrows I s’pose.
- CROW’S SHADOW: Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on your destiny. You wear a Sheriff’s badge from the town of the white faces, yes? Why do you enter our land?
- JIM: I was chasing a murderer, a killer of children. I thought he was unsuspecting but he was ready for us.
- CROW’S SHADOW: You did not come for the glittering rocks?
- JIM: What?
- CROW’S SHADOW: The ground was opened where we found you. Much rock had been taken.
- JIM: Oh, the mine. No, we weren’t after the mine. The man we were chasing had dug it out. Probably over many years.
- CROW’S SHADOW: Hmmm. There is no lie in your voice. Do you know the true nature of the one you pursue?
- JIM: What do you mean?
- CROW’S SHADOW: He is an enemy to my people – to all peoples. He looks like a man but is a spirit from beyond. My people call him Naagloshi – skin walker. He wears the faces of men and beasts. The face of the man he wears now belongs to one who died in this desert many moons ago. He digs cursed rock from the ground to infect others.
- ABE: That’s a load of hogwash. Do you really expect us to believe…
- CROW’S SHADOW: Believe what you like, white man. I speak the truth and what you believe cannot change that.
- JIM: (MUSING) Given what we’ve seen recently I’m willing to take a little bit on faith. What’s that you were saying about cursed rock? I don’t think I really understood that.
- CROW’S SHADOW: Cursed rock is the shining rock the skin walker has been digging from the ground. It weakens the barrier between this world and the next. A man who holds the cursed rock will become infected and turn into a habitation for the skin-walker’s servants. Given time such a one becomes a gate to allow more evil things into our world.
- JIM: Since you’re telling us all this, I take it you intend to let us go?
- CROW’S SHADOW: If my people will permit it. You trespassed on our lands, but I do not think you did so with evil intent. We may set you free, but only to pursue the skin-walker in payment of your debt to us. We may even help you.
- JIM: And if you don’t?
- CROW’S SHADOW: You will not like that very much. Best not to think about it.
- SOUND: COMMOTION OUTSIDE. ANGRY VOICES. TENT FLAP OPENS AND MAN PUSHES ROUGHLY THROUGH.
- LEAPING TOAD: (ANGRY) You go too far, Crow’s Shadow!
- CROW’S SHADOW: (RESIGNED) What is it this time, Leaping Toad? Have you been too long in the saddle again?
- LEAPING TOAD: You make bad jokes and think yourself very funny! I am not impressed.
- CROW’S SHADOW: I am too old for your foolishness and you do not show proper respect. What do you want?
- LEAPING TOAD: These men are trespassers. They must die for their crimes.
- CROW’S SHADOW: So you think? This one bears the symbol of authority on his chest. If we kill him, what then? The whites will send others, maybe soldiers. We are not the strength we once were. We could not hold them back. In my youth I fought the white soldiers. I do not wish to see our braves die without reason.
- LEAPING TOAD: You are a coward. You let these men live in defiance of our traditions and laws. I will not stand for it.
- CROW’S SHADOW: Ah, so that is it. You wish to challenge me. You have always been impatient.
- LEAPING TOAD: There is no-one in this camp who has mastered the herbs and smoke better than I. My knowledge has grown and I now surpass you. I should be medicine man, not you.
- CROW’S SHADOW: Knowledge is not wisdom, Leaping Toad, and you are a fool. I regret that I ever chose you for the training.
- LEAPING TOAD: Your regrets are nothing. I have delivered my challenge and today you will die for your insults.
- CROW’S SHADOW: So you seize upon this as an excuse. Alright, but I warn you, Leaping Toad, it is you who will not survive this day.
- LEAPING TOAD: Bring your prisoners out into the firelight. Let them witness your demise.
- MUSIC: (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
SCENE 16: – EXT – INJUN CAMPFIRE – MOMENTS LATER (JIM, ABE, BRAVE#1, LEAPING TOAD, CROW’S SHADOW, ONLOOKERS, CHIEF)
- SOUND: (WALLA) CRICKETS, CRACKLE OF FLAME, DRUMS, CHANTING – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
- JIM AND ABE: (GRUNTING AS THEY ARE FORCED TO THE GROUND)
- SOUND: JIM AND ABE BEING FORCED TO THE GROUND – LET IT FINISH.
