Bryan D. Leys

Kid Dakota


It’s 1928 at the Lazy H Dude Ranch in Silver Bell, Arizona. The ranch is named after its owner, Violet Hart, an ex-rodeo queen. The Lazy H was once a working ranch, but hard times have forced it to open its doors to tourists. The latest guest is Betsy Baxter, Hollywood star of the “Baby Betsy” two-reelers, who’s been promised an adult part in talkies if she can learn to ride a horse. The staff at the Lazy H includes Dusty Rhodes, Slim Jenkins, Bill Cole, and Charlie Tallfeather. But the best loved-cowboy at the ranch is Kid Dakota, a young fellow who can out-rope, out-ride and out-lie any cowboy in the known world.

The Kid and Betsy have a brief romance. Then, she runs back to Hollywood. With the ranch gone broke, Kid and the gang follow her to California with hopes of becoming stuntmen. But the work is hard and Betsy is reluctant to date a man in the same profession that killed her father. Broke and dejected, the Kid comes up with a new plan. He dons an outrageous costume, grabs a guitar and convinces his friends to become singing cowboys. Within a year, the Kid is the biggest star in Hollywood while Betsy, typecast and forgotten in the age of talkies, ends up forgotten.

The Kid’s ego swells to the size of his ten-gallon hat and soon the rest of the gang walk out on him. Betsy, reduced to singing in a cheap nightclub, shoots the owner when he tries to attack her. To save Betsy the Kid is confronted with a dilemma – he is forced to choose between stardom and the woman he loves.

Kid Dakota tells a tale of two worlds that clash as each is coming to an end. The old west and the silent movie are gone. But in adapting, the characters run the risk of forgetting who they are. Kid Dakota is a medium-sized musical with traditional show tunes and a wealth of comic material. It is designed for ten performers or more.

Cast of Characters - (in order of their appearance)

Willard (Dusty) Rhodes An old, crusty cowboy.
Slim Jenkins A rather large cowboy.
Bill Cole An Afro-American cowboy..
Charlie Tallfeather An Indian cowboy.
Violet Hart Owner of the Lazy H Dude Ranch.
Kid Dakota A heroic cowboy.
Betsy Baxter A former child star.
Roselita Gonzales Her personal assistant and friend.
Harry Bloom A two-reeler director.
Johnny Monday A gangster.
Bartender, Piano Man, Nigel The chorus man.

Music Excerpts

Music by James Campodonico