In Mitchido yesterday Richard Woods, a wealthy landowner, was shot down in cold blood whilst he was riding to town. He leaves behind his wife Katherine and daughter Annabel.
There is a gathering of his family and the townsfolk that afternoon to discuss what should be done. The people at the meeting look uneasy. They are not sure who will be arrested as the murderer and they are afraid that the gunslingers that are present might take the law into their own hands if they don’t like the verdict.
The people present at the meeting are:
Katherine Woods (widow of the murdered man): Although she comes from a very academic family, she prefers the pleasures of playing piano, at which she is very accomplished. She married Richard because her parents thought he came from a suitable family. She dislikes living in the country and would have far preferred the culture of city life.
Annabel Woods (daughter of the murdered man): A boyish girl who can ride well and shoot well. Her father has tried in vane to tame her and to make her a lady. She is of the age when suitable marriage partners are being sought for her.
Clyde Williams (Sheriff): He is a fair man who finds it difficult being Sheriff of this town because his wages are so small he has to accept gifts in order to survive. And the gift givers expect favours in return which often conflict with his desire to uphold law and order.
Mary Williams (Sheriff’s wife): She supports her husband’s aims to be a good officer of the law. Although she is a virtuous woman, many men can’t take their eyes off her because of her good looks.
Joe Calsis (barber): A friendly man whom everyone feels comfortable with and confides in. There is little he doesn’t know about what is going on around town. He has never married, even though he is popular amongst the ladies in town.
Frank Reyes (landowner): He is Richard’s neighbour. He is a widow and has always been fair to his workers – red, black or white. He and Richard have been feuding for years because Richard dammed up a river, rendering a fifth of Frank’s property useless.
Eddie Thomas (black slave): Eddie is a Church going, hardworking black man who just wants to go through life with as little trouble as possible. He works for Frank Reyes, the murdered man’s neighbour.
Luke Hansen (farm hand): He is a hardworking, handsome young man. He worked for Richard until he was sacked last year because of his amorous intentions for Annabel. Now he works for Frank Reyes and he is treated like a son by him.
Red-Eye Mitchell (gunslinger): He was brought to town by Frank Reyes because Frank wanted someone on his side to help with a showdown. He is a professional killer and not the sort of guy anyone would meddle with.
Lulu Peachy (Can-Can girl): Lulu is a dancer at the bar, but she would prefer to be a singer in a larger town. She has been the illicit companion of Richard for over a year.
Spring Leaf (Indian girl): She came to work for Richard and Katherine as a maid when her parents were killed during the early battles in the settlement of the West. She is very quiet and very obedient.
Margaret Read (shop-owner’s wife): She is married to a very timid man called Nicholas. As a result it is she who really runs the store. If there is any trouble about money, she readily pulls out her gun.
Red Eye Mitchell: “I grew up with the Indians but when I became a man, they said I had to leave because I wasn’t one of them.”
What they’ve said
Tina McIntosh, Red Gum Cottage, Tamworth, NSW, Australia
“Murder on the Prairie” is fun for a very loud group, or that’s what we had. The group added songs from Annie Oakley movies. They had a heap of fun. I decorated the room like a saloon.”
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