Friday, May 22, 2020

Film Friday - The Highwaymen

Today we review another Netflix offering. "The Highwaymen" concerning the hunt for a couple of worthless outlaws by Frank Hamer and Maney Gault. For more information about Frank Hamer, whom was one of the better gun fighters in the early part of the 20th century, I recommend reading "Texas Ranger" by John Boessenecker. A great read.

Pudge writes:

86 years ago tomorrow, a ruthless killing/crime spree carried out by a daring duo was ended by a couple
of old Texas Rangers. I love history and I really like historic type movies when they get it right…. or
mostly. Today we are going to discuss ‘The Highwaymen.’ It is about Frank Hamer and Maney Gault
chasing after the notorious Bonnie and Clyde and the ultimate demise of the wannabe gangsters.

There were some fairly obvious inflations to the story for dramatic effect. However, even most
historians agree that the overall details are correct. The biggest one showing Bonnie and Clyde in a non-
heroic view. Many films on this subject and some retellings of the story paint the criminals as modern-
day Robin Hoods and make the law look inept. (Not that they always need help with that.) This one
however, showed how bad Bonnie and Clyde were and they were not to be romanticized.

Again, some of the details about Hamer and Gault were inflated. But both of them truly did have fierce
reputations as lawmen not to be trifled with. And I don’t mind the way both men were portrayed by
Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson.

Now on to the important reason we wanted to talk about it. Mack and I were messaging each other and
it started with Mack attempting to make fun of the best creation given to man, the 1911. And this got us
going down the rabbit hole of what we would have carried as a lawman in the 1930s. Which brought up
the Colt Monitor. This gun is an awesome variation of the M1918 BAR. After much discussion of the guns
we would have carried we thought about their roles in history which lead us to ‘The Highwaymen.’ I
really enjoyed this movie because there is something about a couple of old Texas Rangers still carrying
their six-shooters chasing after modern outlaws that appealed to me.

I also don’t know how many times
I bugged my wife about how I wish I could just walk into the local hardware store and walk out with the
firearms that Hamer did early in the movie. And since I’m very partial to my 30-30 I especially loved that
when Hamer bought his assortment of guns he added in a Winchester ‘94 in 30-30 just to make sure he
had a reliable rifle that wouldn’t jam.

Mack writes:

I like Kevin Costner. I like westerns. I like some (most) old guns. The other day I was attempting to show Pudge the error of his ways and bring him into the 21st century in regards to combat handguns. Which some how led us to discussing what a well to do lawman of the early 1930s would carry. For the record, the correct answer to that question is: Remington Model 8 in .35 Remington, Winchester '97 in 12 GA, and a S&W Heavy Duty in .38/44 High Velocity.

Anyway, on to the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And Jackie did as well. It is well paced but doesn't feel like an action film. Kind of has a melancholy vibe to it.

And I can't overstate how much I enjoy the fact that it makes Hamer out to be the hero that he rightfully was.

Frank Hamer was partial to a Colt Single Action that he called "Old Lucky" and was also a fan of the Colt Government Model in Super .38 Automatic. Now, the .38 Super is what John Browning said the 1911 Government Model ought to have been chambered in.

Another thing I thoroughly enjoyed in said movie was the fact that it shows the FBI to be, well, incompetent.

If you deep dive into the guys that really brought down the infamous gangsters, they were old timey lawmen. Even if they wore a Justice Department badge. Hoover was an idiot. And well, that seems to still be the case for the Federal Bureau of Idiots.

And a minor quibble, in 1934 the Winchester '94 would have been referred to as being chambered in "thirty w-c-f" and Frank Hamer loved him some BAR. No worries about the reliability of Browning's second best design.

Six out Six Long Necks. Thanks for stopping buy.


  1. This is a good review. I've seen the film twice, and it provides a real look at what was going on, how the lawmen chased the outlaws, and most importantly - why. Bonnie and Clyde have been made out to be some sort of Robinhood types, and they weren't. When I was growing up, I had a distant neighbor who actually knew some of those people, and his comment about Bonnie and Clyde was that they were no damned good.

    And he was right.

    1. Mad Jack,

      Glad you liked it. It is interesting to me how stories can change not just over time but depending on who is telling them. There are always two sides and somewhere in the middle is the truth. It's good to see when the 'truth' if just a little embellished for story comes out.

  2. Hey Pudge and Mack;

    I should call y'all "Siskel and Ebert.". I liked the movie, and Netflix did a good job with it. Bonnie and Clyde got the Robin Hood vibe thing going during the depression when they would give some of the money they took from the banks to the poor people in the area. But the cold blooded execution of some motorcycle cops really pissed a bunch of people off. And yes the FBI being proved incompetent...I an shocked I tell you...Their track record really hasn't improved since the 1930's.

    1. Mr. Garabaldi,

      I'd agree we are getting pretty decent at this thing! Netflix has been doing a really good job putting out some good movies. Seems most of their non-fiction does a decent job of staying fairly true while still being entertaining.


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