Tag Archives: American West

INCIDENT AT PHANTOM HILL (1966): MOVIE REVIEW

Incident at Phantom HillINCIDENT AT PHANTOM HILL (1966) – With the massive Frontierado Holiday just a few months away let’s start getting in the mood with a review of this 1966 western directed by Earl Bellamy.

In the closing days of the U.S. Civil War the Union Army was transporting a million dollars in gold through northern Texas only to have it stolen from them by Confederate forces at Phantom Hill. The gold was not recovered.

Barely two months after the end of the war a former Confederate named Joe Barlow claims to have been part of the southern unit which hijacked the gold shipment AND claims to know where it is buried. In exchange for a pardon for his many pre-war crimes Barlow agrees to lead a U.S. Army detachment to the fortune in gold.

Incident at Phantom Hill 2A major complication: The desert region where the bullion is buried is located in the Staked Plains, which were recently ceded to the Comanche Indians in the latest treaty. If uniformed troops are spotted poking around in the area a fresh Comanche war could break out. 

An undercover Army detachment is sent in plain-clothes to recover the gold with the shifty Barlow as their guide. And so the stage is set for this underrated second-tier western that I like to call Beau West due to its entertaining blend of French Foreign Legion desert epic appeal with traditional western grittiness.  Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under FRONTIERADO

BON JOVI: SANTA FE – FRONTIERADO SONG

With a loved one in the hospital it’s been a subdued Frontierado here today. Still, wherever you are and whatever your Frontierado Saga, I hope you and yours are having a terrific time! In the past Bon Jovi has given us holiday songs like Wanted: Dead or Alive, Blaze of Glory and Billy Get Your Guns. This time it’s Santa Fe or as some call it Judgment Day in Santa Fe

6 Comments

Filed under FRONTIERADO

HAPPY FRONTIERADO! TIMELINE OF THE WICKED BURG: SIDNEY NE

Wild West TownFrontierado is here at last! Time for buffalo steaks, cactus salads, Tumbleweed Pizzas, Cactus Jacks, Deuces Wilds, Western Spaghetti and lots of games of Frontierado Poker. Naturally the day ends with Silverado plus a few other westerns of your choice. I usually add Posse or Once Upon A Time In The West.

And since it’s a three-day weekend you’ve got both Saturday and Sunday to recover.  

When it comes to Wild West towns places like Tombstone, Dodge City and Deadwood get the lion’s share of the attention. In keeping with Balladeer’s Blog’s overall theme here’s a look at some of the action in the neglected town of Sidney, NE. Figures like Wild Bill Hickok, Luke Short, Susan B Anthony, Whispering Smith and Dom Pedro II of Brazil passed through Sidney in its heyday. Here’s a timeline of just some of the events in the town infamous as “The Wicked Burg”:  

April 29th, 1868 – Daniel Richardson, Thomas Cahoon and William Edmondson became the first recorded dead men buried in Sidney’s Boot Hill Cemetery. All three men were killed in a clash with Native Americans.

May ?, 1875 – Susan B Anthony delivered a lecture in Sidney advocating women’s suffrage.

October 24th, 1875 – At the Capitol Saloon the livery stable owner Robert W Porter and Charles Patterson got into an argument (the subject is not known) that resulted in Patterson shooting Porter to death with 3 shots. Patterson was placed under arrest. Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under FRONTIERADO

RUSSIAN BILL: NEGLECTED GUNSLINGER

Frontierado is this Friday, August 2nd, so just a few days left for seasonal posts this calendar year! As ever, this holiday is about the myth of the Old West, not the grinding reality. 

Wolf Kahler Russian Bill

Wolf Kahler would have made a good Russian Bill

RUSSIAN BILL – William Tatenbaum aka Waldemar Tethenborn aka Feador Telfrin was born in Russia as the son of Countess Telfrin. Russian Bill’s noble birthright was confirmed by the American Consul in Saint Petersburg, Russia after Bill’s death by lynching in 1881.

That’s important to note because during William Tatenbaum’s travels in the American West many people thought the smooth-talking Russian gunslinger was lying about being a nobleman. Apparently they assumed he was a forerunner of the 20th Century’s Mike Romanoff, who became a celebrity based on his brassy – but failed – attempt to pass himself off as a member of the fallen Romanoff dynasty.

The 19th Century’s William Tatenbaum might have lived a longer life if he had pursued a similar con-man’s career instead of falling into the life of a guns-blazing outlaw.

