MCE's OUTLAWS & GUNSLINGERS is packed in a double-wide keep case that's able to accomodate a half-dozen DVDs. All five of these half-hour-plus programs are on a single disc stored in a black paper glassine-lined sleeve, and since there's no included liner notes, all that extra space is wasted.
This 2008 western history documentary series was produced by BCI/ECLIPSE (formerly Brentwood). Each chapter is a combination of re-enactments, movie clips and vintage art, photos and other media. An anonymous narrator reads from a simply-worded but well-written script. Expert commentary from these historians: Caroline Breneka, Deb and Tom Goodrich, Greg Michno, Larry O'Neal, John Rese and David Wolfe. Other participants, in order of appearance:
David Kennedy - Cody Firearms Museum curator; Bob Boze Bell - True West Magazine editor; Marc Ferguson - storyteller; Gary Chilcote - Patee House Museum director; Jim Sherer - Kansas Heritage Center director; Jared Chatterley - folklore expert; Steve Zimmer - storyteller; Davis Scism - Dalton Defenders Museum director; George Laughead Jr. - Ford County Historical Society director; Mary Kapko - Adams Museum & House, Deadwood.
#1 - ORIGINS OF THE GUNSLINGER - Time: 31:21
Begins with armed mounted dragoons of the 1820s. Specifc museum piece firearms are explained and demonstrated.
#2 - JESSE JAMES & THE SOUTHERN GUERILLAS - Time: 38:35
Frank James and Quantrill's Raiders attack Lawrence, KS. and massacre 450. Bill Anderson takes over for Quantrill (who left for Kentucky); he brings 17-year-old Jesse into the Raiders. After the war, the James and Younger gang pull off the first successful daylight bank robbery, in Liberty, MO.(1866). They go on a 7 year spree then switch to robbing trains. This continues until 1881. Pinkerton men attack the James family cabin (1/25/75). In '81, only Jesse and Frank escape a botched Smithfield, MN. bank heist. Jesse retires to St. Joseph, MO. While adjusting a wall hanging in his own home he's shot in the back by Bob Ford (Xmas Eve '81).
#3 - BILLY THE KID & THE LONE OUTLAWS - Time: 41:07
Rowdy cowtowns. Showdowns fueled by drink. The rise of lone outlaws Clay Allison, Ben Thompson, John Wesley Harding and William Bonney. Short bios of the first three, more in-depth (and familiar, thanks to numerous movies) for Billy. The Daltons are ex-marshals who rob trains for 18 months then, to top Jesse James, they try a double-bank robbery in Coffeyville, KS. A few townspeople and all but one gang member are killed during their escape attempt. Emmett Dalton survives 23 bullet wounds.
#4 - WILD BILL HICKOK & THE LAWMEN - Time: 38:20
Lynching photos. When James Kennedy accidentally shoots and kills Dora Hand in 1878, the posse that captured him included Charlie Basset, Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp and Bill Tilghman. History of Dodge City. Hickok's bio begins with exemplary Civil War service. On 7/25/65, he and Davis Tutt are involved in the most famous HIGH NOON style showdown. During the Plains Indians war, Bill becomes friends with George Custer and Buffalo Bill Cody. He's Ellis Co., KS. sheriff in '69. While marshal of Abilene, KS. in 1871, Hickok accidentally guns down his own deputy and loses his badge. After moving to the open town of Deadwood, SD., Bill is murdered in a saloon (8/2/76). He was 39. Bat Masterson's reputation is made during the 1874 Adobe Walls battle between buffalo hunters and natives. After service as a cavalry scout he joins the Dodge City Masterson law gang and is county sheriff.
#5 - WYATT EARP & THE GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL - Time: 38:14
Myth of the gunfighter. Cowboy gangs of New Mexico and Arizona. The 10/26/81 OK Corral event is precipitated by a stagecoach robbery with two murders. The fight lasts 30 seconds and the two who started it (Wyatt and Ike Clanton) come out unharmed. Three cowboys are dead, Doc Holiday, Virgil and Morgan Earp wounded. In December, Virgil is shot and crippled. Three months later, Morgan is murdered. Wyatt's one-year long vendetta leaves two cowboys dead. He departs Arizona for Colorado.(No mention of Wyatt's presence in Kansas for the 1883 Dodge City War.)