A fellow blogger in Alabama recently wrote an article about Clint Eastwood and the G.O.P. convention. Noel over at the Blood and Soil blog writes
The Outlaw Josey Wales was always one of my favorite movies and for years it used to give me a sense of pride because I knew my Southern ancestors truly had fought in just a way and suffered those type of crimes at the hands of Lincoln’s Yankee government. As I grew older I came to realize that my beloved movie was nothing but a tale, a script likely penned by a non-Southerner with no kinship for the Southern cause. Just another way to make a buck and push a leading man.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but in Noel’s case he happens to be wrong. “Josey Wales” was more than a tale, a script, he was real and his name was Bill Wilson and as Ronie Atnip writes at: ntex-news:
The story of Bill Wilson has been told throughout the Ozark Mountains since he began his bloody career in 1861 to the present day. He is a true folk hero. The Ozarks were full of men who took to the bush and waged a single man to a small gang warfare on the union soldiers, red legs, jayhawkers and spies for the Union. Although there were a lot of these men, if someone said, “The Bushwhacker,” “The Great Bushwhacker,” or the “Famous Bushwhacker,” everyone knew that they were talking about Bill Wilson. His daring deeds are still considered miracles due to his never being wounded once. He is remembered for his superior skill with revolvers and clever tactics in surprising his enemies. The writings and movie about Josie Wales are based on the real bushwhacker, Bill Wilson.
Bill Wilson was born around 1830 in Phelps County, Missouri. His father, Sol Wilson, was a very well-to-do farmer who owned several slaves, but freed them before the Civil War. Sol remained neutral and advised his children to do the same.
At 6’2” tall and 185 pounds with black curly hair and bright blue eyes, Bill was a very striking man. Because of his fun loving personality and skill at playing the violin, he was always in demand for weddings and parties. Bill was never without at least two forty-four caliber six shooters. This was not uncommon in the mountains at that time.
In the summer of 1861, some horses were stolen from the U.S. Government by a guerilla gang. Bill was accused of the deed. He was questioned, but maintained his innocence. A few days later, while he was away from home, a group of Union soldiers, Jayhawkers and Red Legs rode to his house, ejected his family, took everything he had, and set fire to his house, barn and outbuildings. Bill moved his family into a one room cabin on his mother’s farm and started on his quest. Bill Wilson became, “The Bushwhacker.”..
One mistake many historians make is not recognizing the differences between Southerners in Missouri and their brotheron in the “Deep South”. Missouri was first settled by the French, then the Scots-Irish and later shortly before the War Between the States an influx of European Marxists (but that is a subject for another story).
The War for Missourians was more than an ideological ideal, Missouri was one of the first Southern states to fall, and Missourians fought back because the government would not leave them in peace. As Atnip notes:
Mountain people of the Ozarks maintained a code of “mind your own business.” They didn’t readily take anyone into their confidence. In 1939 a book, Bushwhacker – A True History of Bill Wilson, Missouri’s Greatest Desperado was written by a descendent of friends and neighbors of the famous bushwhacker. Even though the author grew up in Phelps County, he never found out that these bushwhackers were associated with Partisan Rangers under Colonel William Clarke Quantrill. During the winter and when not active in Missouri, they were in North Texas. He only found out that Jim Jamison guided Quantrill while the Rangers were in Missouri.
One may wonder what the bushwhackers did with all the U.S. horses they stole. Easy answer. Quantrill and General Joe Shelby were in constant need of re-mounts. Horses were a great contribution to their cause.
After the war, there was a $300 bounty on bushwhackers. Bill Wilson went to Texas waiting on things to settle down. In March, 1865 Dave Poole, Arch Clement, Jim Anderson and 144 other Quantrill Rangers moved to Sherman, Texas. Wilson was probably one of this group. Captain Dave Poole stayed in Sherman and became a successful rancher, spending a lot of his time brokering pardons for many of the Rangers. Bill would not take the oath, but did make many trips back to Missouri visiting his family.
