October 23, 2010
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Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN

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The Lives of the Cowboys

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(THEME)

SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS......brought to you by Rainbow Motor Oil and the Rainbow Family of Automotive Products. (HORSES HOOVES, RIDING ALONG)

TR: Sure ain’t changed much. Saloon. General Store. Livery stable. Depot. Jailhouse. Bank. Church.

GK: Lot of dust blowing down the street. No horses tied up to the hitching post. (WHOA.....THEY DISMOUNT. FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL) Church looks different.

TR: For Sale sign out front.

GK: Town drunk is over there, on the bench in front of the saloon. What’s going on, Benny?

TK: (DRUNK) They’re all gone. Cept me and Roxie.

GK: How come?

TK: Big Messer. (FOOTSTEPS ON WOOD)

GK:Huh. Saloon’s empty. (DOOR OPEN, PIANO CHORDS) Piano player isn’t playing “Camptown Races” — he always used to play “Camptown Races” —

RD: Can’t play “Camptown Races” — hands are shaking. Big Messer’s coming.

SS: Hey stranger, come on and belly up to the bar and have a glass of hooch.

TR: What’s going on in Yellow Gulch, Roxie? Everybody’s gone—

SS: You ain’t heard the news about Big Messer?

GK: What news?

SS: He got let out of prison two days ago. He’s on his way back here.

TR: You mean THE Big Messer.

SS: Ain’t but one Big Messer and he is it.

GK: Coming back for revenge, huh?

SS: Said he’s going to come back and burn down the town.

GK: Where’s the town marshal?

SS: Ran off this morning.

TR: When’s Big Messer expected?

SS: Afternoon train from Yuma pulls in — - (TRAIN WHISTLE) why there it is right now.

GK: So he’s on that train— Big Messer. Hey, where’s the piano player? Everybody skedaddled. (FOOTSTEPS) Dusty?? (DOOR OPEN, CLOSE) Hot sun out here. (FOOTSTEPS ON GRAVEL) (STEAM ENGINE SLOWING DOWN, CHUGGING, BIG HISS OF STEAM) Guess that must be Big Messer. The lean man with his hat pulled down low getting down off the coach. The squinty-eyed man walking this way. With the pistols stuck in his belt. (FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

FN (DEEP): I said I was a-coming back to Yellow Gulch and I come back and now I am a-gonna do what I said I would do and that is to shoot down every dirty lowdown lying no-good hombre who sent me up to the Big House for something I never done. You hear me? (CLICK PISTOL, SPIN CYLINDER)

GK: I just arrived in Yellow Gulch, mister. I wasn’t here when they done that to you. I’ve got no culpability whatsoever.

FN (DEEP): You just used the word “culpability”—

GK: Poor word choice, perhaps.

FN (DEEP): A man who uses the word “culpability” is likely a lawyer.

GK: Not I.

FN (DEEP): Or an associate of lawyers.

GK: Not hardly.

FN (DEEP): Or someone who graduated from high school.

GK: Barely.

FN (DEEP): The men who done me dirt was slick talking men just like yourself, men who used big words like “culpability”— I got nothing but contempt for men of that ilk. (HE HAWKS, SPITS, LONG PAUSE, DING OF SPITTON)

GK: That was what I call expert spitting.

FN (DEEP): When you’re sitting in prison, you got plenty of time to practice. And plenty of time to think about what you’re gonna do to the men who done you wrong.

GK: I don’t suppose it’d do any good to talk about the importance of mercy and forgiveness.
FN (DEEP): Ha! Forgiveness! (FIRES FOUR SHOTS IN THE AIR)

GK: Okay. Forget that. And how about “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

FN (DEEP): Ha! (TWO SHOTS)

GK: Okay. I won’t mention that then. I will mention that according to my count, you have fired six shots from your six-shooter, mister.

FN (DEEP): And I got another six shooter right here. (THREE SHOTS) —

GK: And I don’t suppose you want to hear me talk about the importance of facing the future rather than obsessing over the past— - (TWO SHOTS) or the job opportunites available to former gunfighters— (SHOT)

FN (DEEP): You’re getting me good and riled up, sir.

GK: You have just fired six shots from that six-shooter, mister.

FN (DEEP): You sure?

GK: I counted.

FN (DEEP): Then I guess you got to shoot me before I reload.

GK: You ain’t carrying an ammunition belt.

FN (DEEP): I can buy some bullets in the general store.

GK: You got any money?

FN (DEEP): No, but I can stick up the bank and get some.

GK: Not with no bullets you can’t.

FN (DEEP): And according to the cowboy code, you can’t shoot an unarmed man.

GK: That is the dilemma, yes. But I can challenge you to a spelling duel.

FN (DEEP): Ha!!!! I spent five years in prison doing nothing but studying spelling. I got you dead to rights, mister.

GK: Prove it. “Vicissitude”—

FN (DEEP): That’s easy. V-i-c-i-s-s-i-t-u-d-e. Vicissitude.

GK: Okay.

FN (DEEP): “Ancillary”—
GK: A-n-c-i-l-l-a-r-y. Ancillary.

FN (DEEP): All right. Your turn.

GK: There.

FN (DEEP): You mean “their” as in “they shot their guns” or “there” as in “they died there in the street”?

GK: That’s for me to know and you to figure out.

FN (DEEP): That’s not the American way, mister. Got no bullets in my guns and you’re forcing me to spell a word I don’t even know what it is. That’s what I call pusillanimous.

GK: You accusing me of pusillanimity? Then let’s hear you spell “pusillanimous”—

FN (DEEP): P-u-s-i-l-l— (A SNEEZE STARTS TO BUILD) — let me start again. P-u-s-i-l-l-a-n-i-m— (STARTS TO SNEEZE) — One more time...... P-u-s-i-l-l-a-n-i-m-o-u— (BIG SNEEZE).

GK: WRONG. P-u-s-i-l-l-a-n-i-m-o-u-s-s-s-s-h-h is not how to spell pusillanimous.

FN (DEEP): Dang it. (FAROFF WHISTLE)

GK: There’s your train, mister. Don’t let it leave without you.

FN (DEEP): I’ll be back. (FOOTSTEPS)

GK: Next time might not be so fortuitous, mister. (FOOTSTEPS)

TR: Boy, you sure showed him a thing or two.

GK: Well, somebody had to stand up to him.

SS: You saved Yellow Gulch.

GK: Not sure it was worth saving. (TRAIN WHISTLE)

RD: You want me to play “Camptown Races” for you? I got a harmonica.

GK: Nope. Never cared for it. Prefer cowboys songs.
(SINGS)

I am a cowboy til the day that I die
On a big dusty street neath a big empty sky.
Silent men with no literature,
Just whiskey and six-guns and heaps of manure.

I came to this town and it was high noon.
I faced down Big Messer and made him change his tune.
He accused me of pusillanimity
And I made him leave on the 5:23.

I am a cowboy and I know people trust us
To stand up for truth and honor and justice,
Defend the weak and stand up to the strong
And ever so often you stop for a song.

Whoopitiyiyo git along little doggies
You know Minnesota will be your new home.

FN (DEEP): Charisma!

GK: What??

FN (DEEP): I SAID— CHARISMA.

GK: Never heard of it.

(THEME)

SS: The Lives of the Cowboys.......brought to you by Thompson Tooth Tinsel......for brighter, more festive teeth.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

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