dramatic play

Arizona (play)

Arizona is a dramatic play written in 1899 by Augustus Thomas, and is noted for being one of his best.

Arizona tells the story of the affection between a young cavalry man and a rancher's daughter. The young cavalryman is accused of theft, forced to resign, and then accused of murder. Sub-plots include indiscretions of a young wife married to an older cavalry officer, a cavalry officer who will not support his illegitimate child, and the love between a vaquero and the daughter of a German cavalry sergeant.

The play opened in Chicago at Hamlin's Grand Opera House on June 12, 1899. With a cast lead by Theodore Roberts, sets and costumes designed by Frederic Remington, and authentic characterization of the soldiers and citizens of Arizona Territory, it was received enthusiastically by the audience. The Chicago opening also featured a young Lionel Barrymore in a minor role as Lieutenant Young of the Eleventh Cavalry.


  • Henry Canby, owner of Aravaipa ranch.
  • Colonel Frank Bonham, Eleventh United States Cavalry.
  • Sam Wong, cook.
  • Mrs. Canby, wife of rancher.
  • Estrella Bonham, wife of the Colonel.
  • Lena Kellar, a waitress.
  • Lieutenant Harry Denton, Eleventh United States Cavalry.
  • Bonita Canby, Estrella's sister.
  • Miss MacCullagh, a school teacher.
  • Dr. Fenlon, surgeon, Eleventh United States Cavalry.
  • Captain Leonard Hodgman, Eleventh United States Cavalry.
  • Tony Mostano, a vaquero.
  • Lieutenant Hallock, Eleventh United States Cavalry.
  • Sergeant Kellar, Eleventh United States Cavalry.
  • Lieutenant Young, Eleventh United States Cavalry.
  • Major Cochran, Eleventh United States Cavalry.


Time: Just before the war with Spain.

Place: Aravaipa Ranch, in the Aravaipa Valley near Fort Grant, Arizona.Act I Evening, the interior of the adobe courtyard of Canby's ranch house. Act II Midnight, drawing-room of Colonel Bonham's quarters at Fort Grant.Act III Two months later, dining room at Aravaipa Ranch.Act IV Twenty minutes later, the interior of the adobe courtyard of Canby's ranch house.



  • New York Times. "New Theatrical Bills", Wednesday, June 13, 1899, p. 7.
  • Thomas, Augustus. Arizona: A Drama in Four Acts. New York: R.H. Russell (1899).

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