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19 Nocturne Boulevard

19 Nocturne Boulevard is an award-winning anthology audio drama series that ran from 2008 through 2013, and then went into deep hibernation.

STILL working on that Comeback!!

Also the creator of Fatal Girl, Bingo the Birthday Clown, The Deadeye Kid, The Lovecraft 5, The Prisoner of Hancock House, The Decadence of Borrowed Silk, Eternal Dusk Roulette, and Atomic Julie's Galactic Bedtime Stories.                                                        Join our awesome Patreon supporters!

Jul 14, 2022

In their first serialized adventure {in 5 parts}, Lem and Fanshaw accompany a "studier of the supernatural" to face something they may never have seen before - a ghost ... or at least a ghost that can affect the "real world".

Written and Produced by Julie Hoverson

Cast List

Lemuel Roberts /Deadeye Kid -  J. Spyder Isaacson
Clarence Fanshaw -  J. Hoverson

Dr. Sullivan - Michael Coleman  {Tales of the Extraordinary}
Mr. Cartland - Reynaud LeBoeuf
Emma Cartland - Jacquie Duckworth
Melody Heath - Melissa Bartell
Red - Jack Kincaid (Edict Zero)
Hank - Mark Olson
Clyde Wishwell - Bob Noble
Mr. Baker - Paul Green  {Encyclopedia of Weird Westerns}
Add'l voices by Gene Thorkildsen

Cover Design:  Brett Coulstock
[Old photos used to make Fanshaw purchased from]

Announcer:  Glen "Ole Hoss" Hallstrom
Opening theme:  "The Wreck of Old '97" from public domain recording found on
Any incidental music:  Kevin MacLeod (
Editing and Sound:   Julie Hoverson


No gunshots herald his approach.
No trademark left behind him when he leaves. 
The Kid had his fill of notoriety in days gone by -
as plenty of empty boots can surely testify.  
Some say he rides alone. 
That's the Deadeye Kid.


Haunting Melody


[opening credits/Olivia]

LEMuel Roberts - Spyder

Clarence FANSHAW - julie

Dr. SULLIVAN - Michael coleman


Mrs. EMMA Cartland - Jacquie Duckworth

MELODY Heath -



CLYDE Wishwell - Bob Noble

Mr. Baker, the real expert - Paul Greene


OLD HOSS    No gunshots herald his approach.  No trademark left behind him when he leaves.  The Kid had his fill of notoriety in days gone by - as plenty of empty boots can surely testify.   Some say he rides alone.  That's the Deadeye Kid.


OLD HOSS    The lonely cowboy cliché, always riding out, heading... yonder.  Join us again in two weeks when he rides back over that far horizon. 





FANSHAW    [straining] I think I can just make out a structure of some sort.

LEM    Not much further now.

SULLIVAN    Excellent.  I am in your debt for all your help in getting me out here.

LEM    Woulda been a mite easier if'n you were were saddled, stead of carted. Some of these ruts--

SULLIVAN     I've never been much of a horseman.  And this is a fairish wagon. 

FANSHAW    Garish, rather.

LEM    Well, I reckon it was cheap.

SULLIVAN    Oh, yes.  They rented it to me at a very reasonable rate.

FANSHAW    Ah, rented.  That explains why he has not repainted over the "Piewacket Players" placard on the side.

SULLIVAN    I understand a couple of the actors are - um - incarcerated for some while.  Renting me the wagon and horses saved them board and stowage.  Everyone benefits.

FANSHAW    Actually, some of these murals are rather good.  If the players are half as talented as their painter, it might be worth seeking out one of their performances.

LEM    [dubious] I reckon.

FANSHAW    [musing] King Lear.  Julius Caeser.  Romeo and Juliet.  [chuckles]  They seem to perform a lot of the classics.  Shakespeare.

LEM    Mmm.

FANSHAW    Did you know that in Shakespeare's day - some 250 years ago - it was illegal for women to perform on the stage?

LEM    Hush.

FANSHAW    Oh, Lem, do let me impart a little culture for once.

LEM    [Annoyed grunt]

FANSHAW    Particularly while you cannot argue.  As I was saying, back in the day, all the female parts were played by young men.

SULLIVAN    Oh, goodness!  Look at that!

LEM    [eager] Whatsat?

SULLIVAN    That's an awfully steep hill up ahead.  You think the wagon can manage it?

LEM    I reckon so, reverend.

SULLIVAN    "Doctor", please.  I prefer it as an honorific.

LEM    [puzzled] But you're a "man o' god"?

SULLIVAN    And a man of science as well.  I firmly believe that the church cannot simply deny science, but must embrace it, and hand in hand we shall move forward into the next century!

LEM    [dubious] A'right then.

FANSHAW    Fervent, isn't he?

SULLIVAN    Sorry.  I find I must defend myself constantly - both against those who find science and religion incompatible, and against those who pooh-pooh my branch of science entirely.

LEM    Oh? 

SULLIVAN    [defiant]  I have made a comprehensive study of the existence of ghosts.

LEM    [choking back a cough]  OH.

FANSHAW    Oh, dear.


MELODY    [off] [wailing, hysterics]


CARTLAND    Don't that girl ever shut up?

EMMA    Bart!  She swears she's being tormented.


CARTLAND    Hysteria.  You women can't stop yourselves from being women, but the least you can do is keep quiet when a man wants to think.

EMMA    What do you want me to do?  Lock her in a madhouse?  She's my own flesh and blood! 

CARTLAND    Your sister is pitching a fit 'cause she ain't getting her own way.  Nothing more.

EMMA    But what if it is something more?

CARTLAND    I got that well in hand.

EMMA    What?  How? 

CARTLAND    Don't go questioning me, woman.  Where's my grub?


SULLIVAN    [pugnacious] Do you, or do you not believe in ghosts?