To offer more proof that “Josey Wales” was infact inspired by Missouri’s Bill Wilson , Atnip continues
“In the movie, Josie Wales, Josie arrives in Texas, goes into a store, is shown a death picture of Simp Dixon and is told that Bob Lee is still fighting in Fannin County. Actually, Simp wasn’t killed until one year after both Bob Lee and Bill Wilson were killed. Also, there are no known pictures of Simp Dixon. The one used in the movie was that of Bill Doolin, killed many years later. When Simp Dixon left North Texas, a Missouri Partisan Ranger, Sam Stone, let him set up an ambush in Stone’s woodlot to kill Judge Hardin Hart. Hart was not killed, but did lose his left arm to a shotgun blast. This happened five miles south of Bonham, Texas. Dixon went south tracking Lewis Peacock, Bob Lee’s nemesis, and was killed near Fort Parker. He is buried close to Cynthia Ann Parker, Quanah Parker’s mother, and her family.
The saloon/bordello/gambling house in the movie would have been that belonging to Jim, “Jim Crow” Chiles. Mr. Chiles was burnt out in Missouri before the war and moved his family to Sherman, Texas. He was an uncle of President Harry Truman and had met Quantrill while a wagon master on the Santa Fe Trail. He rode with both Quantrill and General Joe Shelby. All the Rangers frequented his place while in Sherman.
While the movie Josie Wales had minor historical inaccuracies, it had many parallels to the life of the Bushwhacker Bill Wilson. The one big surprise came towards the end of the movie when “Jim Crow” Chiles told the two police officers who were on the great outlaw roundup, that Josie’s name was “Mr. Wilson.”
I further disagree with Noel, when in his article he writes (of Clint Eastwood’s appearance at the G.O.P. convention ):
As my mind snaps back to the scene on my television with one of America’s favorite actors, I can’t help but see the similarities between Eastwood’s portrayal of Josey Wales and his attempt to portray himself as a Republican zealot. Only this time instead of using history as his backdrop he uses a stage and has an empty chair as his villain. This is symbolic of the Republican party and their choice of Mitt Romney as their new hero out to save the day.
Mr. Eastwood paints the typical picture that the evil liberals have pursued his team and his country is at stake. Out of the Northeast comes a hero. A new political version of Josey Wales who will fight against long odds but who in the end, will set things right. Watching Mr. Eastwood sputter out his half-hearted script a couple of things become painfully obvious. Clint Eastwood is just an actor, who mouths words written by someone else for entertainment. He answers to others behind the scenes who foot the bill for his movies just as Mitt Romney reads his script and answers to those who foot his political bill. There is no reality to either of their speeches. Only hollow words spoken to an empty chair.
In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the country is at stake and many of my “Nationalist” friends in the “Deep South” need to understand that no, Romney is not the answer to our prayers but he is the best chance we have to remove a socialst-marxist ideologue from the White House. Any dreams you or I have for self-government will be much harder if he is reelected.
I do not believe that someone else wrote Eastwood’s “script” and I don’t believe he has caved in to anyone. For those who’ve might have forgotten the tenacity of Mr. Eastwood allow me to quote from a 2008 Huffington Post article which reported:
Clint Eastwood has advised rival film director Spike Lee to “shut his face” after the African-American complained about the racial make-up of Eastwood’s films.
In an interview with the Guardian published today, Eastwood rejected Lee’s complaint that he had failed to include a single African-American soldier in his films Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, both about the 1945 battle for the Japanese island.
In typically outspoken language, Eastwood justified his choice of actors, saying that those black troops who did take part in the battle as part of a munitions company didn’t raise the flag. The battle is known by the image of US marines raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi.
“The story is Flags of Our Fathers, the famous flag-raising picture, and they didn’t do that. If I go ahead and put an African-American actor in there, people’d go: ‘This guy’s lost his mind.’ I mean, it’s not accurate.” Referring to Lee, he added: “A guy like him should shut his face.”