The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

September 21, 2012

Daredevils bring Silver Dollar City show to life

By Dave Woods
Digital market development manager

BRANSON, Mo. — Robert Keith admires the daredevil cast members of “The Pinkerton Man.”

“Any time you set someone on fire it’s very dangerous,” said Keith, director of Silver Dollar City’s newest show. “The fire burn is amazing. What these stunt guys and girls are doing is very dangerous.”

Keith praises the stunt performers who make the high falls, snap bullwhips and stage physically demanding fist and ax-handle brawls.

“Everyone will get a wow watching them,” said the 40-year veteran of stunt shows and performances.

While the theme park’s new musical Western stunt show offers thrills, pyrotechnics and stunts, Keith said the show is really about pioneer-era folks who won the West.

“It’s about the real guys and gals who tamed this country,” he said. “The cowboys.”

Through Oct. 27, the park’s annual National Harvest Festival will feature 125 crafters and their wares, dozens of players, pickers and musical performers, trick riders and ropers as well as the long-loved salute to the American cowboy.



The plot unfolds

“The Pinkerton Man” is a Western stunt show featuring a cast of 14.

The show’s team created the imaginary town of Sumptin, Mo., nicknamed “Sumpthin’”. The small Ozarks community is located near Ñ almost above Ñ Marvel Cave, a deep Ozarks cavern around which city slickers want to create a tourist attraction focusing on the heart of American craftsmanship.

Who ends up with the cave and surrounding land drives the tale. Sound familiar?

A Silver Dollar City-esque story weaves the show together.

“It goes way back to the Pinkerton men of the 1850s,” Keith said. “Alan Pinkerton is storied to be the first to own a detective agency, the first agency whose agents donned disguises and later, way before Title 9, employed female detectives.”

Beyond that, the plot relies on local lore and lots of Hollywood-style fire, flames and fun.

The mayor’s daughter, Kimmie Sue, the prettiest girl in the territory, is kidnapped and held for ransom until the mayor grants the kidnappers’ demands.

Enter the Black Rider.

A mysterious do-gooder Ñ a Pinkerton agent on a mission Ñ fights the bad guys and zips a 220-foot line over Echo Hollar onto the stage below. He has fist fights, ax-handle fights and is proficient with a bull whip. He’s one tough cookie.

“You name it, and the Pinkerton man can do it,” Keith said. “The bad guy is finally shot and falls 37 feet, but doesn’t die. No ever dies in Sumpthin’, Mo.”

SPOILER ALERT: Finally, Keith said, in a surprise move, the Pinkerton man defeats the bad guys and goes up and kisses the sheriff. The town folks and the crowd in Echo Hollar are shocked, to say the least.

As the Black Rider pushes through the surprise show of affection, the rider removes his cowboy hat to reveal a bundle of long, blonde hair. The Pinkerton Man isn’t a man after all, the audience discovers. She’s a skilled female detective, a gunslinger and unafraid of the men who would see her fail in her assigned mission.

She says to the sheriff, “Remember, I’m Pinkerton, and we always get our man.”



Experienced cast, crew

Many of Keith’s players have worked in shows around the world. The show’s “Pinkerton Man” is played by a female stunt performer with years of experience. The cast also includes trained animals.

“We have Lassie, a pig, that steals the show in my book,” Keith said. “This show has everything from dancing to the sounds of Silver Dollar’s singers. We have lots of pyro and flame effects.”

The show is appropriate for all ages, Keith said.

“Kids are going to love it,” he said. “It’s safe and fun and one of the most enjoyable experiences in my close to 40 years in the business. There is great music and action and stunts and a great story.”