- BRAVE #1: Do not move. You can watch but do not interfere.
- ABE: (STAGE WHISPER) What’s going on here.
- JIM: (STAGE WHISPER) I don’t know. Some kind of challenge against the medicine man, I think.
- LEAPING TOAD: I am Leaping Toad. You know me and my life here. I have been trained by Crow’s Shadow and I know him. He has become arrogant and has wandered from the path. He says that these men who trespass on our land are the enemies of our enemy and that we should ally ourselves with them. I say they are liars, who pretend for the sake of their skins and scalps. I say Crow’s Shadow has grown fearful and afraid. He fears the white-eyes and so, in cowardice, gives in to them and abandons our ways and laws. Our law has been broken and they must be punished. This is what I say to the people.
- CROW’S SHADOW: I am Crow’s Shadow. You know me and my life here. I trained Leaping Toad in secrets of the medicine man and he has long wished for my place in the tribe. He accuses me of arrogance but is arrogant himself. These white-eyes wear the tin star. They have much medicine among their people. To kill them is to invite war. They are tasked by their people with pursuing breakers of white-eyes law. Our enemy has killed children among them and they have pursued him into our lands. It is wisdom to let them go and try to bring our enemy down for us. This is what I say to the people.
- CHIEF: How will we know which path has the most wisdom?
- LEAPING TOAD: By trial of medicine. Whoever has the greater medicine will prevail.
- CROW’S SHADOW: This is foolish and can only end in sadness.
- CHIEF: I am Chief. It is Leaping Toad’s right to make challenge. Begin the trial of medicine. This is what I say to the people.
- ONLOOKERS: (MURMURS GROW QUIET).
- SOUND: MAGICAL CHIME – LET IT FINISH.
- ABE: What in Sam Hill?
- JIM: Looks like more of that injun magic you don’t believe in.
- ONLOOKERS: (MURMURS OF APPRECIATION)
- ABE: The one called Leaping Toad is starting to glow and change shape.
- JIM: He’s turning into a glowing blue bear.
- LEAPING TOAD: (ROARS LIKE A BEAR).
- SOUND: MAGICAL CHIME – LET IT FINISH.
- ABE: Now the other one’s changing. Not a bear this time, but a Coyote.
- CROW’S SHADOW: (GROWLS LIKE A COYOTE)
- SOUND: BEAR AND COYOTE FIGHTING, SNARLS, ROARS ETC. – ESTABLISH AND UNDER. CONTINUE UNTIL 718.
- JIM: I’m seeing it, but I’m struggling to believe it.
- ABE: The coyote’s attacking the bear, darting in and out. But I don’t understand…
- JIM: He’s trying to bring the bear down. He’s aiming to ham-string the creature.
- ABE: The bear’s not even getting close.
- LEAPING FORG: (PITEOUS ROAR OF PAIN).
- SOUND: BEAR’S BODY FALLS TO GROUND.
- JIM: The coyote’s done it. The creature has fallen.
- ABE: Hang on something else is happening.
- SOUND: TWO MAGICAL CHIMES IN CLOSE SUCCESSION – LET IT FINISH.
- SOUND: SCREAMS AND YELLS OF SHOCK AND FEAR FROM THE TRIBE – LET IT FINISH.
- JIM: Crow’s Shadow is back to normal but Leaping Toad is changing.
- SOUND: WET RIPPING NOISES AND INHUMAN ROARS OF PAIN – ESTABLISH AND UNDER. CONTINUE UNTIL 728.
- ABE: Something’s tearing its way out of him.
- CROW’S SHADOW: He was arrogant and weakened himself too much. The spirit he sought to control has taken over. We must kill the body before the transformation is complete.
- CHIEF: Braves, kill Leaping Toad.
