Take JED and JAKE. They met as young men in the California Gold Rush.
Twenty-seven years later they’re still searching for a pot of gold at the
end of the rainbow, this time in Deadwood Gulch.
It’s been a mighty hard life, rushing from one gold rush to the next,
making barely enough to live on. But the dream keeps them going. The dream
of living like kings in a big ol’ house up on a hill. And maybe if they
had that big ol’ house they could marry BLOSSOM, the cute as a button
dance hall girl they’ve both taken a shine to.
Yes, both. They both want to marry her. These guys don’t always think
things through. And they don’t have much luck either. But the luck part is
about to change.
It starts when a mysterious STRANGER talks them into buying a team of
MULES named Jim and Jim. (The mules know which one you’re talking to.) The
stranger praises the mules extravagantly, like a used car salesman, and
closes the deal with a bold promise:
“Someday you’ll thank me.”
Sadly the mules don’t help much at first. They don’t stop BLACK BART from
tricking the guys into trading their good claim for a worthless one. Bart
is the color-challenged owner of a failing brothel and a struggling Grub
and Go. To prop up grocery sales he also smuggles in hundreds of rats and
turns them loose to eat the miners’ food.
Jed and Jake run out of money and have to take a second job, not unlike
folks today. And like today the second job doesn’t offer health insurance.
This is too bad because they’re soon blown up in a terrible mining
accident. Luckily the doctor is fascinated by the medical novelty of their
survival; he wouldn’t think of charging to patch them up.
When Black Bart strikes gold on their former claim the guys are totally
bummed out. At Lovey’s, Deadwood’s classy brothel, Blossom tries to cheer
them up with free drinks. (Blossom is a bit of a social worker along with
her other talents.) When a patron tries unsuccessfully to steal a big
yellow cat from the cat house, the conversation logically turns to cats
and the irritating rat problem. With rekindled enthusiasm Jed and Jake
head for Cheyenne to scrounge up a wagon-load of cats they can bring back
and sell at a huge profit!!
Naturally Fate has a different idea.
Convinced that cats threaten his grocery business, Bart aims to blow up
Jed and Jake again, along with their cats, as they return to Deadwood. The
explosion is spectacular indeed, but thanks to those magnificent mules the
two old prospectors escape unharmed to find that good times are finally
headed their way!
2009 Mark Beech and Linda Gray
All Rights Reserved