Thursday, June 11, 2015

AHC's Gunslingers returns for 2nd Season

A history resource article by  © 2015

Last year I reviewed a couple of episodes of the AHC original docuseries, "Gunslingers".  Now, I see the American Heroes Channel's series returns for a 2nd season in July:

"The 19th-century territory west of the Mississippi was a rough place, swarming with outcasts, murderers, thieves, gamblers and bounty hunters. Throughout this lawless landscape, a few brave men protected the innocent from the endless torment of gun-wielding outlaws. On Sunday, July 19 at 10/9c, American Heroes Channel (AHC) tips its cowboy hat once again to true stories of infamous icons, gun-toting gangs, and fabled conflicts of the Wild West with the second season of its top original series GUNSLINGERS. Each episode profiles a legendary character of the Old West from the unique P.O.V. of the icon himself, exposing their often little-known adventures, and how their fearless pursuit of freedom and profit still resonates in America today. “Behind every great hero is a villain and in the Wild West, where outlaw pursuits and vigilante justice paved the way for modern-day law and order, GUNSLINGERS toed the line between good and evil,” said Kevin Bennett, EVP and General Manager of American Heroes Channel. “Cinematic reenactments, slick special effects, and insightful commentary paint history with a stroke of contemporary attitude, making viewers forget they’re watching a small-screen docuseries, not a big Hollywood Western.” From bank-robbing outlaw Butch Cassidy and hard-nosed enforcer Seth Bullock, to infamous Dodge City sheriff Bat Masterson and lone-ranger Bass Reeves, the unforgivable Wild West kicks into high gear with each episode of GUNSLINGERS. Stories of bravery, survival, and good versus evil offer viewers a thrilling, heart-pounding ride alongside an infamous lawman or outlaw as he navigates his way through a series of pivotal showdowns in a volatile place and time with death lurking around every corner. Juxtaposed with vivid reenactments, expert commentary is layered throughout each episode to ensure the authenticity and historical accuracy of each story. Expert contributors include David Milch, the creator of Deadwood and Bob Boze Bell, the executive editor of True West Magazine.
GUNSLINGERS featured in the first half of the six-part series includes:
 Butch Cassidy – The Perfect CriminalPremieres Sunday, July 19 at 10/9cUntil the day that he died – whenever that was – nobody ever outsmarted Butch Cassidy. He always got away. Cassidy was an outlaw who lived more by his wits than by his gun. It was he and his pal Sundance Kid who first organized crime, masterminding one of the most remarkable crime sprees in American history and making them the most hunted men in America during the early 20th century.
Deadwood Sheriff  and one time
Rough Rider and friend of Teddy Roosevelt,
Seth Bullock.  Image courtesy of
Wikimedia Commons.
Seth Bullock – Sheriff of DeadwoodPremieres Sunday, July 26 at 10/9cIn Deadwood, South Dakota, a mining camp swirling with violence and vice, Seth Bullock is the only stabilizing force standing in the way of utter chaos. Arriving in town at its apex of lawlessness – the very day after Wild Bill Hickok was shot – Bullock is quickly drafted to bring hard justice to the hopeless town. Bullock has his hands full as the mining town is full of prospectors, prostitutes, sharpshooters and outlaws.·         Featured commentator: David Milch, the creator of Deadwood·         Calamity Jane is played by Deadwood actress Robin Weigert Bat Masterson – Defender of DodgePremieres Sunday, Aug. 2 at 10/9cThis well-dressed gunfighter was a gambler, a hunter, an Indian fighter, a scout – but above all else, Bat Masterson was a lawman. As Sheriff of Ford County, Kansas, Bat Masterson kept the peace on the volatile Frontier and earned his fame taming Dodge City – the wildest town in the Old West. He survived the deadliest of shoot-outs on which his legend rests, and lived to tell his tale.
There's been quite a few programs done on Butch Cassidy over the years but I'd never seen anything on Seth Bullock before I watched the HBO miniseries "Deadwood".  In that series, Bullock is played by one of my favorite actors, Timothy Olyphant. (His performances as Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens on the FX series "Justified" kept me riveted for all six seasons of that series, too!)

As a child I grew up watching Gene Barry as Bat Masterson in the late 50s, although the TV series was based on the legend with little of the truth behind this lawman turned journalist.  I have found the AHC docuseries, with its reenactments by professional actors, far more engrossing than the old "talking head" type documentaries and should be especially interesting to American history enthusiasts and even Deadwood fans.