- SOUND: WHOOSH THUNK OF MANY ARROWS. PITEOUS ROARS AS SPIRIT CREATURE IS STRUCK – LET IT FINISH.
- CROW’S SHADOW: He is gone.
- CHIEF: The way of wisdom is now clear. (TO CROW’S SHADOW) Free these men and send them back. Return their horses and give them what aid you feel is right. Your medicine has prevailed.
- MUSIC: (BRIDGE) SLIGHTLY SAD SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
SCENE 17: EXT – SILVER MINE – NIGHT (JIM, CROW’S SHADOW ABE)
- SOUND: (WALLA) CRICKETS, OCCASIONAL OWL, JANGLE OF HARNESS, AND CLIP CLOP OF THREE SLOW MOVING HORSES – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
- JIM: Is that the mine up ahead, Crow’s Shadow?
- CROW’S SHADOW: Yes. But your enemy is gone. And the rock with him.
- ABE: I ain’t at all sure how we’re supposed to fight this thing, if it’s already dead.
- CROW’S SHADOW: You are not. This task falls to another.
- JIM: Who then?
- CROW’S SHADOW: You. Your destinies lie along separate paths and you will not be together on this trail much longer.
- JIM: How do you know this?
- CROW’S SHADOW: I read the signs in the rocks and wind and in your blood. For you there is a great struggle ahead. For him, a different journey.
- ABE: Well, if that don’t beat all.
- SOUND: HORSES STOP.
- CROW’S SHADOW: I will accompany you no further. From here you should be able to find your way back to the town of the white eyes. Be careful. I do not think you will find things as you left them. Before you go I wish to give you this.
- JIM: A necklace?
- CROW’S SHADOW: Mmmm. It will protect you from the corrupting power of the rock. The Naagloshi knows you are coming.
- JIM: I still don’t know how we’re supposed to kill it.
- CROW’S SHADOW: The Skin Walker’s power comes from the cursed rock. He is also vulnerable to it. Tip your arrows with the rock and pierce his heart. In this way you will bring him down.
- JIM: We don’t use arrows.
- CROW’S SHADOW: Then perhaps you will die.
- SOUND: CROW’S SHADOW’S HORSE MOVES AWAY.
- CROW’S SHADOW: (FROM A DISTANCE) Farewell, white eyes.
- ABE: Ain’t he a little ray of sunshine.
- JIM: Ahuh. I guess we still got ourselves a job to do.
- ABE: I guess so.
- SOUND: HORSES BEGIN MOVING AGAIN – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
- ABE: How long do you reckon til we reach town.
- JIM: We should be there just before dawn.
- ABE: I thought as much. That’s quite a ride, and aside from the clubbing we took, we ain’t had no sleep.
- JIM: I’m pretty sure we cain’t afford to take the time.
- ABE: I suppose not. Let’s go. (BEAT) Hey, Sherrif?
- JIM: Yeah?
- ABE: Do you feel like we’re bein’ watched?
- JIM: Ahuh. I keep catching their eyes in the moonlight.
- ABE: Injuns?
- JIM: Mountain lions. (BEAT) I think the mayor is watching us.
- MUSIC: (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER.
SCENE 18: EXT – ENTERING THE TOWN OF LIBERTY FROM THE DESERT – DAWN (ABE, JIM, DAN)
- SOUND: (WALLA) WALKING OF HORSES – ESTABLISH AND UNDER.
- JIM: Sun’ll be up soon.
- ABE: The town’s straight ahead of us, but there ain’t a light in sight.
- JIM: I’ll grant you that it’s a bit odd. Usually there’s a candle or two to be seen and the Saloon is almost never closed.
- SOUND: GUN BEING DRAWN AND COCKED – LET IT FINISH.
- ABE: You think we’ll be needing these.
- JIM: I do.
- SOUND: SECOND GUN BEING DRAWN AND COCKED – LET IT FINISH,
- JIM: Keep your eyes peeled.
- SOUND: A FEW BEATS OF BACKGROUND WALLA THEN GUNSHOT, NEIGH OF STARTLED HORSE – LET IT FINISH.
