May 10

Last Stand for Alligator-Horses film?

Next week I’m driving to Nacogdoches, TX., to film perhaps the final scene for Alligator-Horses. I’m filming an interview with Linda Nicklas, former director of the East Texas Research Center, about her research on the life of Richard P. Robinson, called Parmalee in Texas.

Robinson was charged and aquitted with the murder of Helen Jewett, a New York prostitute. It was a notorious event in New York and was the first tabloid murder fueled by the up-and-coming penny press.

An emblem of the Alligator-Horses hunter

Robinson, like Jewett, were both Alligator-Horses. Free souls liberated from family & church that defined & constrained Americans of an earlier generation. They were products of the 1830s, a wild and exuberant decade full of self-discovery & violence.

Jewett fell victim to an an axe & Robinson went to Texas, as did so many under the shadow of scandal.

Robinson changed his name to Parmalee (his mother’s maiden name) & settled in Nacogdoches, where he became fairly successful as a businessman and district clerk.He died in the 1850’s and, like Helen Jewett, lies in an unmarked grave.

May 10

Southern Arizona’s war zone evokes Geronimo’s struggle

Rob Krentz, the victim in this border incident was a neighbor to the Kimball family who gave me access to film in Skeleton Canyon. (See film clip from Geronimo Country on our Works in Progress page.)

The drug cartel madness infecting Mexico makes any visit to the Canyon de los Embudos even less likely than before. Located only 25 miles south-east from Douglas, AZ, this important site in frontier history remains inaccessible. Ironically, the situation probably is not disimilar from when Geronimo’s “last hold out band” prowled the mountains & rocky desert of the region. It is a waiting game.

Geronimo (far right) and his warriors, circa 1886

May 10-17 BH productions return to New Mexico to continue filming Geronimo’s Country. Topics to be covered, if all goes well, include visits to the San Carlos Agency AZ., that Geronimo escaped from in 1885. This was to be his final break-out/raid & concluded with his surrender at Skeleton Canyon, Sept. 1886. Also, we hope to go to Geronimo’s birthplace located north of the Mogollon range & not easy to access.

Jerry Eagan, our guide, fell & broke his ankle while hiking alone since our last visit. Filming will begin with a visit to where the fall took place & include the story of how he dragged himself through the rocks and back to his vehicle.

Death & damage await all who enter this tough landscape. Nothing has changed much since the Spanish began raping the ground for copper in the 18th century. Water remains the key to survival & must be shared with rattlesnakes & mountain lions. Even the people encountered on the trail must be viewed with suspicion. Each of us in this primordial setting must ask ourselves the simple question: are we predators, or are we prey?