Road to Valhalla Part 2

(Deb) As you all know, I’m a big fan of Kansas history and I’m so thrilled
to share The Road to Valhalla with you, Ken Spurgeon’s latest release from
Lone Chimney Films, an overview of the Civil War in Kansas. Stay with me,
Deb Bisel your co-host, for Around Kansas as we explore this incredible Civil
War history of Kansas And Missouri.Closed Captioning Brought to you by the Kansas Soybean Commission.
The Soybean Checkoff Progress Powered by Kansas Farmers.(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas. With me is Shawn Bell and Shawn is the
Associate Producer of the Road to Valhalla and President of the Board of
Directors of Lone Chimney Films. What an auspicious title, a lot of
responsibility and a good man to fill it. so, Shawn, you’ve been reenacting
for a long time and you’re a native Kansan and, so, you’ve brought these
two things being a native Kansan, your love for Kansas history and your
love for reenacting together in a really wonderful way, so tell us how you
got involved in that. (Male) Well I’ve been a re-enactor since 1994, so
almost twenty years now and been all over the United State reenacting and
doing reenactments of the Civil War and then wars, or plains and then wars
and doing that and, you know, getting to know Ken as re-enactor first and
Ken and I, our relationship bonded from there basically. Usually I’m on the
other side and Ken’s on the other side shooting it, so, but you know, it is
what it is. It’s the love of the history that brought us together, so
that’s pretty much where that all started and is still continuing today.
(Deb) Now re-enacting’s a tough hobby. It’s not easy. (Male) That’s true
and it can be a somewhat expensive hobby, you’re right. (Deb) Right and,
but somehow you manage to bring together a lot of people that do that hobby
and love it and are as committed as you guys are and you’ve got to have
them for a film like this. (Male) That’s true. It takes a lot of people to
make a film as you well know, not only behind the scenes, but in front of
the camera and behind the camera. Our re-enactor help is incredible and
without them, Lone Chimney is really not a film company because re-enactors
are mini historians whether they have the degree to show it or not. In
fact, maybe sometimes more knowledgeable then some historians and research
they do on the individual or just a personal persona that they may have
come up with themselves or their own personal relative, you know, they do
their research and that’s why we appreciate having those people come out
and volunteer to be in our films. (Deb) Now what was your favorite part of
working on this one? (Male) I think my favorite part of working not only on
this one, but all the others as well is being able to work with Ken and
being a part of something so great that was a brainstorm of Ken’s and to
see it come as far as it is and the comradery and the brotherhood that we
have developed over the years that we’ve been making films and being re-
enactors has made our bond much closer as individuals. (Deb) Isn’t it great
that you can do something you love with people that you love? (Male) It is,
it is. (Deb) That’s as good as it gets. It truly is. Alright, so there’s
just nothing better than doing what you love with the people you love and
to leave a legacy, which is exactly what you were getting to for future
generations or for just folks around the state, around the country to
understand what a great piece of American history this is, that’s an
awesome thing. (Male) Right. You know my great grandmother lived to be a
hundred years old and I knew her. You know she inspired me to a sort of
historian, so hopefully with that history and knowing that I have the
history behind me influences me even more to want to be a better historian,
even if it’s on an individual basis. (Deb) Wow that’s a great connection.
Shawn, we’ve loved visiting with you. We’ll be right back with more of
Around Kansas.

(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas. We’re in the Fox Theatre in downtown
Newton, Kansas, about to premiere the movie The Road to Valhalla and we’ve
got one of the stars with us. Tom Leahy, who portrays the man himself,
Quantrill. I’m good to have you. (Male) Thanks for having me. (Deb) So this
is the second time you’ve gone Quantrill. So how did you get to be the bad
guy, you know, nice Kansan that you are? (Male) I never planned on being
the bad guy. I was just auditioning as maybe one of Quantrill’s raiders or
the townspeople and I guess I have that look. (Deb) Well Quantrill had a
very mild manner look. He was not didn’t look like a ruffian. He was a
distinguished looking man, so that’s not uncomplimentary. (Male) Yeah.
(Deb) So you’re a board member of Lone Chimney Films as well. (Male) That’s
correct, yes. (Deb) So tell me about Lone Chimneys mission and what you
guys are trying to do with the work. (Male) Well our mission is to educate
people about Kansas history and let them know what a rich and deep history
we have here in Kansas and it’s a non-profit organization and we try to get
a lot of education into our films and I show the films in my classroom and
throughout Kansas, a lot of the films have been distributed, our Touched by
Fire and our Bloody Dawn. We’ve had hundreds of those distributed and it’s
just nice to be working with guys from Kansas that have the same passion
for the history of Kansas and we’re all in it really because we care.
