Dr. Lao on his gold donkey
Dr. Lao arrives in the sleepy little western town of , which at first seems to be a peaceful town but is revealed to have some serious problems. Local land baron Clint Stark is trying to buy up the entire town but newspaper editor Ed Cunningham is trying to stop him. The issue comes to a head at a town meeting where Stark informs the townsfolk that the pipe supplying water to the town is failing and repairs will cost a large amount of money. He offers to buy all their properties and then the can go somewhere nicer. The people decide to think it over for a few days and in the meantime they go to see Dr. Lao’s circus.
The circus has a profound effect on some of the townspeople. Vain Mrs. Cassan is shown her very depressing future by fortune teller Apollonius; repressed librarian Angela Benedict is aroused by Pan, the God of Joy; bossy Kate Lindquist is turned to stone by Medusa then back to flesh by Merlin. At the next nights’ performance, the town is shown the story of the ancient city of , in which the happy inhabitants of the town are led astray by an evil man and are then smote down by God. After witnessing this spectacle, the people of Abelone decide how to deal with Mr. Stark’s offer