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The Water-Hole

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The Water-Hole

by Maxwell Struthers Burt

Genre: Drama
Setting: America
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length: 90 Minutes

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising


‘There’s gold here,’ he said. ‘Lots of gold. Did you ever hear the story of the Ten Strike Mine? Well, it’s over there.’ He swept with his arm the line of distant hills to the north. ‘The crazy Dutchman that found it staggered into Almuda, ten miles down the valley, just before he died; and his pockets were bulging with samples–pure gold, almost. Yes, by thunder! And that’s the last they ever heard of it. Lots of men have tried–lots of men. Some day I’ll go myself, surer than shooting.’ And he let his hands drop to his sides and stared silently toward the north, a queer, dreamy anger in his eyes. I’ve seen lots of mining men, lots of prospectors, in my time, and it didn’t take me long to size up that look of his. ‘Aha, my friend!’ I said to myself. ‘So you’ve got another vice, have you! It isn’t only rum that’s got a hold on you!’ And I turned my horse into the town.

“But our conversation seemed to have stirred to the surface something in Whitney’s brain that had been at work there a long time, for after that he would never let me alone about his Ten Strike Mine and the mountains that hid it. ‘Over there!’ he would say, and point to the north. From the porch of his bungalow the sleeping hills were plainly visible above the shimmering desert. He would chew on the end of a cigar and consider. ‘It isn’t very far, you know. Two days–maybe three. All we need’s water. No water there–at least, none found. All those fellows who’ve prospected are fools. I’m an expert; so are you. I tell you, Hardy, let’s do it


Strong character diction; colorful setting. A strudy base from which to fashion a musical. Some drawbacks: the outdoor/indoor shifting of landscapes; and more problemmatic is the White Male Centric world in which women are objects, and non-whites are subordinates. Some re-casting might save this picaresque story..


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