A Gilded Age Heiress Faces A Killer

An Opera in Two Acts

Composer and Librettist: Randall Shinn

(Libretto complete, Music in progress.)

Duration: c. 100 minutes.

Orchestra: 2121 2210 1perc strings

A link to recorded samples of A Stake in the Ground.


Notes: In 1895 a young heiress, Emily Wingate, travels west to visit her uncle, who is marshal of a Western boomtown. At a dance, she sees her uncle try arrest train robber Victor Ralston. Ralston outdraws her uncle and kills him.

She inherits her uncle’s ranch and loves living there. But Ralston knows Emily won shooting contests as a teenager and becomes obsessed with her. He believes her fate is to become his partner in crime. He tries to woo her, and later, he threatens to abduct her if he needs to.

If she stays on the ranch, she faces Victor’s ongoing threats. If she returns to her property in Pittsburgh, she leaves behind both the ranch and her growing interest in Doctor Diego De La Rosa, a well-regarded bachelor.

Emily vows she alone will decide her future. If she has to fight to defend her choices, she will.