FANSHAW    [short bark of a laugh]

LEM    [dry]  I reckon I do.

SULLIVAN     Many people believe that the supernatural is somehow at cross-purposes with the bible, but it isn't so.  Ever since Solomon, the wisest men in the good book studied the ways of the supernatural, in order to overcome it.

LEM    Solomon.  Izzat the king fellow?

FANSHAW    Famous for his wise judgment.  And not cutting up the baby.

SULLIVAN    Traditionally, many have always believed that the dead may carry on, side by side with the living, unseen but always present.

LEM    Ain't this more of a church question?

SULLIVAN    What do you mean?

LEM    Well, if you believe folks just hunker down once they passed on, then what you think of heaven?

SULLIVAN    I don't believe every soul lingers.  Have you ever heard of Purgatory?

FANSHAW    Oh, goodness.

LEM    Ain't that a town in Nevada territory?

SULLIVAN    In the bible, purgatory is a place where people who are not good enough to go to heaven nor evil enough to go directly to hell are judged.

FANSHAW    Which bible, precisely?

LEM    Guess I never got that far in bible learnin.

SULLIVAN    It is the premise for all my theories that purgatory is not a place, but merely a "state"--

LEM    [playing dumb] Wyoming? [1890]

FANSHAW    [grim] Ask him which bible.

SULLIVAN    [trying not to get exasperated] --and that spirits that need to be redeemed, or to mend their ways, may in fact be "in purgatory" much like someone could be "in a foul temper" - right next to us.

FANSHAW    Balderdash!  Utter rubbish!

LEM    Looky there!  That should be the ranch now!


MELODY    [heavy breathing, end of crying jag]


EMMA    Melody?  Are you feeling a little better?

MELODY    [sullen]  I been bit.

EMMA    Bit?  By what?  A rat?

MELODY    Come and look.

EMMA    I'll fetch a lantern.


EMMA    Or open the shutters?

MELODY    No!!  They don't like the light!  I kin only open them at night.

EMMA    [very upset] oh.  What can I do to help?

MELODY    [disheartened]  Nothing. 

EMMA    Are you hungry?  There's some good stew.

MELODY    I can't.  I just can't.

EMMA    Here, show me that bite.


LEM    [quiet] What's gnawing on you?

FANSHAW    I do not consider myself a particularly religious fellow, but if there is one thing I have found quite frustrating about the wide open west it is that so many people simply decide that they are experts on this or that subject, and other people believe them, for lack of any alternatives.

LEM    Mm?

FANSHAW    He claims to know the bible, but then he goes on about this spiritism nonsense.  And purgatory!  I may not be a divinity scholar but a childhood of churchgoing taught me that that is a catholic conceit, and he's got it wrong anyway.  Purgatory was where souls waited out a period of penance, while their friends and family prayed for their release. 

LEM    How'd they know if they got out?

FANSHAW    I believe the priests would tell them.  It always smacked of extortion to me.

LEM    [laughs]  Well.  How's all this gonna make a damn lick of difference just now?

FANSHAW    What? 

LEM    Whatever it is he believes - it gonna change the price of oats?

FANSHAW    [sigh]  No. 

LEM    Good.  That's cleared up, then.  Road's widenin up, and we'll be alongside the wagon agin soon. 


EMMA    We need to send Melody somewhere.  If only you had let her marry--

CARTLAND    She's 16 - too damn young, and don't know her own mind.

EMMA    I know, but if she was away--

CARTLAND    Dammit woman.  You are my wife, and I will not be argued with.

EMMA    Of course.  [beat]  Something bit her.

CARTLAND    Bit?  Like a snake?

EMMA    The they looked--

CARTLAND    Oh, just spit it out.

EMMA    They looked like they were made by a man!



SULLIVAN    Thank you ever so much for helping me to find my way.  I'm not much of an outdoorsman.  Or horseman.

FANSHAW    Nor much of a cleric, apparently.

LEM    Right happy to help.  Why is it you were comin all the way out here in the first place?  [chuckles] Not to put on a play.

SULLIVAN    [chuckles] It is rather a curious wagon, isn't it?  But I am afraid my job here is rather confidential.

CARTLAND    [yelling from off] Is that the Reverend?  Get on in here! 

SULLIVAN    [dithering] Oh, um I--

LEM    I'll look to your horses.  You get along.

SULLIVAN    Excellent. 

FANSHAW    I don't like him. 

LEM    You don' like his views.

FANSHAW    They're gibberish!

LEM    'Zat anythin like folderol?  [serious]  Why'n't you go on in and see what brand o' folderol he's spinnin to the good folks inside.

FANSHAW    [stiff upper lip] I shall try and keep my temper.

LEM    [muttered] Tryin never hurt no one.




RED    [snarled] The Deadeye Kid.



CARTLAND    --convince her it ain't nothing but temper!

EMMA    But the bite!

SULLIVAN    A bite? 

EMMA    She looks like she was bit, bad.

CARTLAND    There's no way anyone could get in there and bite her.

SULLIVAN    It isn't unheard of.

FANSHAW    A bite?

CARTLAND    [suspicious] Really?

EMMA    See!

SULLIVAN    Manifestations have demonstrated their ability to affect the material world in any number of ways.

FANSHAW    [suspicious] Oh.  Do tell?

CARTLAND    There's a simple answer for this.  She bit her own damn self.  She pulls one more shenanigan, and I'm taking a strap to the damn girl.

EMMA    Never!  Our father wouldn't--

CARTLAND    He shoulda!  If your sister weren't spoiled, we wouldn't have to have this idjit in.

SULLIVAN    Sir!  I am well respected in--

CARTLAND    [furious, overbearing] You are here to prove this ain't nothing but women's hysteria and a mulish girl's temper. 

EMMA    But if it is something else?

FANSHAW    What do you think it may be, I wonder?

