Tall Tale Play Script for Schools-Pecos Bill and the Rip-Roaring Tornado

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12 characters. 2M, 4F, 6 Either; 6 pages in length. Approximately 5-10 minutes running time. A western adventure for children written by Corinna Rezzelle.

Pecos Bill and the Rip-Roaring Tornado tells the story of a young Pecos Bill and his adventures with his family across the Old West. Pecos loves animals. He has an awesome pet rattlesnake that he has trained to be a lasso; he even meets and befriends a herd of coyotes! It is a dark, blustery day when Pecos meets a rip-roaring beast that he isn’t sure even he can tame! Come team up with Pecos to tame the wild tornado and learn how the legend of the first rodeo began!

Corrina Rezzelle is excited to join the writers of Drama Notebook! Corinna has been an active actor, director, and stage manager since childhood and a theatre teacher for almost eight years. Holding a M.A. in Educational Theatre and a teaching credential, Corinna’s goal is to create engaging theatrical scripts that all students will enjoy performing.

Excerpt from the play:


Pecos Bill
Coyote 1
Coyote 2
Coyote 3
Bandit 1
Bandit 2
TORNADO (can be an ensemble character, or just one person)

Setting: On a farm

(Tips for Performing) This short play is perfect for upper Elementary or Middle School students. The setting can be on a bare stage or classroom, or have an elaborate scene such as a windmill, wagon wheels, etc. Extra students can be used to create the scenery and the tornado. The tornado can be created with a large group of student hold ribbons and twirling and moving about in slow/fast motion. Enjoy and have a great time putting on this play with your students!

Howdy there, par’ner. Welcome to the Wild Old West. The story you’re about to see is an old tall tale from days long ago.

Where gunslingers roamed the land

And families traveled in search of a new home,

Following tales of gold

And fantastic animals that could do big things.

And of rodeo riders, brave and strong.

But how did the rodeo begin?

Gather around close and we’ll tell you.

This is the story of Pecos Bill and the Rip-Roaring Tornado.

(The character goes behind the stage, curtain, or stand to the side of the stage. The lights go out. Old timey music begins to play. MOTHER comes on to the stage and begins sweeping and miming that it is hot. SISSY, SARAH and JENNY sit on the group and play a game of patty-cake. FATHER enters in a fuss.)

Well, ma, it’s time to move! Our neighbors moved in only 50 miles away from us. It’s too close! Time to move on out West.

Alright, grab the children.

(PECOS BILL enters with a stuffed snake draped around his shoulders.)

Pecos Bill, what in tarnation do you have around your neck?! Git it, Frank, before it strangles him!

(FATHER lunges for the snake, but PECOS BILL protects it)

No Ma, he’s a nice rattlesnake! Look he can do tricks. I trained him to act like a lasso! See?

(PECOS BILL twirls the snake in the air. He could hit a few stacked bottles, but not necessary)

Alright…just make sure he doesn’t eat the chickens.

C’mon Mother, children, let’s move on out. We’re moving to California!

(They all cheer and create a wagon. This can be done by having the characters stand in a wagon shape—see graph below. And having the characters on the side hold fake wagon wheels.)

They journeyed long hard days.

The sun beat down on them.

It’s so hot!

How much longer is it to California?

(exhausted) Who knows?

1,463 miles to go.

(to the audiences) Pecos knows everything.

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