Saturday, June 02, 2012

Saturday Man Movie

In Matewan, a movie based on true-to-life events in Mingo County, West Virginia, Police Chief Sid Hatfield tells the mine company's hired detectives how it's going to work.

Of course they come back with more men and guns, and Sid has to explain it to them with a bit more emphasis.

The Baldwin-Felts men weren't going to let that stand, however. They murdered Hatfield on the courthouse steps in Welch a few months later, and this act precipitated the great Battle of Blair Mountain as miners converged on the area from all over the state, only to be met by even more hired company gunmen.

Before it was over, thousands of men on both sides squared off in the hills and hollows, firing hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition at each other from every type of weapon available at the time, muzzle-loader to machine gun. It took the mobilization of US Army troops, including four of General Billy Mitchell's new biplane bombers, to bring an end to the violence, but not before over a hundred men had been killed in the fighting.

Good movie, and a true story, brought to you from the hills of West Virginia, circa 1920.


  1. Never heard of it. But I gotta see it!

  2. @ Andy: The movie was pretty good, but sadly it revolves around the young union organizer that comes to town and Sid Hatfield is relegated to a small bit part. Pity, because he and his fight are what much of it was really about But David Strathairn nails the Hatfield role regardless. Rent it. It's easy to find, and worth the watch, even if it is blatant leftist union propaganda, which is what writer/director John Sayles intended it to be.

  3. Still my favorite line:

    Sid: "I'm giving you ten minutes to get these people's belongings back in the house."

    Griggs: "If the rest of the boys were here you wouldn't be so cocky."

    Sid: "If the rest of the boys were here I'd give you five minutes. Now move it."

  4. On my list. Thanks ML.

  5. Murph - - been to this place?

    (I'd have emailed the link but you don't provide one on your blog)


  6. Yep - Good movie.

    It's not that unions have been purely bad - the came out of a need. It's what they have evolved into.