Their Hero must have been R O S I E
This was taken from the Sacramento Bee 6 Nov 02:
Outlaws ride the rails again
By J.D. Sparks -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 a.m. PDT Wednesday, November 6, 2002
Mysterious Dave and his partner, Chuck Wagon, muscled their way through the Yolo Shortline Railroad boxcars, spurs jingling and gunmetal flashing.
The tough-talking, gunslinging cowboys in black hats were the scourge of children.
Cord McDowall, 12, and his brother, Blake, 10, of Cameron Park, rubbed their throats and threw hard looks at their half-sister Alexis Dashiell, 11, of Plymouth, after Chuck Wagon passed their way.
"He threatened to hang us because I was unsure about a question," Cord said. "I was unsure if he should hang Alexis by her thumbs or her feet."
The trio never expected that a Sunday train ride through the country could turn into so much mayhem and just plain fun.
More than 180 passengers of the sixth annual Autumn Express were treated Sunday to an interactive performance by the El Dorado Outlaws as part of a fund-raiser for Sacramento's Francis House, an area resource and counseling center for the poor.
The nonprofit reenactment troupe specializes in Wild West-style shows that include train robberies, shootouts and interactive skits.
The group was formed six years ago by Psycho ****** -- alias Garry Dornon of Placerville -- and is composed of a dozen amateur actors who hold down day jobs and enjoy researching and role-playing post-Civil War frontier life.
They perform about 20 times throughout the year, wrapping up the season with a November train trip from West Sacramento to Woodland and back.
The fascination with the West can be boiled down to the stuff of childhood dreams.
"Even as a little kid, I wanted to play cowboys," Dornon said.
For others like Dave Althausen of Woodland, theater provides a link to the past.
"The old West is dying out. This is a way of keeping it alive," he said.
The script is flexible and the dialogue unrehearsed, but the troupe has strict rules about wearing authentic clothing.
Members spend hundreds of dollars on their costumes -- the most expensive component being the very real guns they tote such as a Winchester rifle, or a Coach sawed-off shotgun or the compact Pinkerton .45 hidden under the skirts of Hangtown Rose who said, "You never know when a girl might find herself in a spot."
"We're not Kmart cowboys," said Steve Hoffer of Pollock Pines, who plays U.S. marshal Coyote Jack.
Hoffer sported a Colt .45 and a Ruger Vicaro pistol. His black hair and eyes, black suit and white button-collar shirt brought to mind Wyatt Earp. He even wore a black hat, as did Earp.
All the guns, plastic-coated bullets and tough talk didn't go over well with some parents, who felt the emphasis on violence and loose women was inappropriate for young children.
Jason Briggs of Mansion Flats took his 3-year-old son into the bathroom during a staged shootout at the Woodland stop.
He said that a some of his friends had opted not to attend because of the outlaw theme.
"It promotes an image of violence and force -- that with enough strength of will, you get what you want," he said.
While some parents were sensitive to the presence of guns last year after Sept. 11, Francis House executive director Greg Bunker said he has received few complaints over the years.
And judging by the round of squeals as three children dragged an outlaw out of hiding and turned her over to the marshal, the play was the thing.
"We're bad actors acting badly," Hoffer said.