Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Man Movie

This one isn't terribly well-known outside of West Virginia and Labor circles. It's from the film "Matewan", about the 1920 gunfight between striking miners led by police chief Sid Hatfield (A real man if ever there was one) and detectives hired from the Baldwin Felts Detective Agency. The movie plays a bit loose with some of the story, but the gunfight in downtown Matewan really happened, leaving seven detectives, three miners and the town mayor dead in the street. John Sayles depicts the Battle of Matewan fairly well here, although I would have preferred to see more Sid Hatfield and less pro-union propaganda (But it was a Sayles film, after all...) Anyway, enjoy this cinematic tribute to the State of West Virginia, circa 1920, and the depiction of the first round of what became the largest non-military uprising of armed citizens in American history.


  1. If I remember correctly, this eventually led to the battle at Blue Mountain where Army troops ended up being called out to put down the insurrection.

  2. You remember correctly, sir except that it was Blair Mountain.

    Over 15,000 men in the hills with guns, and a million rounds fired by both sides before the Army quelled it. No one will ever know how many dead were secretly buried on those hills, but it's probably a significant number.

    It's also one of my reasons for advocating gun ownership. One of my many, many reasons.

  3. This movie generated one of the first deep disagreements btwn Trooper and I - of course, he likely had kin associated with the event which gives him ammunition, so to speak.

    But it was the start of my bringing him into the light. The anti-union light, that is.