Rance Burgess was a rancher who ran afoul of the crew of Serenity when he decided to wage war against a brothel run by Nandi, a former Companion and friend of Inara Serra. He owned an extremely rare laser pistol, making him stand out among other powerful figures due to his access to such technology. According to Nandi, Burgess was the richest man on the planet, possessing the necessary resources to make the planet a real community, but kept everyone else poor so he could play at being a "cowboy in his own gorram theme park". Malcolm Reynolds and his crew helped lay out the defense of the brothel when Burgess and his cronies attacked to try to take the son he begat on one of the whores, Petaline. Despite Burgess having a slight edge when one of the whores told him about the new arrivals — the crew's defense being based on the idea that they would be able to catch Burgess off-guard because he wasn't expecting a fight, with the whore's advance warning allowing some of his men to attempt to take Serenity, as well as arriving more heavily-armed than they might have done otherwise — he lost the battle, being captured by Mal when he tried to escape and subsequently being killed by Petaline herself, who held his son in her arms while she shot him, telling the baby to say hello and then goodbye to his father.
He had, seemingly, nothing but contempt for the whores, even the one on his side, yet saw nothing wrong in his own behavior in using them, and got off (in every sense) on abusing his 'mole' in front of the de facto lynch mob he had assembled. This was one of several double (at least) standards Burgess displayed, lending credence to Nandi's assertion that he truly valued no one but himself.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
Burgess was portrayed by Fredric Lehne.