CARTLAND    Either she's doing this to herself, or she's plumb loco.  Which way do you prefer?  She's your flesh and blood.


MELODY    [screams]




RED    What the hell are you doing here?

LEM    Do I... know you?

RED    Mebbe not, but I know you.  You're the Deadeye Kid.

LEM    [resigned] Who'd I kill, that yer so riled about?

RED    What in tarnation is wrong with you?

LEM    Aside from being slammed up agin a barn, with iron in my face, nuttin comes to mind.

RED    I'us there in Carson City.  Five years ago.  Watched you take down Iron John Sandoval.

LEM    [after a pause]  And?

RED    Saw how fast y'are.  Hmph.  Used to be.

LEM    Mmm?

RED    [offended]  You din't even see me comin.

LEM    My mind was took up with sumpin else.


RED    You should vamoose.  This ain't no place for them as has lost their edge.

LEM    You might wanna back off a piece.

RED    Whyzzat?  Can't look me in the face and admit you're getting old?

LEM    My gun hand's starting to cramp up sumpin fierce, and I cain't ease down til you pull your cohones off'n the barrel. 

RED    You - what?  [looking down, gasps]

LEM    Right shame to shave your stumps - seein as we're all compadres now.



LEM    You look like a man that might could use a drink. 




FANSHAW    I say, Lem?  Are you alone?

LEM    Lessen you wanna chat with the hosses.

FANSHAW    What do you really think of this fellow?

LEM    From yer tone, I'm guessin you mean the reverend - doctor.

FANSHAW    Ye-ess.

LEM    I figger he's harmless.  Cain't actually know a lick about all's he's talkin about.

FANSHAW    Right.  [beat]  Do you ever wonder?

LEM    I wonder alla time.  Any particular wonderin yer wonderin about?

FANSHAW    About this.  About spirits.  About good and evil.

LEM    Never reckoned on em hitched like'at. 

FANSHAW    You don't think of ghosts as being somehow inherent wicked?

LEM    You havin a crisis of faith?  I reckon jest like with anyone, only you can know if you're evil.

FANSHAW    I - well, I don't mean myself, I suppose. 

LEM    [teasing]  So you think you're better than e'rbody else.

FANSHAW    No.  I don't know. 

LEM    What brought all this on?

FANSHAW    From what I observed in the house, there may be an argument here for an evil spirit of some sort.

LEM    And?

FANSHAW    And?  And what? 

LEM    Spirits're just as evil or saintly as the folks they used to be.  Don't make no nevermind to no one but me.

FANSHAW    I mean an evil spirit with ... powers.

LEM    [sure] Ain't no such thing.

FANSHAW    Are you so very certain?



LEM    I ain't never seen no spirit could touch nothin in the real world.

FANSHAW    Neither have I, but what if there is?

LEM    We do whatever we gots to.


RED    [coming in] Kid!

LEM    [sigh]  Just Lem, if'n you please.

RED    Oh, drat.  Right.  You done with them horses?

LEM    Tucked up tight.  You ast about the job?


RED    Mr. Cartland's right happy to have another hand, even if you don't plan on staying fer long.  With all that's been a-going on--

LEM    What all is it that's been a-goin on?

FANSHAW    Evil spirits.

LEM    Is it what's been drivin off all your help?

RED    Come on, let's getcha some grub.  Hank'll be pleased to have someone new to jaw to.




HANK    Red.

RED    Hank.  This is Lem.  Come in with the doctor fella.

LEM    Hank.

HANK    You work for the reverend?

RED    He's--

LEM    I work fer jest about anyone as needs me.  Doctor needed a guide.

RED    Lem's gonna help out round here fer a while.

LEM    Long as the doc's on hand, might as well make myself useful.

HANK    Did you tell him what's going on?  What cleared us out?

RED    Here, have a plate of stew, Lem.  I'm sure Hank can tell it better'n me.

HANK    [uncertain] Oh, I---

RED    He actually saw it.

LEM    Saw what?

HANK    That girl.  She's possessed!

LEM    Possessed of what?

HANK    No!  Possessed!  Taken over by an evil spirit!

LEM    [considering] I don't figger I put much stock in such things.  Ain't no other explanation?

HANK    What else could explain how I - I saw a strange light in her window late at night--

LEM    What were you doin' out?

HANK    [thrown off] What?  I was - uh - having a smoke.

LEM    She a good-lookin' girl?  Apart from whatever travail she's in?

HANK    That ain't the point.  I was off a ways and saw a light.  It din't look natural.  So I went closer to see.

LEM    How high's this window?

HANK    I don't know!  Chest-high, I s'pose.  But I sawr everything!  [yarning]  Right from the first, I was froze to the spot.  Couldn't look away.  In this strange blueish colored light, there was something flyin back and forth across the room--

LEM    A bird?

HANK    No!  A cushion or a hat or something - something that had no damn business flyin!

LEM    [mild amazement] Oh!

HANK    And then I saw the girl herself crawling about the floor like an animal. 

LEM    Mebbe she dropped sumpin.

HANK    But it weren't natural!  You can explain away one thing after another, but that light won't never look right.

LEM    I meant no disrespect, just know how late at night moonlight can be a bit mazy.  Can make things look wrong way round and bigger than life.

HANK    Well, this weren't out in the moonlight - it was in her room.

LEM    Right. 

HANK    You ain't a-scared?

LEM    I'm a bit behind when it comes to afearin things.  Got to see sumpin for myself before I can work up to gooseflesh.  Yerself?

HANK    I'm pert near hightailing it out of here, I tell you what.  One more night like that and you'll be seeing the back of me.

RED    Ain't likely, Hank old hoss.  You relish the tellin of your tall tales too much to miss a chance fer another one.


CARTLAND    It's pure mulishness, is what it is.  The girl wanted to marry, and I said no.

SULLIVAN    You're surely not her father, though?

