The Dalton Boys

By Greg Brook


In this Western spoof, a Stranger comes to the aid of a town menaced by the Dalton Boys. But his plans don't quite work out.


Four townsfolk
Hank Dalton
Zeke Dalton
Felicity Dalton
  (The Dalton Boys are so dim that none of them have realised one of their number is actually female.)
The Stranger – suave and confident, a cross between a tele-evangelist and cowboy hero


(Lights come up on a fairly clear stage. The NARRATOR enters.)

NARRATOR: In the days of the Wild West, when you had to be tough to survive, many legends grew up about the brave and plucky settlers, (the 4 TOWNSFOLK enter. React as Narrator speaks) just trying to lead a normal life, but who were surrounded on every side by a harsh, unforgiving climate, by tribes of Red Indians, and by bands of desperadoes. The story we’re going to tell you today is about one of these outlaw bands, a group of bandits feared from the Rocky Mountains to the sea. This is the story of the Dalton Boys. (The DALTON BOYS enter, from the other side). There were only three of them, but then three was as high as any of them could count.

HANK:  One.


ZEKE: And … the other one. (HANK whispers to him) Three!

NARRATOR:  Ma Dalton named her three sons Hank, Zeke and Felicity (each bows or curtseys as they are named) and their mother raised them to be the terror of the district, the menace of the whole county. When they came to town, people fled from the streets and hid quavering in their houses. (This is acted out, while the DALTON BOYS shoot the town up, including ZEKE attempting to hold up the NARRATOR). No, I’m the narrator.

(The DALTON BOYS exit exultantly, the TOWNSFOLK come together.)

What could these poor townsfolk do against this pitiless gang of outlaws? Who could save them from their distress? And then, one day, a stranger rode into town.

(NARRATOR moves away from stage centre, STRANGER enters and approaches the TOWNSFOLK.)

TOWNSFOLK 1: Howdy, stranger.

STRANGER: Well howdy ma’am, and how are y’all? (Said as if he genuinely cares)

TOWNSFOLK 1: Well, none too dandy, sir, but thanks for asking.

STRANGER: But this is such a perdy little town, and filled with so many fine upstanding people. How could you be unhappy in such a place as this?

TOWNSFOLK 2: It’s the Dalton Boys, sir!

TOWNSFOLK 3:  They come and raid us nearly every day and we can’t do anything about it!

TOWNSFOLK 4: Our lives aren’t worth living!

STRANGER: Of course your lives are worth the living. You’ve just got to learn to be more positive.

TOWNSFOLK 1: More positive, sir?

STRANGER: Oh, yes. They can’t make you feel scared; they can’t make you feel miserable. If you want to be happy and successful, all you have to do is tell yourself: I am going to be happy and successful. Think the best of yourself and it will happen. It’s as simple as that. (Big flashy smile)

TOWNSFOLK 4: Wow! I feel better already!

STRANGER: Now, tell me. What do the Dalton Boys do first when they come to town?

TOWNSFOLK 2:  They goes straight to the saloon and drinks down a pint of milk.

STRANGER: Well, you all listen up here. The next time they comes to town, we’re goin’ to have some surprises for them. Here’s what we’re goin’ to do. (All exit, whispering)

NARRATOR: The next day, when the three Dalton Boys rode into town (they enter, and head into saloon during next line) they thought things were going to be the same as they’d always been. But then, as they filed into the saloon, they noticed that something was different. For starters, the saloon wasn’t there. (They lean together on a imaginary bar which collapses as they realise it isn’t there) Secondly, the walls were no longer their old colour of dirty, smoke-stained brown, but a rather subtle shade of invisible. And thirdly, well, that was as high as they could count.

FELICITY: What’s happened to the saloon, Hank?

ZEKE: Yeah! What have they done with it?

HANK: I don’t know, but I’m gonna find out!

NARRATOR: The Dalton Boys were angry and surely someone was going to pay for this. (DALTON BOYS turn in the direction of the NARRATOR) The first person they met could expect no mercy with the boys in this mood. (He notices the DALTON BOYS have started to advance on him) I’m the narrator! (He’s getting nervous, they keep advancing) Just then, some of the townsfolk entered the square. (Pause. Nothing happens, except the DALTON BOYS are getting closer) Fairly quickly, actually!

(The TOWNSFOLK, led by the STRANGER, enter, and the DALTON BOYS transfer their attention to them. The NARRATOR tiptoes aside.)

HANK: What have you done with our saloon?

ZEKE: Yeah!

STRANGER:  Things are going to be a bit different around here from now on. You can’t bully us no longer. We’re gonna live here, and we’re gonna be happy.


STRANGER: Okay, everyone, let them have it.
(He leads the TOWNSFOLK in rousing singing)
 If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
 If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands
 If you’re happy and you know it
 And you really want to show it
 If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

(The DALTON BOYS move from being shocked, to cowering, to running off to a far corner of the stage. The TOWNSFOLK high-five and congratulate each other, heading to the back of the stage. The NARRATOR and the DALTON BOYS return to stage centre.)

NARRATOR: That night, as they gathered around their campfire, the Dalton Boys were a much sadder bunch of outlaws than they’d been for many a day. This band of desperadoes had been routed by a group of ordinary people without any guns (The DALTON BOYS’ attention is attracted by this) but with a determination that they were responsible for their own destiny.

HANK: Hold on there, partner. Me and the boys couldn’t help overhearing what you all was just saying. Now let me get this straight : did you say, “without any guns?”

NARRATOR: Ah, yes I did, “a group of ordinary people without any guns.”

ZEKE: Without guns! Ha, ha, ha, what was we scared of?

FELICITY: Let’s go get ‘em, boys!

(They head towards the TOWNSFOLK.)

STRANGER:  Quick everyone, “If you’re happy and you know it, stamp your feet!” (The DALTON BOYS shoot at the ground near their feet, making them dance) Stamp your feet, stamp your feet!

(Very soon, they surrender.)

TOWNSFOLK 3: Okay, you’ve got us.

TOWNSFOLK 2:  What are you going to do to us?

HANK:  Well, this week we’re collecting for Child Cancer.

STRANGER:  You’re what?

FELICITY:  Anyone care to make a donation?

ZEKE:  It’s a worthy cause. (They’re all sincere about this. Various TOWNSFOLK hand over some money.)

HANK:  Well, goodbye. Next week it’s the Blind Foundation. See you then!

(The DALTON BOYS bow/curtsey to the TOWNSFOLK, then leave, shooting.)

STRANGER: (Making one more attempt to assert his creed) Now, don’t forget the power of positive thinking …

(The TOWNSFOLK give up on him in disgust, and exit.)


© Greg Brook (Dunedin City Baptist) April 2001
All rights reserved
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged.
In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. Our drama group can be contacted at the following address: