The time is 1956, the place a small cattle ranch in drought-stricken New Mexico. Carl Grey, a former prisoner of war in World War II, is struggling to make a go of it, battling the elements and worrying about providing for his pregnant wife, Charlene. His problems are not eased by his happy-go-lucky younger brother, Frank, who is often more of a hindrance than a help—and with whom Carl finds himself in growing conflict. Although leavened with humorous scenes involving their colorful neighbors, and the denizens of the Busy Bee Cafe, the core of the action focuses on the mounting tension between the two brothers which, despite Charlene's attempts at moderation, ultimately reaches the breaking point when Frank falters at a crucial moment—bringing on an explosive final scene and a split for which there is no longer any hope of reconciliation.
Blending strong drama with moments of bright comedy, this eloquent and moving play explores the growing discord between a stern, hard-working rancher and his ne'er-do-well younger brother. Successfully produced both at the Dallas Theatre Center and Off-Broadway in New York City. "MAGDALENA FLATS comes from the experiences of his youth, with its gripping story about a hard-working cattle rancher and his misfit brother, fighting both the dust in the air and the dryness in their hearts…A lovely play by a loving man." —NY Post. "It offers additional evidence of his artful eye for the significance of local lives." —NY Times. "It's a brilliant play, the kind of theatre that makes one laugh and brings tears and lingers in the mind long after the curtain calls." —Santa Fe New Mexican.