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Playwriting Prompts: Western Taglines

I was recently in Arizona and visited a most unique museum. It was out in the desert (I love its name – the Superstition Mountain Museum) and on the property there was a wedding chapel that had been moved there from a movie studio – Apacheland Movie Ranch. The Arizona desert was home to many a western back in the day and this wedding chapel (named the Elvis Presley Memorial Chapel, which had a huge life-sized Elvis statue where the alter should be, but that’s another story) had a number of movie posters from projects filmed at the Ranch.

We’re not going to talk about the movies. Let’s say they don’t seem, at first glance, to be great works of cinematic art. (Lust for Gold anyone?) But, what did struck me were the taglines on the posters. They are pretty awesome. We just don’t describe movies the same way anymore. The first thing I thought of is that they would make vivid writing prompts.

So have a look at the taglines below and use them as a jumping off point for a scene. Write whatever comes to mind when you read the tagline. It certainly doesn’t have to be western-themed. What characters do you visualize (some of the taglines mention a specific character) and what kind of conflict might they be in based on the tagline?

Get writing!

  • Only he knew it was “a time for dying”
  • On his neck he wore the brand of a killer. On his hip he wore vengeance.
  • Big Jim Cole had come to the rim of hell.
  • Flaming skies…. blasted earth… the touch of love.
  • Justice is not only blind, it’s deadly.
  • He rode in alone… a silent stranger… until the day his blazing guns did the talking.

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Theatrefolk is the Drama Teacher Resource Company. We are your one stop shop for Plays, Resources, and Curriculum Support - all specifically designed for High School and Middle School drama teachers.
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