CARTLAND    Father's passed on.  I ain't blood, but I married her sister and that makes me the lawful man of the house and head of this family.  She gots to understand that.

EMMA    I still think--

CARTLAND    Regardless of whether she's old enough to marry, I wan't about to let her run off to the damn Wishwells and take half the ranch with her.

EMMA    Our father left us even shares.

FANSHAW    Hmm.  And that man married yours.

SULLIVAN    Ah.  I should talk to the girl, now.


HANK    Well. 


HANK    That hay won't pitch itself.  Care to lend a hand, feller?

LEM    Lem.  I--

RED    I need him yet fer a mite.  I'll send him along when we're through.

LEM    That's a mighty fine looking belt buckle you got there, Hank.  Turquoise?

HANK    Yup. 

LEM    And silver.  [musing] Mighty fine.


LEM    Why d'you stay, Red?

RED    Been with Mr. Cartland for nigh on 10 years. Since before he married the missus.  Fact is, that was when we came through Carson City.

LEM    You friends?

RED    Nah, he ain't one fer making friends of the hands.  But he's fair.  Hard, but fair.  

LEM    Now tell me.  [a bit humorous] Apart from having the nerve of a grizzly, why ain't you scairt?

RED    I plumb don't feel it.  Whatever's a-going on with the girl, it don't hit me here.  You ken?

LEM    I reckon.

RED    It's like ... play actors.  They can make you like the story, but they cain't never make it real.

LEM    Gotta good solid head on them shoulders, Red.  I purpose to find out what all's transpirin here, and if'n yer strapped fer it, I'd shore thank'ee kindly for any help.

RED    [admiring] You ain't lost none of yer sand, have ya?

LEM    I reckon the wind's just blowin it in the right direction these days.



SULLIVAN    Young lady? 

MELODY    [very tired and small sounding] Who's there?

CARTLAND    It’s the feller gonna tell you what a liar you been.

EMMA    Husband!

CARTLAND    Go on then.  Tell her.

EMMA    I'll open them shutters.


EMMA     Just a crack!  It's fair dark in here!


SULLIVAN    Sir!  I must insist on being able to interview the girl in relative peace!

CARTLAND    I ain't a-stopping you.

SULLIVAN    You must be quiet and leave the girl to answer for herself.

EMMA    Please!

CARTLAND    [somewhat subdued]  Go on.

SULLIVAN    Miss Heath, your lady sister has told me some of your symptoms, but I would like to hear them from you.  What is your chief complaint?

MELODY    They never let me sleep!

FANSHAW    [far corner] Poor girl does look tired.

CARTLAND    Nor us out here!  I ain't had a good night through in weeks.

SULLIVAN     [sharp] Shh!  [calm]  They?  Who are "they"?

MELODY    You won't believe me any more than anyone else does.


SULLIVAN    I believe a great many things.  Pray, humor me.

MELODY    They come at night, and pinch me.  Pinch my arms and legs - all over!  And one bit me - See here!

CARTLAND    You bit your own damn self!

MELODY    [whimpers]

SULLIVAN    Sir!  Would you be kind enough to leave?  As long as you insist on berating the poor girl, she will never be calm enough to tell me all her troubles.

CARTLAND    Fine.  Come on, woman.


EMMA    Shouldn't I stay?  For decency's sake?

CARTLAND    Man's a holy father, even if he is a soft-headed idjet.  Whatcha think he might do?

EMMA    I suppose.

MELODY    I'll call if I need help!

EMMA    You do that.




RED    From his yarn, Hank was right about'chere when he saw the lights.

LEM    Hard to reckon what this'ud look like in full dark.  What'us the moon like?

RED    Middling, round about.

LEM    Hmm.  And that'ud be the window?

RED    Yup.  Though way Hank tells it, it was full open when he was looking.

LEM    [surprised] Oh!

RED    What?

LEM    Let's fade back a bit.  Don't want anyone to spy us.

RED    Why?  Mm?  [sees] Oh!





FANSHAW    There you are!  I've just witnessed the most appalling--

RED    Did we really see what I think we jest saw?

LEM    I'm afeared so. 

RED    That varmint!  Taking advantage of a nice--

LEM    She din't look "put out" to me.  Any fired-up on her part weren't the angry kind, if you catch me.

FANSHAW    [sarcastic] Oh.  So you saw it too.  How useful am I?

LEM    Mighty useful.  [slightly different] To know that sumpin's up with them.  Looked like they knowed each other afore this.

RED    I guess you could safely say that.

FANSHAW    I tactfully took my leave.


RED    Who in tarnation?  Damn! 

LEM    What?

RED    [heavy import] That's Clyde Wishwell and his boys!



EMMA    Doctor?  Is everything all right in there?

SULLIVAN    [within] Yes!  Quite. 


SULLIVAN    [within]  I have all I need for the moment.


SULLIVAN    [cautious] Is your husband ...nearby?

EMMA    He had to step out.

SULLIVAN    [relieved]  Ah.

EMMA    I have the guest room ready for you.  Your drover can bunk with the men.

SULLIVAN    My--?  Oh, yes.  That fellow.  My guide. 


EMMA    Is she...  Is she going to be all right, sir?

SULLIVAN    I think this will take some time, but yes.  I believe she can be saved.

EMMA    Saved?  You talk like she's ailing!

SULLIVAN    [serious] She is.  It is an ailment of the soul.



CARTLAND    [barely concealed hostility]  Wishwell.

WISHWELL    Mr. Cartland.  I hope you don't mind the intrusion?

CARTLAND    What do you want?

WISHWELL    We found a fellow lost on our property, claims he'us supposed to be coming here.  We decided to give him an escort.

BAKER    [a bit too much swagger]  Yes, yes.  Many thanks.  You may go ahead and leave.

WISHWELLS MEN    [annoyed muttering]

CARTLAND    Who the devil are you?

