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James Marshall: (calling over his shoulder as he pretends to dig away, working on the water wheel) Yes sir, Mr. Sutter! I think we’re almost finished. We’ll have this water wheel ready in no time. Then you can pay me 95 cents you owe me for the labor. (He stops and looks down.) What’s this? (He picks up a stone.) Could it possibly be? (He bites on it. In awe he says) Gold! (then more excitedly) Gold!!! (Then he shouts with joy.) Mr. Sutter! Iiiiiiii quit!! (He yells as he runs off stage L) GOOOOOOLD!!!
(First from offstage and then from all around the audience, we hear people yelling “Gold,” as though it’s being passed along from one person to the next from the West Coast all the way back East. Finally from stage R, a young editorial newspaper writer for the Terre Haute Express by the name of John Soule rushes in.)
John Soule: Wow! The hills of California are covered with GOLD! I know exactly what my editorial will be in the paper tomorrow. (He holds up his hands as though showing a marquee.) Go West, Young Man! And grow up with the country! That’s it! Go West, Young Man! Go West!
SONG: GO WEST!
(The wagon master is trying to get people to move along in order to begin the trip West.)
Wagon Master: Hurry up now, folks! We have to get this wagon train a-moving or we’ll never get to California before the winter snows make the mountain passes - impassable!!
Pioneer Woman: We’re ready to go, Wagon Master. We’ll be with you all the way to Oregon, where they say land is fertile and free for the takin’!
Pioneer Man: We’ll be rich as kings!
Wagon Master: How about you cowboys? Are you ready to go?
Cowpoke 1: We’re ready, boss. But what’s the hurry? We can only go as fast as the cattle, and these longhorns have a pace of their own.
Wagon Master: (with some disgust) Longhorns! Shorthorns! Looks like I’m saddled with a bunch of Greenhorns!
Miner 1: Don’t worry boss! The miners are ready to go, with an itch to get rich!
Miner 2: We’ll be with you until Idaho, boss, and then we’re heading south to Californ-i-ay!
Miner 3: We’ll be rich in a matter of days!
Robert Fulton: You people are crazy! Why go by wagon to the West? It will take forever! There will be blizzards, deserts, no water, sand, skunks and snakes!
Steamboat Captain: Why don’t you get smart and come along with us on my sensational steamboat? We’ll go down to New Orleans, then take a clipper ship ‘round the horn and beat you to California by a week and a day.
Robert Fulton: We’ll be rich…
Steamboat Captain: …while you’re still ploddin’ along…
Fulton and Captain: (smiling together)…poor as dirt.
Wagon Master: We’ll see about that, Mr. Fulton! We’ll see about that.
Mr. Henry: (a railroad man holding up a golden railroad spike) It won’t be long before we can make this trip by locomotive. I’ve got the golden spike right here that will join the rails together from east and west and make wagon trains a thing of the past. Railroads! That’s the way to get rich in the west.
Wagon Master: That could be true, Mr. Henry, but in the meantime, this wagon train is all we’ve got. How about you, Mr. Brigham Young?
Brigham Young: We’re ready to go, boss, and I can tell you know, we’re going to make that desert blossom as the rose!
Wagon Master: I’m sure you will, Mr. Young. I’m sure you will. Speaking of roses, are you ready, Yellow Rose?
Yellow Rose: (smiling) Of course, I’m ready, mister. Come on, boys. Let’s get a move on! I’m on my way to Texas and I haven’t got time to waste.
Tex: I’m with you, Yellow Rose.
Yellow Rose: Listen boys, I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor! Rich is better and I plan to be it.
Tex: I’ve heard that the new state of Texas is the place to be for real riches and adventure.
All: (cheering) Remember the Alamo!
Wagon Master: (Rolling his eyes) Everybody wants to get rich. Well, enough of this jawin’. Load ‘em up and let’s get going.
Mayor: Now, just a minute, Wagon Master.
Wagon Master: (rolling his eyes again) Oh boy! Here we go. Another long-winded speech by a politician.
Mayor: As Mayor of Independence, I want to take this auspicious occasion to say, that this new adventure on which you are about to embark, will change your lives and our land forever and ever. Therefore, I wish you the very best of luck, and when you strike it rich, don’t forget about your little old friends back here in the east. Remember all that we have done for you. Now, bon voyage, my friends and may God speed!
