Poker Flat, a small town in Northwestern California, is the setting for this much-loved and much-adapted short story by iconic western writer Bret Harte - or, the “Immortal Bilk”, as Mark Twain maligned him. Performed by Jack Benson with a masculine serenity befitting its hero, "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" gathers a group of misfits into a grand natural amphitheater upon their banishment from a town that has recently experienced a run of hard luck. Luck and fate become the themes of Harte’s tale, and a prototypical American type - the quiet, philosophical gambler - is born.
"The Outcasts of Poker Flat" has inspired no less than two operas and at least three films, including the classic spaghetti western, Four of the Apocalypse. Here is the original.