- ABE: I’m hit! Damn it!
- SOUND: HORSE REARS AND BODY THUMP AS ABE HITS GROUND.
- JIM: Damn it, Abe. Are you alright. (BEAT) The townsfolk are pouring out of the buildings. Get up. (BEAT) Damn it. What’s the matter with their eyes? They’re silver!
- SOUND: SNARLING HISSING NOISES AS TOWNSFOLK CHARGE FORWARD AND DRAG JIM FROM HORSE.
- JIM: Stay back. I don’t want to shoot you. Stay baaack.
- SOUND: THUD OF HEAVY ROCK.
- JIM: (GROANS AS PASSES OUT) Ugh!
- DAN: (LAUGHING – UNDER AND UP) Bwahahahahaha.
- SOUND: SNARLING ETC.- FADE OUT – LEAVING ECHOING LAUGH OF MAYOR UNDERNEATH – LET IT FINISH.
- MUSIC: (BRIDGE) OMINOUS SCENE ENDER – LET IT FINISH.
- MUSIC: CLOSING THEME – LET IT FINISH.
CASTING SHEETS — MAJOR CHARACTERS
NARRATOR: Hello, I am your narrator. I introduce the cold stormy nights on which our stories take place, the dark alleys, and darker personalities who inhabit the lonely city. It is my job to set the scene and establish the serious tone of suspense and intrigue that will carry the story forwards. It is also my job to remind listeners of what came before in a calm, trustworthy voice and ensure that everyone is oriented to where we are and where we are going.
JIM WILKES: I’m the new Sheriff of Liberty Gulch. I’ve been a lawman fer a long time. Liberty was meant to be a change – a chance to relax after my time as a U.S. Marshall. It don’t look like I’ll be doing much relaxing though. This town badly needs some law so’s I expect I’ll have my work cut out fer me.
ABE FARROW: I was passing through when someone burned the Church down with a bunch a young-uns in it. As the only stranger in town, I ended up in the jail-house. They’ll be comin’ to lynch me real soon, I expect. Ironic that this is how it’ll end. I’m an ex-lawman who’s gonna swing at the end of a rope.
DAN WILSON: I’m the Mayor of this town and its richest man. I’m charming and friendly and I rule this burgh without being gainsaid. This town is mine and I don’t care who knows it. No-one crosses me and gets away with it.
CROW’S SHADOW: I have power, but I respect and fear it. I can work great medicine but I do not do so lightly. I perform dances for my people, to cure sickness, to bring rain, and to protect our lands from the nagloshi and other spirits from beyond.
CASTING SHEETS — MINOR CHARACTERS
LEAPING TOAD: I have power, and, unlike some, I am not an old woman, afraid to use it. Crow’s Shadow has become weak and fearful. He is no longer fit to provide medicine to our people. I should be appointed in his place.
CHIEF: I am old and have wisdom. I wish my people well. It is my part to hear the voices of my people and make the choices that will affect us all.
BRAVES (AND VILLAGERS): I follow the traditions of my people. I fear the spirits and the powers of the medicine men. I look to my chief for wisdom and protection and I follow his decisions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Philip Craig Robotham grew up in a house full of books and has held numerous jobs as a teacher, computer programmer, graphic and web designer, e-learning consultant and, most recently, writer. He currently lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and two sons. When he was younger and fitter he enjoyed martial arts, but in recent years his hobbies have tended towards more sedate fare (board games, movies, books, and role-playing games).
He is extremely grateful for the encouragement he receives from his biggest fans — his wife and two boys — all of whom read and enjoy his scripts and in general make his life worth living.
You can contact the author regarding performance rights (or simply to say hello) through his website: http://www.weirdworldstudios.com.
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This post and all its content is copyright © 2013 Philip Craig Robotham and has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license. This play cannot be reproduced, shared, or performed commercially without the written permission of the author. The production of derivative content, merchandise, or creative works and materials is expressly forbidden under this agreement. However you may share, reproduce, and perform this play freely so long as authorship is acknowledged, no money changes hands, and the play is not modified in any way.