Tonight we played The Final Girl by Bret Gillan as an enclave of vampires hiding in the Old West, preying on travelers, a force of nature in the high sierra. In introductions, we meet Pamela the quiet predator, Josephus the cranky old prospector, and Chip the seductive chicken thief planning their next hunt. Chip advocates for hitting the chicken coops, but Pamela is looking for bigger game. In the next scene we see Wick the vain sheep herder, Wallace the kindly cattle hand, and Viola the teenage sharpshooter arguing about whose animals get to graze which hill, and whether among the livestock is the right place for target practice. And in the final preliminary, Van Duck the limber lumberjack visits Lilith the whip-smart brothel madam at Bessy the grizzled barkeep’s saloon. After several drinks of alcohol and being certified clean of STDs, Van Duck finally orders a mug of blood and downs the aperitif before going in to see Lilith’s vampiric girls.
In first blood, a mysterious man in a duster and wide-brimmed black hat leads a mob to trap Thomas the noble gunfighter between a bevy of crosses so he can easily stake him and haul his carcass away; then, they surround and burn down the building that Eliza the powerful vampire matriarch has entered. Next, Señor Duster visits Wallace the cowhand and Wick the shepherd in the hills tending their animals and stakes Wallace through the heart before he even realizes what is happening. Viola takes her guns further into the hills and encounters Josephus in the process of foreswearing prospecting forever after a lifetime of failure. He gleefully tosses his tools in the air for the girl to shoot when a pair of lawmen arrive and begin asking questions that lead one to fire a stake from a crossbow into Josephus. When Pamela visits Bessy at the saloon and pays retail for the O-negative blood she supplies the saloon with, the pair get to talking about Bessy’s need for a creative outlet when the same lawmen arrive. Pamela tries misdirection as prelude to feasting on one, but the other stakes her from behind as she moves on his partner. The coward!
Elsewhere, Chip has led Van Duck into a chicken coop outside a human farmhouse. Señor Duster makes a witty remark before dropping holy water from holes in the coop’s ceiling, but in a flurry of feathers, Chip slips away from the carnage. Duster drops into the coop and tries to stake Von Duck, but he limbers away with a twist and a backwards somersault. Finally, Duster takes an atomizer of holy water to Chip’s beautiful face and brings the vampire down. Meanwhile, one of the posse of lawmen brings a sick sheep to see Nick, the gentle horse & cattle doctor, who is busy tending the sick turtle of Lilith, the brothel keeper. Although both are humans who happen to live among us vampires, the lawman is flustered and appalled at our permissive attitude toward the undead, and empties his revolver in the small vet’s shed. Although the first five bullets are wasted, he eventually manages to hit Nick and bring another of us down. At the saloon, Van Duck is arguing with Bessy about whether he should get free services when a hail of crossbow bolts come flying in and brings down the lumberjack.
After their harrowing escapes, Viola meets Wick at his ranch to begin discussing how they can counter-attack against the forces hunting them when Señor Duster pulls himself up from their well and begins a series of outlandish flailing and failing attacks—throwing a wooden shuriken at Viola, firing a crossbow at Wick, trying to squeeze holy water from a dry waterskin on Viola, tripping as he charges toward Wick—until finally he rushes Viola with his duster removed and wraps her up, surrounding her with the pattern of crosses in the coat’s liner, burning her to crisp. Bessy and Lilith have abandoned the saloon and hidden themselves in the loft of a barn, thinking they’re safe when crossbow bolts strike above their heads, missing them. The posse down below try throwing a lit stick of dynamite into the loft, but Bessie bats it away with the first draft of the play she’s written. But the same lawman tosses the candle he lit the dynamite with through the loft window and the hay immediately catches fire and engulfs Lilith.
Bessy and Wick are running away, taking off through the wilderness to escape their tormentors, but arguing about how best to get away: should they separate? Señor Duster arrives on a wagon promising this will be the end for them. He comes after Wick with a stake, but can’t get close enough to use it because of all the sheep. When he tries his atomizer on Bessy, she knocks it from his hand with her play manuscript. He tries for Wick again, this time running across the sheets backs, but they’re too unreliable a platform and he falls. He throws another wooden shuriken at Bessy but it embeds in her manuscript. He picks himself up and grabs the lantern from his wagon, tossing it in the air at Wick, shooting it so the oil and flame fall on the vamp and set him alight. As he turns to face Bessy, she leaps the full distance between them and buries her fangs in his throat, ending his life and the threat, for now.
Now the scene shifts forward to the present day when two playwright students discuss the legend of a Bessy who haunts their MFA program, supposedly stalking and killing any student who becomes too pretentious. One laughs off the whole legend but when he returns home, Bessy visits him that night and teaches him how wrong he is.