I've always enjoyed high quality history documentaries. However it seems in recent years such a thing is getting more and more difficult to find. Left wing agendas have pretty much taken over the National Geographic Channel and the History Channel is more likely to have stuff about UFOs or ghost hauntings than a decent history film. Happily the other day Arthur Soule got in touch with me to let me know about a new documentary he and Felix Mizioznikov have just released. It is titled "Ben Kilpatrick's Last Train Ride To Boothill" and is about a very real Texas outlaw and train robber.

Benjamin Arnold Kilpatrick aka the "Tall Texan" was born in 1874 in Coleman County, Texas. His family moved to Concho County south of Paint Rock where they raised cattle and sheep and Ben learned to cowboy and ride before he left home, according to him at the age of twelve. Although he was generally well liked by some of those who knew him Ben became an outlaw robbing trains with Black Jack Ketchum's gang. He rode for a time with Harry "Sundance Kid" Longabaugh and Robert "Butch Cassidy" Parker and posed for the famous photo of the "Wild Bunch" at Fort Worth in 1900. That's Ben seated in the center of the above photo with Butch seated to his right and Kid Curry seated far left. In 1901 Ben got arrested for participating in the robbery of the Great Northern Express train at Exter Creek, Montana. He spent ten years in prison for his crime and upon his release found the Concho County Sheriff outside the prison gates waiting to arrest him for the murder Oliver Thornton. The sheriff brought him back to Texas and he faced a murder trial that ended in a not guilty verdict. Apparently learning nothing from his time in prison and the trial, Kilpatrick went back to robbing trains with Ole Hobeck. It all ended badly in March 1912 when the pair tried to rob a Southern Pacific train outside Sanderson and got killed for their efforts.

Mizioznikov and Soule's documentary does a fine job of telling the story of the tall Texan without romanticizing the facts of his sordid life. Kilpatrick and his cronies Black Jack, Butch and Sundance were heartless killers who deserved exactly what they got. While very popular movies like "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" made audiences laugh at their antics, the grim reality is far from being humorous. "Ben Kilpatrick's Last Train Ride To Boothill" is based on solid research and contains many fine historical photographs. The producers went to great lengths to actually visit each of the places where the events took place, a rare but vitally important part of historical research. This is an excellent, well thought out film, one that anyone interested in the days of the last train robbers should see. It is available at:



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