(Deb) Yeah, isn’t that wonderful, everybody having the same passion.
(Male) Yeah. (Deb) Now you’re teaching. (Male) That’s correct.
(Deb) So talk about the role of documentaries like this as a teaching tool.
(Male) Well they really help because nowadays, kids really want pretty
immediate feedback on what’s happening, so from a book, it’s okay, but when
they see it actually happening and they can relate to a character and say,
You know I wonder how it was like back in those days or how would I react
if my town was being burned or if a man I didn’t agree with was telling me
how to live my life, and we try to, in the classroom, try to let these kids
understand that Kansas history was part of the United States history and it
was a huge part of making this country as great as it is today, so.
(Deb) Front and center in U.S. history. (Male) Right. (Deb) Good job. Well
I can’t wait to see the movie. (Male) Oh, I’m excited too. (Deb) Oh, well
great job. (Male) And we do appreciate the narration you’ve done and it was
wonderful and, so, I appreciate that. (Deb) Thank you. Well like you said,
it’s a labor a love, isn’t it? (Male) Absolutely, yes it is. (Deb) It’s all
a labor of love and we all do it because of the passion and it brings
together some very interesting people, doesn’t it? (Male) It sure does,
yeah. (Deb) From the past and present. (Male) Yeah, that is true.
(Deb) We’ll be right back with more of Around Kansas.

(Deb) Welcome back to Around Kansas. I’m Deb Bisel and I’m thrilled to
have today, Michael Martin Murphy. Welcome and Michael Martin Murphy,
I’m sure is known to again, all of our viewers as a wonderful musician, but
I want to talk about your love for history and that got you involved in the
project, the Road to Valhalla and I got to say, the songs that you wrote on
Frank James and Cole Younger, they are awesome, very good, but you
obviously have a real love for western history. (Male) Yeah, I started
collecting books on western history when I was a kid, about seven years old
and I collected western artifacts also, mostly guns, rifles, bows and
arrows, arrow points, things like that. It’s just been a lifelong
fascination. I grew up in Texas. My granddads, my uncles were all cowboys
and ranchers and I was just fascinated with what happened in my heritage.
My family moved out west to Texas in 1848. (Deb) Where did you move from?
(Male) North Carolina, but one fought in the battle of San Jacinto with Sam
Houston, never made it back. (Deb) Wow. (Male) Never made it back to Texas.
He went back to Tennessee to get his stuff and he caught some kind of a
fever and died, but otherwise, we would have been there before the
revelation, before 1836. (Deb) Now tell me about Kansas history because
you’ve been involved in like Home on the Range, I mean, you’ve leant your
name and your support to some really wonderful projects in Kansas.
(Male) Well Kansas is the quint essential western state. (Deb) Amen. I am
so glad to hear you say that. (Male) It’s just a fact. (Deb) It is a fact.
(Male) You know there isn’t any kind of booster. That’s coming from
somebody who’s not from Kansas. (Deb) Absolutely. (Male) But because of the
Santa Fe Trail and because of a little piece of the Pony Express Trail,
which was connected to the Oregon Trail and because of the Chisholm Trail
because of the Western Trail coming through here, this was the central
crossroads of the American west and the Santa Fe Trail history is so rich
here and virtually every great westerner that you’ve ever heard of was in
Kansas at one time or another, Jedediah Smith died in Kansas down by
Ulysses, Kansas at the Wagon Bed Spring, Wild Bill Hickok was here, Wyatt
Earp was here. (Deb) Buffalo Bill Cody. (Male) Buffalo Bill was here, Billy
the Kid was here briefly, Jesse James, Frank James, on and on. I was just
down in Oakley, Kansas. They built a beautiful statue down there of Buffalo
Bill chasing a buffalo. (Deb) Isn’t that incredible? (Male) And that’s
something worth seeing I think a lot of Kansas people haven’t seen yet
because Oakley isn’t known as a tourist place, but they’re getting some
traffic in there now and I’m gonna do a concert there next year. (Deb) Oh,
that is wonderful. For those of you that don’t know that, Buffalo Bill
earned the name Buffalo Bill Cody real near Oakley in the buffalo hunt
where he challenged the other Buffalo Bill and he beat him and, so, that
monument, which is monumental proportions, like you say, that’s worth
driving out there to see. (Male) It is and, you know, the people that run
it are just super nice. There are a lot of historical sites like that in
Kansas that I think a lot of times, get overlooked. (Deb) I think so too.
