• Really? A Movie In Comanche? Yeah, Right!

    John Wesley Hardin

    John Wesley Hardin

    Stranger things have happened and in smaller towns with less history than Comanche so don’t go negative on me until I give you the facts, okay? The bottom line is that Comanche really is in the running to be the location of a movie titled Hardin, Dark Angel of Texas, and I’m told by director Thomas Bentley that the movie positively will not in any way resemble previous B-grade movies about the Texas killer.

    So, why Comanche? For all kinds of reasons, including the fact that Comanche is the town where John Wesley Hardin was convicted of 2nd degree murder; the terrain is right; the townspeople have the look the movie will need for its extra roles; the town can easily be made to look as if it were set in 1874, and the list goes on…

    So, whose idea was it anyway? Hollywood’s.

    For those of us who take the Hardin story for granted, it may be a little difficult to believe, but a producer from Las Vegas actually approached Thomas “Tom” Bentley about the possibility of his making a film about John Wesley Hardin. The idea immediately caused Bentley to wonder just why it is that the one Old West gunman who actually deserved his reputation with a gun has never been the subject of a major motion picture. So….he began what would turn into a couple of years of research on the subject.

    “What I found was one of the most tragic stories in history and folk lore. Hardin was an intelligent, educated man for his time. He loved his family, but adventure and wild times lured him to the moments and places that made him notorious. His bravery would not allow him to back away, and his youth made him believe he was invincible.

    “While the action intrigued me, the history and the very tragic story that surround Hardin are what convinced me that this could be a great film.”

    However, after much research and a lot of discussion with the Vegas producer, Tom realized that their appreciation of the character, and their affinity for the story were not the same. 

    “Hardin’s story should not be made as a low budget, B-grade piece. It has all of the ingredients to be a classic Western, and I felt that I needed to be able to make the picture with the historical reverence and respect it truly deserves.”

    Hardin, Dark Angel of Texas is an important and personally passionate project for Bentley. Rather than risk having his passion for the project compromised by partners whose vision was not the same, or worse, having it taken over by the low budget brigade, Bentley decided to call on some of the people he has worked with on past projects, raise the funds independently, and do the Hardin film the way be believes it deserves to be done, and that included co-writing the script, The Hour Of The Gun, with Anthony “Tony” Barajas. Dark Angel is based on this script.

    And now…you are hereby cordially invited to come along on one of the most intriguing and adventurous stories in the history of the American west: HARDIN, DARK ANGEL of TEXAS.


    Today, we’ve covered the Why Comanche? part of the story. Be sure to check back with us next week for the Who. In other words, just who is this Thomas Bentley?

    There will be a town hall meeting on November 6, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. in the high school for those who would like to hear more about this venture.

    About Fredda Jones

    Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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    3 Responses to Really? A Movie In Comanche? Yeah, Right!

    1. Tom Rogers says:

      This article says Bently wondered why John Wesley Hardin had never been the subject of a major motion picture. But he was. Rock Hudson played Hardin in “The Lawless Breed” in 1952. I saw it at the Paramount Theater on Congress Avenue in Austin. The opening scene was the cover of his autobiography. I went to the UT Library and checked out an original copy of that book, published in Seguin in 1896. Only 400 copies had escaped a warehouse fire in San Antonio. In 1954 I found a copy in a bookstore in Corpus Christi and bought it for about $20. I just checked ABE Books on the Internet and found four copies priced from $250 to $500. Reproductions are available for $15-25.
      I wonder if the UT library still has the copy I checked out.

      • Harrell Gilbreath says:

        Yes Yes Yes Yes congratulations Fredda I know you have been working on this for a long long time. Do you think they would mind if a guy from Dublin sneaked in just to listen at the upcoming meeting on the 6th. This is great.

    2. Tom Rogers says:

      PS: When I bought that book for about $20, my salary was $425/mo., gasoline was about $0.20/gal., and a plate of Tex-Mex food with drink and dessert was $0.85. I paid $7/week for the bedroom I rented.

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