BAKER    You sent for me. 

WISHWELL    He was mighty tight about his business with you, Mr. Cartland.  I'm right curious.

BAKER    That is between Mr. Cartland and myself.  Are you waiting around for a reason?  I could--


WISHWELL    [civility slipping] No need, sir!  I reckon a man does you a good turn, seeing you to your destination, rather than shooting your backside fulla buckshot as a trespasser, he deserves a bit of an explanation!

CARTLAND    Yeah.  Explain.

BAKER    [exasperated] Very well.  I am the ghost expert you sent away for.



LEM    Why'm I all of a sudden smellin a rat?

FANSHAW    You mean Sullivan's obvious "familiarity" with young miss Heath?

LEM    Biggest rat I seen recently.

RED    You think they got somethin "on" between them?

LEM    I'm wondrin has anyone actually clapped eyes on the fellow she got her heart pinned to.

RED    How'd you hear about that?

FANSHAW    Damn!

LEM    [calm] I just hear things.

RED    Oh.  But it was one of the Wishwells she was a-hankerin after. 

FANSHAW    And the Wishwells just rode in.  Perhaps we should go and take a look at the other side of this little chess match.

LEM    Lets go get us a look at the Wishwells.

RED    Right.

FANSHAW    I'll stay in the house - keep an eye on the courting.


CARTLAND    YOU'RE the expert?  Then who the devil we got inside?  [yelling over his shoulder] Emma!

BAKER    [smug] Well, I can't help you there, I'm no clairvoyant - merely a seeker after truth in the field of spiritualism.

WISHWELL    [a bit worried] Really?  Hmm.


EMMA    What is it?  Oh!  Comp'ny!

CARTLAND    They ain't compny, they's Wishwells.  Get that city slicker out here.  We got a bit of a branding problem here.

BAKER    Are you implying there's someone here claiming to be me?

CARTLAND    Someone here's claiming something, but I don't know which of you it might be.


BAKER    [off a bit] I have credentials and letters of recommendation.

RED    That's Ezekial Wishwell, in the tan hat.  He's a big rancher over t'other side of the valley.

LEM    And if one of his marries that Miss, inside-

RED    Reckon he'll get his hands on her half of the ranch here.

LEM    Hmm.


WISHWELL    You sent off for a ghost hunter, and you cain't even remember his name?

CARTLAND    I contacted him through some damn psychical society in the newspaper out of Carson city. 

BAKER    Yes.  Precisely.  The "friends in passing".

CARTLAND    And it's bad enough I gotta do such a damn fool thing just so's I can put my wife's mind at rest about her damn fool sister--


EMMA    Here he is.

SULLIVAN    You needed me for something?


WISHWELL    Whatcha gonna do with two of them?

SULLIVAN    Two of who?

BAKER    Is that the imposter?

EMMA    What?

RED    It's the doggonest thing I ever heered of!

LEM    It's a wonder, sure enough.

FANSHAW    They've vacated the - ahem - bedroom. 

RED    You think there's gonna be a fight?  Dunno that them two guys would make much of a scrap - that first one's too prissy and citified, and the other's kind of a runt.  But it might be something to see.

LEM    I need a chance to palaver.

FANSHAW    This might explain the idiotic views of Sullivan - I mean, if he is the imposter.

LEM    [muttered] People can be thick as two thumbs and still ain't liars.  Happens all th'time.


RED    Whazzat?

LEM    Trying to logic out which might be the one sposed to be here.

FANSHAW    Oh, there's the girl!


[argument that runs under above]

SULLIVAN    I am an ordained minister, sir, of the church of the holy seekers after truth!

BAKER    That hack cabal?  They wouldn't know a phantom from an apparition.  I have trained with the most respectable societies in the British Isles!

SULLIVAN    Hidebound stick-in-the-muds!

BAKER    Newfangled snot-nosed infants, tampering with forces outside your ken!

SULLIVAN    Infants!  I'll have you know--


MELODY    Stop!  Please!  [scream of terror, some thrashing about]

CARTLAND    What the devil?

SULLIVAN    Quickly, bring some warm tea, and a cold compress, if you have one.

EMMA    Yes! 


BAKER    Stay back!  The girl is under attack.

WISHWELL    Looks like some kind of fit.

CARTLAND    Fit o' temper.  Get up, girl!


LEM    Mr. Cartland, might could I drop a word in your ear?

CARTLAND    Who the hell are you?  Oh, right, you come in with the preacher - maybe preacher.

LEM    Something you need to know.

FANSHAW    Are you planning to tell him about the assignation?  He'll do something terrible to that poor girl - you've seen how beastly he is to her.

LEM    I know you're looking after the best interests of your family here.

FANSHAW    He threatened to beat her!

CARTLAND    I do what I gotta.

FANSHAW    Even if she is feigning all of this, surely she doesn't deserve--

LEM    And I can tell you're purt near your wits end.

CARTLAND    zat so?

LEM    I think you done took more than most men can take, so I don't fault you none for flyin off the handle.  I might could have an answer for all this.

CARTLAND    [interested] Really?

LEM    Yup.  It was somethin that Sullivan fellow said regarding the bible.

CARTLAND    [disbelieving] Really?

LEM    Once they get this little dustup sorted, mebbe could I try something? 

CARTLAND    What you planning?

LEM    I promise you, I don't reckon no one'll get hurt - leastways not bad - but beyond that, can't tell you much or it'll fall flat. 

CARTLAND    Is this some of this spiritual hoodoo manure?

LEM    Well, let's say I'm gonna connive them into believin it is.

CARTLAND    Hmm...  [chuckle]  Go on, then.


EMMA    She's settled again, but she keeps tossing and a-turning.

CARTLAND    [calmer]  If I'm right, and she's just doing this all out of pique, what do you think should be done?  You really think us going on and giving in is gonna make everything all right?