(Male) But these people really developed this site, so. (Deb) That’s
wonderful. Well we’ll have to say on top of that. All right now, talk about
being involved with this film, The Road to Valhalla. (Male) Well, of
course, you can’t really understand western history unless you understand
the Civil War and the issues that happened in this state are a large part
of sparking the Civil War, so I got involved through Oren Friesen, my
friend from Kansas. (Deb) Isn’t he amazing? (Male) He’s a good
friend. I’ve known him for a long, long time. He told me he was gonna play
Lincoln and I thought that was great, you know, and he said, Well they’re
gonna shoot another segment that I’m gonna be in and they’d like to get you
to come over and sing a song in it. And I said, Well do I have to wear a
Yankee uniform?î And he said, Yes. So, you know, after I forgave Warren
for wrangling me into wearing a Yankee uniform, I had a good time, no, I’m
just kidding. (Deb) Well, you know, when I did my family history research
and I found that one Yankee, I had to renew my valium subscription, you
know, but yeah. So you get to do this Yankee it’s a campfire scene, right?
(Male) It’s a campfire scene. I play a Union officer and, you know, they’re
in a battlefield situation, but it’s nighttime and there’s not battle going
on and it is authentic that they did play some of this music. Most of it
was fiddle and banjo music though. They really didn’t have guitars much at
that time. Guitar was kind of considered a parlor instrument that a woman
in a long skirt played or a Mexican played, you know, and fiddle and banjo
music was what they danced to and what they entertained themselves around
the campfire, so that’s what you hear me doing. (Deb) Now you talked about
your ranching history and your family coming from North Carolina, I grew up
in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia and North Carolina, you’ve got to
have some musicians back there too in the background. (Male) Well this goes
all the way back to the time of the Revolution, you know, of the American
Revolution that my family was in there. They all migrated here to Texas in
1848. I think a lot of people probably, you know, they think about Kansas,
Nebraska, but looking back more than a hundred years, this was Dakota
territory, part of Dakota and became known as Kansas territory later and
there was a small piece of there’s a piece of Texas that also came up that
went all the way up into Colorado where probably Texas is really close to
Kansas. (Deb) Absolutely. (Male) You know in the 1840’s, of course, and the
Civil War or before the Civil War, it was a really hard fought thing to
talk about getting rid of slavery or keeping slavery. Kansas and Missouri
really didn’t have that much of a cotton industry, so there really weren’t
that many slaves, but John Brown made an issue of it and came down here and
slaughtered a lot of people and, so, that divided people along the lines
of, you know, the abolitionists and the non-abolitionists and, of course, a
lot of abolitionists lived in Kansas and they came over from Missouri and
there was the Lawrence Massacre, which they cover in another segment
they’ve already done here. so I was proud to be a part of it, you know, I’m
fascinated with the story of it and I think it’s kind of the beginning of
the western outlaws right after it all happened and the war was over when
Missouri made a law that you couldn’t be a confederate soldier. If you’d
been a Confederate soldier, you couldn’t vote in Missouri, you couldn’t own
land, so Jesse James and those guys kind of went wild over that. Took
away their constitutional rights, so they went crazy and, you know, people
pretty much know the rest of the story, but what they don’t realize is how
much they were in Kansas and it was an issue. You know it still might be an
issue in places. (Deb) I’ve got one more question that I want to ask and I
know you’ve got to get on stage, you work so hard. (Male) I do? (Deb) You
do. (Male) I’ve never worked a day in my life. (Deb) But, Michael, you are
on the go all the time. You keep a tremendous performing schedule. You do
tours. You work the ranch and you work all the time. You work awfully hard
and why are you working so hard? Is it all a labor of love and when in the
heck do you find time to read history and all this stuff? You just amaze
me. (Male) Well I go on tour and there’s other people driving on the bus or
something and I’ll do a lot of reading on there and, you know, when I go
home, I’ve got an extensive library and now I carry an iPad, so I download
the books. So I don’t really have any other skill set, that’s the problem.
(Deb) Well we’re grateful for the skill set you’ve got. Thank you so much.
(Male) Thank you. (Deb) We appreciate it very much and appreciate you’re
being a part of the film. It was wonderful. (Male) Thank you.

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