THERE’S a Wild West town in them thar hills – and it’s fixing on getting itself some new blood.
Tranquility, Scotland’s only cowboy community, hopes to round-up a raft of young guns in the wake of video game sensation Red Dead Redemption 2.
The town’s marshall, mayor and founder Johny B – known as Ally Baranowski outside of Tranquility – is all fired-up after the game made £650 million in its first three days on sale.
The game, a character-driven Old West historical drama with cowboys, outlaws and shootouts, is the biggest global entertainment launch of 2018 and the second biggest in history behind Grand Theft Auto V. And it is proving a gold mine for makers Rockstar.
And Johny hopes for a Red Dead bonanza to give Tranquility, near Huntly in Aberdeenshire, a boost. Johny, 66, who set up Tranquility 14 years ago with just three members, said: “I’ve never played the game but I’ve heard about it from young guys.
“Instead of sitting at the computer they should come and do it for real at Tranquility. We also want to recruit outlaws and cowgirls, as well as families of all age groups from two to 92.”
According to its 30 members, Tranquility has it all – lock, stock and smoking barrels. Set around 1865-1900 and sitting in two acres of ground, the clapperboard community is fronted by a main street – the regular haunt of gunslingers.
It has a saloon, hardware store and a town hall, which doubles as a court house. There is also a mayor’s office, livery store and bank.
And members can sleep at the bunk house, in the jail, or in one of two authentic Wild West tents.
Gathering on Sundays from the end of March until November, they hold a series of re-enactments as well as making films – they’ve created a dozen DVDs so far.
There’s a monthly shoot-out, hoedowns at the saloon and a rootin’ tootin’ Thanksgiving celebration planned for later this month along with a Hogmanay gun fight.
And there’s no need to feign an accent. Johny B said: “People forget that a lot of settlers would have come from Scotland and would have spoken much like ourselves.”
When The Sunday Post came to call it was met by none other than a self-taught lasso and knife throwing ace known as Kansas Billy, and in the outside world as William Kidd, 71, from Aberdeen.
Billy, chairman of the Granite City’s Tillydrone Community Centre, had his 10-year-old granddaughter Ellie in tow.
He said: “Tranquility seems real, it transports you back to the Wild West, away from everyday life.
“There is nothing like walking down the main street with a cowboy hat on and the cold, hard weight of a Colt 45 in your hand.
“It may be a replica, but there is gunpowder in the cartridge which creates a great bang and a flash.”
Marshall Johny B had the final word for gamers wanting to see the real Wild West: “There is a magic and a romance about the Wild West. People love to escape from the grind and travel back in time. So what in tarnation are they waiting for? They should mosey-on down to Tranquility, lickety-split.”
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