Wagon Master: Ladies and gentlemen, pathfinders and prospectors, cowpokes and gamblers it’s time!
Cowpoke 1: (waving) So long, folks! Hope ya’ll have a save and pleasant trip.
Cowpoke 2: Boy, everybody sure is in a hurry, aren’t they, partner?
Cowpoke 3: They sure are. I guess they think the gold is gonna run out before they get there.
Hank: Well, maybe they’re right.
Cowpokes 1,2,3: (looking at him shocked) What?
Cowpoke 1: I thought you said there was gold enough for everyone in the West?
Cowpoke 2: Yeah, Hank, you said that if we came along with your this cattle drive, we’d know riches like we’ve never seen before.
(They all look at Cowpoke 3 like he should say something.)
Cowpoke 3: (after a pause as though he has nothing to say, he points to Cowpoke 2) What he said.
Hank: I wasn’t lyin’ to ya, boys. The West is filled with riches enough for everyone.
Cowpoke 1: What do ya mean, Hank?
Cowpoke 2: Yeah, Hank! What do ya mean?
Cowpoke 3: (Again, after a pause as though he has nothing to say, he points to Cowpoke 2) What he said.
Hank: What I mean is that some people will find gold like the kind you find in coins and jewelry.
Cowpokes 1,2,3: (hopefully) Yeah?
Hank: Others will find gold in the form of fertile fields and bountiful forests.
Cowpokes 1,2,3: (hopefully) Yeah?
Hank: And others will find gold in the life of a cowboy- free from crowds, free from fences, free to ride the range with nothin’ but open air and bright clear skies.
Cowpokes 1,2,3: (smiling with understanding) Yeah!
Hank: So, come on, boys. There’s no hurry. I’ll show you real gold! Just follow my pony and me.
SONG: MY PONY AND ME
Robert Fulton: (talking with gleeful sarcasm to the audience; pretending to be perplexed, but in reality, smiling and smug) Let’s see, you could pack up yourself and your entire family, stick them in the back of a covered wagon and travel about two miles an hour through deserts, blizzards, dangerous mountain passes and quicksand.
Steamboat Captain: you could fight off mountain lions, rattlesnakes, scorpions and a whole slew of other unpleasantries and maybe make it to the West more dead than alive.
Robert Fulton: OR, you could get on board our luxury steamboat and make your way to the riches of the West!
Steamboat Captain: We’ll ride on smooth waters, eat three square meals a day and enjoy entertainment nightly, Hmm? I just can’t decide!
Captain’s First Mate: (calling) All aboard! All aboard the Mississippi Queen - the neweset steamboat in the newest land, headin’ west on the river of dreams. All aboard!
Scene 5 (train sound effect)
Peter Cooper: (inventor of the Tom Thumb, one of the first locomotives in the U.S.) All aboard? I’ll get on board alright but not on some old steamboat. I’m heading out West on iron horses.
Townsperson: Iron horses? What do you mean, Mr. Cooper?
Peter Cooper: I mean railroad! I’ve got a locomotive here I call the Tom Thumb, i guarantee he will be the fastest and best way to get to the West this country has ever known.
Townsperson 2: You must be kidding? Ride that thing all the way out West?
Horse Owner: No train locomotive could ever be as fast or as reliable as a good team of horses.
Peter Cooper: Now that’s where you’re wrong, sir. I’m so confident that my Tom Thumb is the way of the future, that I’ll wager you a week’s pay that he can outrace your horse any day.
Horse Owner: Outrace my horse with that contraption? You’re on, mister! You’re on!
(They shake hands.)
(All the cast members get to the front of the stage and watch and imaginary race between the train and the horse from stage L to R.)
Announcer 1: Is the Tom Thumb ready?
(A train whistle blows.)
Announcer 1: Is the horse ready?
(There is a whinny.)
Announcer 1: On your mark!
Announcer 2: Get set!
Both Announcers: Go!! (Perhaps a popgun shot to start the race. There is crowd noise throughout.)
Announcer 1: And they’re off! The horse gets off to a quick start, as Tom Thumb is slow on the take off.
Announcer 2: Now Tom Thumb is picking up the pace a little and making up some distance, sure and steady, like a …a… well…like a train.
