- By David M. Kinchen
The filming was conducted by director Mark Cowen, working in conjunction with Think Factory Media, of Los Angeles, and was held at pbh Art Photography Studio at Pitt Branch, owned and operated by Peggie B. Hensley. Video production team members for the day were from Trifecta Productions of Huntington.
Cowen has worked in the documentary field for years and his making of “The Band of Brothers,” as well as “Apollo’s Man Walking on the Moon,” were both Emmy nominated films.
During the interviews, Davis talked about the history of the Hatfield and McCoy feud and the historical research and writings of C.A. Hatfield and Dr. Coleman C. Hatfield; while Barker focused his discussion on state laws and political climates in both Kentucky and West Virginia at the time of the feud.
“I’m honored to be a small part of this effort to tell the true story of this famous vendetta,” Davis said, explaining that the story of the feud has been often exaggerated or distorted in the past. “it looks like the History Channel is focusing on the Mountain State throughout the month of May and June. It’s quite exciting.”
Additionally, nationally known authors Anne Black Gray, who penned a new title, “The Devil’s Son” (Woodland Press); and Dean H. King, New York Times Bestselling Author, who is currently working on his own feud book to be released next year, and others were interviewed for the program.
The books, “The Tale of the Devil,” written by Coleman C. Hatfield and Robert Y. Spence (Woodland Press), “The Feuding Hatfields & McCoys,” by Coleman C. Hatfield and F. Keith Davis (Woodland Press), and “Images of America: Logan County, WV,” penned by F. Keith Davis (Arcadia Publishing), along with other literary works, are being used as resource materials for the historical film. Also, photograph collections by Davis and the Hatfield family are being used.
Part of that documentary includes reenactments of the feud events—also filmed by Trifecta Productions. That was shot at Huntington’s national award-winning Heritage Farm Museum and Village featuring area personalities Clint McElroy, Debbie and Kim Wolfe, Mike Coffey and others.
The documentary is to air in conjunction with a dramatic mini-series on the feud, titled, “The Hatfields and McCoys: An American Vendetta,” that will star Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton Tom Berenger, and others.
In addition to the documentary and the mini-series, there are other nationally televised programs that will be focusing on the famous vendetta. For example, History Channel’s popular “American Pickers” hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz recently visited and filmed an episode in the Mountain State, checking out feud memorabilia in the Matewan and Williamson area.
Likewise, “Pawn Stars” also has an upcoming show that includes a possible Winchester rifle once-owned by Cap Hatfield, second son of Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield and often described as the most violent of the feud participants. The weapon came into the possession of Alex Boone Preece, of Mingo County, in the early 1900s and was later handed down to his descendants. Preece supposedly obtained the rifle in a “horse trade” with Hatfield, while the feudist was on the run.
“How the States Got Their Shapes” will also tape a show of its own this June that will focus on the state and discuss the feud.