EMMA    Me?  I--  but it's too drastic to be--

CARTLAND    I ain't asking if you think she's making it all up, just what you reckon we should oughtta do if she is.

EMMA    Oh.  [pacing]  Well.  It's a terrible thing she's doing - if she's doing it.  But it can't be easy on her, either.  All them hurts she's took.

CARTLAND    Lotta effort to make you feel sorry for her.

EMMA    If she's faking, then wouldn't the reverend know it?

CARTLAND    Stick to the question at hand.

EMMA    You're much less riled than you been in days - do you know something?

CARTLAND    With two doctor types on hand, how can I not see a light at the end of this here tunnel?

EMMA    Oh.

CARTLAND    [almost gentle]  I'm waiting.

EMMA    I agree - we can't, in good conscience, let her get her way through these kinds of shenanigans - always assuming she's--

CARTLAND    Yes, yes.  We're assuming.

EMMA    But what can we do for punishment?  Lock her away?  I couldn't bear that.

CARTLAND    What'choo think about schooling?

EMMA    What?

CARTLAND    Send her off to school - back east or somewheres where rich folks send their girls, and take the cost of the schooling out of her half the ranch.  We'll call it bail.

EMMA    It would keep her away from the Wishwells.  And it would get her away from--


EMMA    [sigh] Yes.


LEM    I may not have the booklearnin y'all have, but I did have me a granny who did midwifing and could see and talk to all manner of spirits.

SULLIVAN    Really?  How ...rustic

BAKER    You should never pooh-pooh the lay folk.  Many have toiled in the fields of the supernatural without even realizing they did. Back home in--

SULLIVAN    Of course, it is only a pity that so often they were seen as enemies of the church and persecuted, rather than embraced and put to good works.

FANSHAW    Good gad, they're even worse in harmony.

LEM    Well, Granny once told me of a sure cure for a plague of spirits.

BAKER    Oh yes?

FANSHAW    Watch out, he'll write a monograph on your granny.  Did you really have one?

LEM    O'course.  It ain't easy, and it ain't exactly safe.  But when the only other path is being ridden round with spirits all your life, it's sometimes a risk you gots to take.

SULLIVAN    Dangerous?

LEM    O'course.  You got to make the spirits flee outta the afflicted one, and t'only way to do it is to convince them you're about to kill that person.

SULLIVAN    [horrified] KILL?

BAKER    That makes a strange sort of sense.

LEM    Best ways are violent.  You cain't sneak up behind 'em, since half the convincin has to be that the one what's afflicted gots to believe it. 

FANSHAW    Mention the flagellants in the bible.  They used whips to cleanse themselves of--

SULLIVAN    But we can't - that-that poor girl!

BAKER    I am not certain I could do it myself, but I would be most interested in observing.

LEM    Oh, I can do it.  You two should oughta  make sure no one else gets in the way, though.

SULLIVAN    But you wouldn't really hurt her?

LEM    I s'pose it depends.  Sometimes, the spirits are figurin you wouldn't really hurt no one, and they hang on for the first hurt or two.  Like them fellas that whip themselves bloody right there in the bible.

SULLIVAN    [horrified] Oh no!  I can't let you do that to any poor defenseless woman.

LEM    Don't think it's your choice to make, old hoss. 

BAKER    As long as she is afflicted, it will have to be dealt with.

SULLIVAN    Let me try something else, first!  I might have a way to--

LEM    That's right fine.  We'll come along and observe your way.

SULLIVAN    No!  It's -- it has to be performed in total secrecy.

LEM    Cain't hide from the spirits, though.

FANSHAW    I take the hint.

BAKER    You should be grateful for the help.

SULLIVAN    Leave me alone for a minute!  I have to - to pray!


LEM    [almost a chuckle]

BAKER    What got into him?

FANSHAW    I think he truly cares for the girl.

LEM    A mighty old spirit indeed.




EMMA    They're gonna hurt her?

CARTLAND    They don't think it will come to much.  Just enough to scare the spirits out of her.

EMMA    Melody's my sister - I cain't just let them beat her!

CARTLAND    [trying to be comforting] Don't sound like there's any other way they're gonna manage this.  [beat] This feller sounds like he knows what he's doing.

EMMA    [incredulous] Sounds like he--?  How can you say that?

CARTLAND    [curt]  I will stop him before he does anything too... drastic. 

EMMA    You got no fine feelings about seeing her hurt.  You would have--

CARTLAND    [getting annoyed] I'da punished her, yeah.  Now get out my way.  I'm done talkin!


RED    Lem, over here a minute.

LEM    [queit] Yeah? [up]  Mister Baker, why don't you see if the lady of the house might be able to find you a spot to sleep tonight? 

BAKER    And that charlatan?

LEM    Doctor Sullivan?  You let me handle him.  Oh, and - sunset.  That's the time to deal with ghosts.

BAKER    Sunset?

LEM    So says my gran.

BAKER    Right.  I am quite interested to see how this goes.


LEM    Sorry about that.

RED    What are you up to?

LEM    Takin a tip from the bible.  You with me?

RED    Spect so. 

WISHWELL    Could I have a word with you, sir?

LEM    [sigh] Spect so.



[Sullivan sounds very different, western, rather than citified, and is speaking quietly, to avoid being overheard]

SULLIVAN    Melody?  Melody?

FANSHAW    Hmph.  Praying indeed.  I would say he's rather old for her, but that moustache doesn’t do much to hide a cheek that's barely seen a  razor.

SULLIVAN    Please, Mel, honey!


MELODY    Wallace?  You shouldn't be out there!

FANSHAW    Wallace? 

SULLIVAN    I had to come!  Everything's falling apart.

MELODY    What do you mean?

SULLIVAN    They've got some cockamamie scheme, and sounds like they're planning to hurt you.  Maybe bad.

