Shootout in Silverthorne |

Shootout in Silverthorne

SILVERTHORNE – Silverthorne transforms into a rough-and-tumble 1880s Western town when Bear Claw saunters into the Silverthorne Pavilion. He’s a mountain man who lives in Weasel Skin Creek, wears (not too smelly) animal skins and carries his rifle and his possibles bag, which can sustain him for a week if it has to.

Bear Claw adopted his rugged lifestyle after problems he had earlier in life. (You’ll have to ask him, if you dare.) He recently came into a good sum of money, so he decided to try his luck with a mail-order bride. His bride, dressed in her Victorian best (and probably smelling better than her hubby-to-be), steps off the train into the Colorado railroad town of Buffalo Chip, joining eight other murder suspects – including the postmistress, local gamblers, a gunslinger, a rancher and a railroad detective who’s looking for a good time.

The Western characters ramble through the pavilion, hinting at their true nature with the cunning of card sharps, as guests enjoy cocktails, dinner and a peach cobbler dessert. After a hearty meal of barbecue beef brisket, marinated chicken, potato salad, cole slaw, cornbread, rice and beans, guests hear one gunshot fired offstage.

Then, a deputy rounds up teams of sleuths to find the murderer.

“We rely on the theater of the audience’s mind,” said actor Don Moon, who plays Bear Claw. “We lead them into that imaginary zone. The audience participation is quite surprising. They come up with scenarios that are so far off base, but they’re so enthusiastic about them, you have to let them expound on it. We encourage them to be unique and creative. It ends up being great comedy.”

The characters play along with the audience through improvisation. Rather than confine themselves to a stage, they walk around, talking to guests and dropping clues.

“These actors actually spend more time interacting with the guests at their dinner tables than on stage,” said Maggie Butler, pavilion coordinator. “The plot will start unfolding during a short cocktail hour and then carry on throughout the dinner. Audience members will actually be folded into the plot.”

“Murder in Buffalo Chip” is family-friendly and lasts about three hours. The mystery begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the lobby of the Silverthorne Pavilion, and doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $35 and must be purchased today by calling (970) 262-7370.

“Murder in Buffalo Chip’

– When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 1

– Where: Silverthorne Pavilion

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