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Video Review - American Heroes Channel - Gunslingers - Deacon Jim Miller

Gunslingers - Deacon Jim Miller - The Pious Killer

Season 2, Episode 6

Release date: August 23, 2015


"Gunslingers immerses viewers in the true stories behind infamous icons and conflicts of the Wild West. Watch as the real, little-known adventures of the Wild West's iconic characters, and see how their fearless pursuit of freedom and profit still resonate in America today."


Deacon Jim Miller aka "Killer Jim" was cagey, smart, deadly, and had a black soul.

He killed at least 51 men.

Acted like a mobster - scared off witnesses or killed them (or had someone else kill them) or paid them for silence

Yet, he didn't drink or use foul language. He appeared to be a family man and attended church.

July 30, 1884 - Coryell County, Texas - He slipped out of church, rode to his brother-in-law's house (John Coop) and killed him while he slept on his porch. Then he raced back to church to a revival meeting as if nothing had happened.

Jim worked hard on his "good guy" image. At his first murder trial, his lawyer was able to get the case thrown out (due to a technicality like a misspelled name or a wrong date).

When Jim lost his father, he and his mother went to live with his grandparents. They were his first victims at the age of 8. He was never charged or went to trial.

During his younger year, he committed petty thefts, horse or cattle thievery.

Around 1880s, the Clemens Clan (cousins of John Wesley Hardin's family) worked for them. Jim married Sally and settled in Pecos.

1891 - Bud Frazer was elected sheriff. Jim Miller became deputy. Jim attended Methodist Church.

After a slew of robberies, and Miller not making any arrests, Bud stripped him of his badge. Thus began a reign of terror in Pecos.

Jim built a crime empire of sorts - rustling cattle and horses. When Bud went out of town, crime became rampant.

Miller is eventually appointed town marshal (like a one-man police force or chief). After Bud tries to shoot him, Miller retaliates and kills him at a saloon.

After Miller's trial (where he was acquitted), he becomes unpopular in PEcos and moves to a little town near Fort Worth where he works as a gun-for-hire. His prices started at $50 then went up to $2000. He was living the high life. People were scared of him.

Upon his hanging, he kicked the stool out himself. They buried him face down.

You may be able to watch this episode on the American Heroes Channel or it might be out there on YouTube. I didn't find it on Amazon.

Link to the Gunslinger Series on AHC site

Video Review - American Heroes Channel - The Cowboy

The Cowboy

Release date: January 23, 2016


"THE COWBOY is a dynamic celebration of the most beloved American icon. These two hour-long specials tell the tale of the Old West through the lens of historians, renowned actors, directors, producers, and cinematographers —including Bruce Dern, Seth MacFarlane, Adam Beach, Anson Mount and Ben Mankiewicz—as well as real-life cowboys and modern-day Western figures. Featuring original interviews with those inspired by the legends and lore presented in iconic moments from classic and contemporary Western films, on-set and on-the-range footage all set to a classic Cowboy score, THE COWBOY explores the significance of what it meant to be this virtuous embodiment of the American character—and harkens back to the spirit that this way of life captured."


A Cowboy was a term for someone causing trouble and who led a hard life but Hollywood changed that. They made them more romantic and heroic.

A cowboy's job was tough - they worked in all sorts of weather (good and bad), they had to cross rivers, the dealt with harsh landscapes, unruly cattle and horses, illness

Mid-19th century was the dawn of the media age when news reported westward expansion.

First official western movie was "The Great Train Robbery" of 1903. It was ten minutes long and actually shot in New Jersey.

Movies hired out-of-work cowboys since professional stuntmen didn't exist yet.

Wyatt Earp visited John Ford's sets and talked to John Wayne.

"The Virginian" (1929) was the first grown-up western with sound

"The Big Trail" starred John Wayne but was a box office disaster

John Wayne's movies made cowboys icons/heroes giving up the "wild life"

1950s saw a slew of quirky western television shows (The Lone Ranger, Bonanza, etc)

Cowboys rarely marry the girl in television, capitalizing on the myth that they are loners

By the 1960s, big westerns are on the decline

"The Magnificent Seven" - a movie where even the bad guys can rise to hero-level status

Late 1960s/1970's, westerns became violent

"Butch Cassidy" movie, everyone dies

I didn't find a video on the American Heroes Channel but it might be out there on YouTube. Otherwise, you can purchase it on Amazon:

Link to the Episode on AHC site

Video Review - Travel Channel - Mysteries at the Museum - Outlaw Marshal

Mysteries at the Museum - Season 5 Episode 5: Outlaw Marshal

Release date: January 30, 2014


"Don Wildman investigates a deadly weapon from the Wild West that played a central role in a duplicitous plot, a device that sustained one man's unbelievable quest for survival on the high seas, and a set of 5 glimmering gemstones linked to a supposed land of riches that hypnotized some of the wealthiest men of their day."


July 1882 - Caldwell, Kansas - town is plagued by violence. City marshal is gunned down. Former Texas deputy marshal, Henry Brown, brings order to the town with his strict moral code (he doesn't drink, smoke or gamble).

Henry Brown seems to lead an ordinary life - he settles down, marries and then a month later he takes a leave of absence.

April 30, 1884 - Medicine Lodge - four men try to rob a bank but the safedoor is locked. They try to escape but a possee quickly forms and traps them in a ravine. Henry Brown is among those four outlaws. When he tries to escape, he's shot dead. The other three are hung for thievery and murder. Apparently the stress of his new life and mounting debts had led Brown to this end.

Interestingly, Brown had ridden with Billy the Kid in New Mexico. He was guilty of 2 charges of murder and horse thieving.

You can watch this episode on the Travel Channel Website:   Link to the episode

Video Review - History Channel - Modern Marvels - Saws

America: Facts or Fiction - Season 13 Episode 21: Locomotives

Release date: July 30, 2007


"Modern Marvels celebrates the ingenuity, invention and imagination found in the world around us. From commonplace items like ink and coffee to architectural masterpieces and engineering disasters, the hit series goes beyond the basics to provide insight and history into things we wonder about and that impact our lives. This series tells fascinating stories of the doers, the dreamers and sometime-schemers that create everyday items, technological breakthroughs and manmade wonders. The hit series goes deep to explore the leading edge of human inspiration and ambition."


Hand saw has teeth pointing forward (to cut on the push stroke) with gullets (spaces between the teeth) which fill up with swarf (debris).

Kerf = cutting groove

Set = the alternative outward bend to the teeth

Start off sawing with a nick or groove made by pulling saw teeth backwards.

Prehistoric flint stone saws have been found.

4900 BC - Egyptians had metal or copper saws to cut soft woods; later they were made of bronze

700 BC - Teeth were set in direction of cut

1730's - Amputation saw (no cleaning which led to a lot of infection especially when the doctor just went from one patient to the next). They basically sawed back and forth on the bone.

1930s - Crosscut saws were invented

Timber cutting is one of the most lethal jobs in America - 110 deaths per 100,000 workers.

You may be able to find this video on the History Channel or on YouTube. I couldn't find it on Amazon.

Official Modern Marvels Site

Direct Link to Saws Episode

Picture Credit: https://woodandshop.com/woodworking-hand-tool-buying-guide-handsaws/