MELODY    Emma'd never let them do that!

SULLIVAN    There's enough people here got no patience left, I doubt but that she couldn't stop them.  Can't you turn this?

MELODY    It's got away from me!  What can I do?

SULLIVAN    Maybe just say you're cured?

MELODY    And then what?  That leaves me here with folks that hate me and no chance o'nothin'?  No chance of... us?  I'll die first!

SULLIVAN    I'll try and come up with something.  But if it comes down to it, stop them before they hurt you.  Please promise you will!

MELODY    [grim] I'll do what I gotta do.


WISHWELL    What you fixing to do, sir?

LEM    Come sunset, I'll take drastic measures to free that girl from her torment.

WISHWELL    You sound like you might have to kill her.

LEM    I'm sure the reverend - uh - doctor sullivan can speak you best on torment and the afterlife.  He's got a nose fer it.

WISHWELL    But what exactly are you planning to do?

FANSHAW    Don't turn round.  Sullivan is lurking. 

LEM    [sigh]  I hate to see anyone in pain.  But sometimes, ain't no choice.  If'n there's a spirit a-punishin that child, it ain't gon be easy to spook it out.  I may have to shoot her.

SOUND    [men - including RED, WISHWELL, react] 

LEM    [matter of fact] Don't worry none, though.  I once shot a man eight times - a'purpose - and he din't die.  [shrug] Can't use one hand no more, but apart from that he all healed up jest fine.

WISHWELL    [horrified] And Cartland's gonna let you go on and do this?

LEM    I get the feeling that if his wife would allow, he'd do it hisself - he's that plumb wore out with the girl.

WISHWELL    And what if we all decide to stop you?

LEM    I don't see as how it's any of your business.


WISHWELL    [sterner] And what if we all decide to stop you?


CARTLAND    [off]  I think mebbe it's time fer you to get along home, then, Wishwell.


WISHWELL    [forces laugh]  We were just looking out for your best interests, Cartland.  Have you heard?  This here fellow is fixing to shoot your sister.

CARTLAND    Well, something's gotta be done with the girl. 

FANSHAW    Is he serious, or did you have a chance to warn him?

LEM    Glad to see you took my counsel serious, Mr. Cartland.


CARTLAND    And now Wishwell, you and your boys can take my counsel - Git!

WISHWELL    I'll be telling the sheriff about these goings on. 

CARTLAND    You do that.  Sunset's about an hour away - you won't get there and back by then.  And I figure this way.  If my wife's sister can be bit by ghosts, maybe she can get shot by them too.  Ain't no one here gonna say otherwise, once all's said and done.



MELODY    Wallace?

FANSHAW    [explaining] That's Sullivan.


LEM    [indistinguishable grunt]

MELODY    Wallace?


MELODY    Are you-- [gasp of fear!]

LEM    You want to talk to me, girl.  And you want to stay quiet.

MELODY    My sister is jest in the next room.

LEM    I know.  And I ain't askin fer nothin improper.  Cartland's got Sullivan sewed up in argument fer the moment, so I got one chance for you.

MELODY    Chance?  Fer what?

LEM    Wallace.  You in love with the boy, or jest lookin fer a way out from under your folks?

MELODY    We're in love. 

LEM    You want him more than you want your share of the ranch?

MELODY    [teensy hesitation]  Yes.

LEM    And would he and his take you without you had that parcel to offer?

MELODY    He would. 

LEM    And his pa out there?  Mr. Wishwell?

MELODY    [gasp] You know?

LEM    I know a lotta things.  F'r'instance, tonight's gonna be an interestin night. 


FANSHAW    So if they're genuinely in love --

LEM    I think they are.  He's plumb torn up about the chance as she might get hurt.  Mebbe she's not so worried, but she seems true.

FANSHAW    Then this is just like Shakespeare - Romeo and juliet.  Families opposed to one another, romance between the younger generation.

LEM    'Zat give us any aid with sorting out this rats nest?

FANSHAW    Well, they both died.  So I guess not.

LEM    Hmm.  Plays.

FANSHAW    What are you thinking?

LEM    Well... I was playing at solomon.  Threatnin the girl to bring out--

FANSHAW    [realizing] The real-- Yes!  I've got it.  Jolly clever.

LEM    I'm thinkin mebbe I got the wrong baby.

FANSHAW    The wrong what?


In house

CARTLAND    Can't be long now.

EMMA    You won't let him really hurt her, will you?

CARTLAND    [gentle] Emma.  He promised he wouldn't.  We have to convince her he would, though.  She gots to believe it.

EMMA    Why?

CARTLAND    If she's faking, she has to cry off.  If she ain't... well... he says the spirits gotta be convinced she's gonna die, so they'll haveta leave.

EMMA    Oh.  I see.  Thank you.

CARTLAND    [uncomfortable]   Right.  Just find us one of them schools, woudja?



LEM    [talking to a crowd] Much as it pains me to have to do this, um, I reckon there ain't no way to solve this problem til we drive out the spirits here.

BAKER    Where is the girl?

LEM    She's a coming.


LEM    Speak of the devil.


MELODY    Please!  What are you going to do?

SULLIVAN    I protest!  I don't think this is safe!

LEM    [muttered] We got any other company?

FANSHAW    The wishwells never went very far.  Just out of sight, then circled back.  They're behind the barn.

LEM    Good.

FANSHAW    Red appears to be in his allotted position.  Hank is nowhere to be seen.

LEM    Hmph.  [up]  Get on over here miss.

MELODY    I'm scared!

CARTLAND    It gots to be done.

EMMA    Be strong, Melody.

FANSHAW    No arguments?  Hmm.  I sense a reconciliation in the family.

LEM    Harmony ain't no bad thing.

FANSHAW    Rather goes with melody, actually.

MELODY     What is it you plan to do?

