Wild West Murder Mystery is a new show at The Shepherd of the Hills in Branson, Missouri. Sunday, Monday and Wednesday nights, “Bronco Bob’s Wild West Show” gallops across the “stage” at the legendary Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Theater. Nestled in a hollow in the Ozarks, the football field-sized amphitheater has been home to the story of Harold Bell Wright’s classic 1907 novel for over six decades. Now, three nights a week, audiences can experience a Wild West Show, complete with trick riding, Roman Riding, equestrian mounted shooting, trick roping and much more!

 

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Trams start taking folks down the winding trail to the amphitheater around 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show. There’s an air of excitement and an air of anticipation once seated in the amphitheater. A Wild West show? And a murder?! Yes, a murder, but with comic twists and turns along the way. Bronco Bob, for the purposes of this show, is Buffalo Bill’s nephew. He’s brought his Wild West Show to Branson. Bronco Bob’s troop includes zany characters like Santa Fe Slim and Trixie LaRue, Cactus Pete and Buckshot Bonnie … you get the idea!

 

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Trixie LaRue and Santa Fe Slim

 

Everyone in Branson is worried about the Hurley Burley Gang from Reeds Spring robbing the stagecoach when it comes through later. To help protect the coach, U.S. Marshal John Tucker asks kids in the audience to come down to the set to be deputized. (Can you guess what they call this band of little deputies?!)  

 

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Little Deputies

 

Add talented riders and gorgeous horses to this fun-filled story and its characters, and you have an exciting evening of entertainment. There is a large cast and crew for this new production, written and directed by Jae McFerron. There are twelve actors and eight horses, all highly talented and trained. 

 

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Roman Riding

 

Shannon Thomason plays “Bronco Bob.” Trick riders Megan Bailey and Anna Alkire also do the Roman Riding. Abby Ingram and Emily Clark are both trick riders who do the equestrian-mounted shooting. Emily is also an Adagio rider in the show. She is a farrier and has re-shod some of the horses at Shepherd! (You don’t see many female farriers.)

 

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Kenny Stults, a rider and trainer, presents “Flash The Wonder Horse!” Flash is a beautiful stallion who “answers questions,” does math tricks, and executes some lovely dressage-type footwork. Jerimiah Eugenio is a trick rider and does the choreography for the riding in the show. Trick rider Matt Wilson is also an Adagio rider. Benjamin Wegner is an Adagio rider who performs the Pony Express tricks, simulating the lightning-fast changing of horses on Pony Express runs. 

 

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Kenny on Flash “The Wonder Horse!”

 

All the horses in the Wild West Murder Mystery are absolutely beautiful! The trick-riding horses are Apollo and Ginger. Comanche, Dutch and Whiskey are the Adagio and mounted shooting horses. Gunshots frighten most horses. It takes a good horse with a lot of training to race around while the rider is shooting! Slowing the pace, The Last Dance is a lovely Adagio number. There is music for every mood and movement throughout the show. The horses that pull the stagecoach are Belgians, Rick and Ranger. 

 

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Trick Roper Johnny Lonestar, John Giannotti, was a finalist on America’s Got Talent. His roping is incredible, and his Western skills include whips and six-shooters!

 

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That’s Johnny Lonestar with the whip … and brave Buckshot Bonnie!

 

The comedy troupe is a huge part of the show. Dana Embree, “Trixie LaRue,” and her husband Dan Embree, “ Santa Fe Slim,” have both been entertaining in Branson for decades. Both are in some of the other shows at Shepherd. Mike Tilden, “Cactus Pete,” a professional comedian, is in all the Playhouse Theater comedy shows there. Vicki Gonseth, “Buckshot Bonnie,” is a gifted comedian … as are all these four performers. Guaranteed laughter throughout the show! 

 

There are about a dozen crewmembers—stage manager, costumes, lighting, audio, wranglers and more—so it takes a lot of capable people to put the Wild West Murder Mystery together. Put it on your list of “Things to Do in Branson!”

 

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Last Dance

 

The Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama plays on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights. It features 90 actors and actresses, horses, sheep, mules and a donkey. There’s a shootout, the actual burning of a cabin, a love story and a moral message that is as true today as it was more than a century ago when Harold Bell Wright visited the place that is now The Shepherd of the Hills.

 

For more information on these shows and more, as well as the Adventure Park at The Shepherd of the Hills, phone 417-334-4191 or go to theshepherdofthehills.com.

 

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