Announcer 1: They’re comin’ ‘round the bend now and…could it be? Yes! Yes! The Tom Thumb has taken the lead, out pacing the horse, who seems to be huffing and puffing like a…a…well, like a horse, of course.
Announcer 2: They’re coming down the home stretch now and it looks like the Tom Thumb is destined to be the…no, wait! The Tom Thumb seems to be losing steam!
Announcer 1: Something catastrophic has happened to the locomotive train! The horse has pulled back into the lead.
Announcer 2: The horse has crossed the finish line and wins the race! (Crowd cheering)
Peter Cooper: (clearly disappointed) Well, here’s your money, sir. Your horse won fair and square.
Horse Owner: Aw, keep your money, Cooper. My horse did win the race today. But it’s clear to me and everybody here, including my horse (there is a whinny), that the wave of the future is definitely with locomotives like Tom Thumb.
Townsperson 3: I’m headin’ West! And I’m takin’ my dreams on the fastest way by far-the locomotive!
Mr. Henry: (the man with the golden spike) Now hold your horses there, friend. (another whinny) You’re right that the locomotive will be a great way to get to the West, but first we’ve got to lay miles and miles of track.
Townsperson 3: I knew there’d be a catch.
Mr. Henry: But don’t worry. Already a team of workers is putting down track from west to east. and another from east to west. It won’t be long and the two will meet and give us a railroad all the way to the West Coast. I hold right here the golden spike that will join the two together.
Townsperson 3: Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s make some tracks of our own!
Mr. Henry: You’re singin’ my song, partner!
SONG: KEEP ROLLIN’
Pioneer Woman 1: We will build our home on a prairie from whatever we can find. It won’t be full of riches yet, welcoming and kind.
Pioneer Man 1: It will be warm enough for winter and though it may seem odd, we will build our home on a prairie; we will build our home of sod.
Miner 1: I will live by myself in the side of a hill and everything that I save, I will bury in the ground inside my home for my home will be a cave.
Native American: My home is made for travel, it’s portable, you see; mad from hides and sturdy poles. It comes and goes with me.
Trapper Woman: We’ll make our home in a shady glen from logs and mud and stone.
Trapper Man: And though we’re far from all we’ve loved, we’ll never be alone.
Pioneer Woman 2: Our journey may be lonesome yet anywhere we roam,
Pioneer Man 2: Where we work together side by side, that will be our home.
SONG: WHERE I MAKE MY HOME
Miner 1: Gold! Gold!! There’s gold in them thar hills!
(The cast is not impressed.)
(The following music is played while the remaining Scene 7 dialog is spoken.)
(spoken over music)
Yellow Rose: Yeah! Yeah! We’ve heard it all before. The only gold we’ve found so far is “Fools” gold!
Mr. Henry: The trip to the West was not filled with all the treasures our travelers had in mind.
Brigham Young: It sure took us a lot longer that we thought to make the desert bloom as a rose.
Miner 2: But wait! The gold in them thar hills is as much there today as it’s ever been.
Pioneer Woman 2: What do you mean?
Miner 2: Look! Everybody who came to the West didn’t get rich by finding rivers running with gold.
All: I’ll say!
Miner 3: But the riches of the West were discovered many other places.
All: Like what?
Farmer: Like in the waving fields of grain!
Trapper Man: The bounties of the forest!
Sailor: The wonders of the ocean!
Cowpoke 1: The wide-open spaces with room enough to grow.
Miner 3: All of that and more! The West is about ideas as much as anything else.
Robert Fulton: I get it! It’s the idea of the West that drew people there.
Steamboat Captain: The idea that you could pursue your dreams
Yellow Rose: Be the best that you can be.
Mr. Henry: The idea that anything was possible!
Mayor of Independence: And that you had the right to pursue it.
Cowpoke 2: Hey! That’s the American Dream!
Miner 2: And that my friends, is the real goodly the American West!
Announcer 1: There’s gold in them thar hills, all right!
Steamboat Captain: And in the rivers!
Mountain Man: The mountains!
Pioneer Woman 1: The plains!
Robert Fulton: And in people who use their ideas to pursue the American Dream.
All: (with genuine, quiet awe looking over the audience’s heads) It’s all…gold!
Wagon Master: (after a pause; with determination) Let’s go get some!! (everyone cheers)