Hatfields and McCoys - The Real Story

There's a new show on the History channel - Hatfields and McCoys. It stars Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton. I guess it's ok for a drama to be on the History channel because it's about two actual families that were all a fussin' and a feudin'. Although beyond that i'm not sure how historical it is.
Hatfields and McCoys, History, kevin costner, bill paxton, show

I was down in Kentucky and West Virginia several time for work, walking along the roads and back in the "hollers". And back in 2010 i was in the same area on the Kentucky / West Virginia border where the whole Hatfield and McCoy feud took place. I saw the original Hatfield home and lots of other famous sites. I even walked to see where the whole thing started. The trees where the first killings occurred. The story was that the old man Hatfield promised Mrs. McCoy that he wouldn't kill her sons in Kentucky. He kept his word. He took them across the border into West Virginia, lined them up against some trees by a river and then shot them all. Here's some of the pictures from that trip, just to give you an idea of what it's like down there now.

West Virginia - Wild and Wonderful. I think Kentucky's state motto is Unbridled Spirit and theirs usually a horse on the sign.
west virginia wild and wonderful, kentucky unbridled spirit, state sign

There were a bunch of graveyards scattered all around. I would see them as we were walking along the roads. There were a bunch with the last name McCoy. hatfield, mccoy, tombstone, graveyard, a.e.mccoy, 1883-1919, west virginia, kentucky

The creepy ones were when people would have their own "family" graveyard on the back of their own property. We would see a house on a hill and way in the back would be 5 tombstones. I guess it's legal down there to bury people in your back yard.

And there were lots of stores and restaurants trying to cash-in on the Hatfield and McCoy popularity.
hatfield and mccoy store, west virginia, kentucky, buy, home

Here's a typical yard in West Virginia. People are really poor, live out in the middle of nowhere and have tons of dogs, which they don't take car of. They are either in a shack or tied up under the foundation of their house.
west virginia, dogs in shack, tied up

i also saw lots of rosters, presumably for cock fighting. This was the nice "farm", they actually have little houses for them. Most places just used 55 gallon drums as the roster pens.
kentucky, cock fighting, farm, roosters, cages

All of the roads were dangerous down there. Steep winding paths around the mountains where the speed limit was 55 and people drove 70. I guess no one needs to use the suspension bridge any more.
falling down suspension bridge, rusted, river, west virginia, kentucky

But most people we talked to were really nice. Everyone always said "How y'all doin'". So i guess the Hatfield and McCoy story is just like any stereotype people have. Not everyone down in Kentucky and West Virginia smokes, while chewing tobacco, caring a shotgun and telling you to get off their property. Maybe 20% of the people we met were like that, but not everyone.
hatfields and mccoys on the history channel, may, 9pm, costner, paxtonchannel

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