Wolf Kahler Russian Bill 3While serving in the Tsar’s Imperial White Hussars (cavalry) and after seeing action in the Khivan Campaign, the future Russian Bill had a violent falling out with a superior officer. The exact nature of the conflict is not known and years later the Countess Telfrin would refer to it only as “a political affair.”   

Bill left Russia under a cloud and at some point wound up in the American West. The wandering rogue made references to having gambled on Mississippi Riverboats and in assorted Texas towns while participating in periodic “duels” (gunfights) over ladies or related matters of “honor.” Given how true Russian Bill’s claims to nobility turned out to be, all the other claims he made about his mysterious past need to be taken with some seriousness.

Wolf Kahler Russian Bill 2Tatenbaum certainly looked and otherwise fit the part of the Old West Gambler better than the rougher outlaw he later became. He was described as a dandified dresser and sported expensive pistols. In addition he was well-spoken, well-educated and fluent in at least four languages, all of which would have accounted for his popularity with the ladies. His supposedly handsome face, curly blonde hair and moustache would have helped.  

By the late 1870s Russian Bill was in the Animas Valley in Southwestern New Mexico Territory where he fell in with the Clanton Crime Faction, whose control extended from there to parts of Arizona Territory. Some accounts claim Bill first took to committing crimes with them to pay off a gambling debt to one of the gang. Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under FRONTIERADO

KID RUSSELL: EPISODE FOUR

For Episode One plus background information click HERE  For a look at the Kid Russell legend click HERE 

William Smith Kid Russell 2

William Smith would have made a good Kid Russell in the 60s.

KID RUSSELL

EPISODE FOUR

Title: Vigilante Justice

The Year: 1884

Synopsis: By April of 1884 the cattle ranchers of Montana are so plagued by rustlers that they are willing to form vigilante groups for the first time since the Montana Gold Rush days of the 1860s. Granville Stuart gathers at least 14 men around himself to take the law into their own hands against the rampant rustling. Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Fantastic Movie Reviews, FRONTIERADO

TOMAHAWK TAM: FRONTIERADO SAGA

The latest Saga custom written for Frontierado, which is coming up Friday, August 2nd!

TomahawkTOMAHAWK TAM – Tamara “Tomahawk Tam” Wise-Brosnan aka “The Houston Hellcat” led one of the most eventful and action-packed lives in the Old West.

Born in 1863 the ever-willful and rambunctious child ran away in a pouting huff from the westward-bound wagon train her family was traveling with in 1873. Elders from the Nevada Paiute Tribe which adopted her forever maintained that when they encountered the young lady in the desert she fearlessly walked up to them and told them she was hungry and inquired if they had any food to share with her.

Charmed by all this, the Paiute raised her as one of their own. By her teen years Tamara was a close follower of the outspoken Paiute woman Sarah Winnemucca aka Thocmentony aka Shell Flower. It was Sarah who introduced the young Tamara to Eleanor Dumont, the famous gambler/ gunslinger. Eleanor’s free spirit forever after served as an inspiration for the future legend. 

When she was 15 in 1878 Tamara’s tribe left the reservation and found themselves in a conflict with the United States Army, the Bannock War (June-August).

The Paiute tribe under Chief Buffalo Horn could only muster around 500 warriors at the time and during one of the battles Tamara, wielding a rifle and a tomahawk, fought back against the attacking soldiers. From that day forward the newly rechristened “Tomahawk Tam” insisted on fighting alongside the men of her tribe. With her body-count increasing in every clash no one dared say her nay. Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under FRONTIERADO

DEVILS RIVER WHISKEY FOR FRONTIERADO

Devils River BourbonIt’s no secret that Balladeer’s Blog is a Lifestyle Brand. (I’m KIDDING!) At any rate the Frontierado Holiday will be here Friday August 2nd so before you know it, it will all be over for another year. Here’s another brand of booze that I like to drink either straight or mixed in my Cactus Jacks: Devils River (1840).

This Texas Bourbon is created with water drawn from Devils River (Devils is plural, so no apostrophe) and is 75% corn, 21% rye and 4% malted barley. As usual I prefer Barrel Strength – I’m slamming down a 117 Proof bottle as I type – but naturally you’re free to make your own selections.

Remember, to be a Frontierado Whiskey it’s got to have incomparable taste PLUS be strong enough to let you blow flies out of the air right after you take a drink.   Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under FRONTIERADO