LEM    Gon' drive the evil sprits out.  Need you to stand right here, miss.  Don't move a muscle.  You got me?

MELODY    Emma!  I don't want to do this!

EMMA    Melody, there ain't no choice.  Not no more.

SULLIVAN     I agree with the young lady - I feel this is too dangerous.

MELODY    Dangerous?  Wh-what's a-going to happen?

CARTLAND    [commanding but not being mean] Stand still, and let the man do his work.

LEM    All y'all back on the porch now, if'n you please.


LEM    Now miss, if you'll hold yerself real still.

MELODY    I'll do my best.


MELODY    [screams!]



EMMA    Be careful!

MELODY    What did you do that for? 

LEM    I'm shooting the ghosts.  That's why you gotta hold real still.


MELODY     [gasp]  You nearly hit me!

FANSHAW    The wishwells are getting closer.

LEM    Good.


MELODy    [scream of pain!]

EMMA    What's that?  You said you wouldn't hurt her!  Is that blood?

LEM    That's jest splinters.  Stay back.


MELODY    [scream]

SULLIVAN    Nooooooooo!



SULLIVAN    [argh!  Death rattle]

MELODy    [scream, death rattle]

FANSHAW    [dry] Two with one shot.  Oh my.

EMMA    [screaming]


LEM    Mr. Cartland, hold your wife.  Mr. Baker?

BAKER    [flustered] um, um - yes.

LEM    You got any doctoring?

BAKER    Yes, yes, of course.  I'll check on them.

WISHWELL    [coming roaring in]  Nooo!

CARTLAND    What the devil you doing here, Wishwell?

LEM    Stay back, there.  Let the doctor do his business.

WISHWELL    Wallace!  Damn you, you sidewinder!  You are a dead man!


WISHWELL    You ain't steppin in this time, Cartland!

CARTLAND    If I just saw what just happened, you kin have him.

LEM    [Unconcerned]  Afore you start throwin lead, mebbe you two should take some of the blame on yerselves.


WISHWELL    You can go to blazes!

LEM    If you two weren't such prickly porcupines on the subject of them kids getting married, none of this woulda ever happened.

CARTLAND    That's who she wanted to marry?  And he's a wishwell?

WISHWELL    He's my youngest, you son of a buzzard.  Sent him off back east to school, make a better man of him.  And now all that's ashes.

CARTLAND    He ain't a reverend, then?

FANSHAW    Goodness, they're a bit slow.

LEM    Hush, now!  Now you two can be joined in your misery, like you might have been joined by them kids.  Only damn fool you gotta hate now is me.

CARTLAND    He ain't said they're dead.  Doctor?

BAKER    [calling] I'm doing what I can.

WISHWELL    My son?  Is he still with us?

LEM    Hold it.


WISHWELL    You stay out my way.


RED    I think you better drop that gun Mr. Wishwell.

CARTLAND    I'll go and--

RED    No, sir.  You wait too.  With all due respect.

LEM    If them kids survive this, you let em marry?

CARTLAND    They're too young.  She is, anyway.

[don't forget the bit about sullivan not being as old as the moustasche and beard make him look]

WISHWELL    You just don't wanna lose half the ranch.

CARTLAND    I got plans for that half the ranch.  I got it planned right up til she comes of age.

LEM    Mebbe if they can marry, she can leave you in charge til she comes of age.  Let you carry through your plans.

EMMA    None of this matters!  Let me go to my sister!

RED    Lem?

LEM    Give em sumpin to live for, you two.  Make this up.  Tell them they ain't gotta be dead to be together.

WISHWELL    You think that would help?

LEM    I been near dead once or twice, and havin hope is a mighty fine thing.

EMMA    Bart?  Please let her, Bart!  If you don't care to give Melody some hope, give me some!

CARTLAND    If Wishwell agrees that I keep control for five more years.

WISHWELL    We're gonna have to set this down in writin.

EMMA    There ain't no time fer writing now!   [sharp]  You say it!  Both of you!

CARTLAND    Fine.  Melody!  If'n you can hear me, you listen.  I'm telling you, you can marry that... boy.  We got it all worked out at this end.

WISHWELL    Wallace?  Fight Wallace!  You idjit, jumping in front of a bullet fer a girl!  But you can have her if you want her.  Izzat good?

CARTLAND    You all gonna put down yer guns now?

LEM    That sounds fine.  What you'all think?

MELODY    [perfectly fine] I think it sounds good.  But I gotta have a real fine dress.  Understand?

EMMA    [astonished] Melody? 

MELODY    I'm all right.

SULLIVAN    We're both just fine.

WISHWELL    Well... Damn!

CARTLAND    All right, somebody better start explaining.

RED    Lem?  Lem?



LEM    Much as I hate walkin the horses by moonlight--

FANSHAW    I do think it's best to get while the getting is good.  Do you think they will keep their promises?

LEM    Got witnesses enough between Baker and Red.

FANSHAW    Whatever happened to Hank?

LEM    That was probly me - I think I suspected his belt buckle too loudly and he took fright.

FANSHAW    Paid to tell a tale?

LEM    Ayup.

FANSHAW    Solomon to Prince Escalus in one step.  I'm impressed.

LEM    What are you jabberin on about?

FANSHAW    That back there was Romeo and Juliet, was it not?

LEM    Mebbe just a little.  [beat] You ever done any of them plays?

FANSHAW    Oh, yes.  School. 

LEM    You gotta be the one in the dress?  Like you were sayin?  You got a voice that might could pass.

FANSHAW    Oh... [dropping voice as low as possible] No.  Actually, I often was the lead.  I even played romeo.  I was rather good at learning lines.  Of course, someone always had to put on the dress.  Boys and girls do not attend school together - not our sort of boys and girls, anyway.

LEM    Seems like puttin a hat on a pig.

FANSHAW    No.  It's just "theater."