Not long ago we were saddened to learn of the passing of one our favorite people on the Thunder Mountain Line. LA “Flash” Gordon was a delightful, engaging man, full of life and wit. He often acted as gracious host to passengers on the train’s executive car, serving wine and cheese and regaling guests with true stores from Idaho’s untamed history.

If you had the privilege to ride with LA, you probably heard him tell his favorite story. In the 1860’s, Big Dave Updyke was the crooked sheriff of Ada County, suspected of many crimes and accused of several more. History says he and his gang robbed a stage coach of thousands of dollars of gold and retreated into the wilderness. A citizen’s posse eventually cornered Big Dave, hanging him and an accomplice. The gold was never found, and is rumored still to be hidden somewhere in Idaho’s City of Rocks.

LA would tell this story with gusto, sharing his excitement for Idaho’s colorful history. LA made every train ride an unforgettable adventure.

River City is an entertainment company. We write all of our own shows. We pondered about how best to honor the memory of LA Gordon. We decided to celebrate his memory by doing what we do best: writing him into a show.

This year you’ll find several “Wild West Dinner Train” or “Spaghetti Western” shows on the Thunder Mountain Line train schedule. For these shows we started with the true story of Big Dave Updyke and added a certain LA Gordon as the head of the citizen’s posse. We took a few liberties with the historical record to make the show work on a train, but kept the heart of the story LA told so often and so well.

This year help us honor the memory of LA Gordon. Please join us for one of the Wild West Dinner trains, or see the same story on the Spaghetti Western trains. There are several dates throughout the year. You’ll find the complete schedule on our website, or on the website for the Thunder Mountain Line.

We think LA would be proud!

For more on the story of Big Dave Updyke, please visit either of these two websites:



Planning a company party or event?  When booking a murder mystery with River City Entertainment, use these ten time-tested tips to make your evening a success!

Publicize in Advance – A murder mystery is a fun and unique event. Once you set your date, let your guests know what a treat they’re in for! It’s best NOT to make it a surprise. Make sure people are ready for this one-of-a-kind event.

Show the Show – We have full descriptions and publicity artwork for most of our shows. If you need art for posters, a web page, or emails, just ask. If we don’t have what you want we will create it free.

Think Activity, not Party – A murder mystery is a fun activity requiring interaction and thinking. A party typically requires just showing up and drinking. There’s a difference! If people expect an activity, they are more likely to participate. Build your agenda with time for socializing. But once the show starts, all eyes should be on the actors.

Have Guests Dress Up – The vast majority of our murder mysteries have themes lending themselves perfectly to a fun dress-up night for your guests. Loss of the Big Boss is one of our most popular shows. Set in the roaring twenties, guests flock to the evening decked out as mobsters and flappers.

Eliminate Distractions – A murder mystery makes people analyze and think. Create your meeting agenda with separate times for dinner, silent auctions, and other activities that would distract from the show.

Get Good Acoustics – Murder mysteries rely on the spoken word to convey story points. It’s essential to choose a room with good acoustics.

Everyone Plays – Our shows are so entertaining, most people play along or just enjoy watching. But occasionally some people carry on side conversations during the show. This is distracting and not fair to guests trying to listen. Set expectations for participation before the show, or politely invite talkative guests to choose a more private setting.

Choose Your Hams – Most of our shows feature special roles for several audience members. They may host a toast in honor of the deceased, or say a few lines as an “extra” in a movie scene. If you have people well-suited for these special duties, let us know in advance! We will work them into the show!

Expect Light Reading – Our murder mysteries feature show programs with information crucial to solving the murder mystery. Make sure the lighting in your venue is strong enough to allow people to read.

Add Something Special – If you want something special to add to the show, let us know! We are very flexible and versatile. In the past, we’ve had male patrons work their real marriage proposals into a show. A grandmother asked us to have her grandkids “arrested” by the sheriff. Our fortune teller once read the entire life story of a husband from his palm as he stared dumbfounded, aided in small part by extensive information provided by the wife earlier that night!

Follow these ten tips, and your murder mystery evening is sure to be a hit!