Goldsmith has been working since last December to transform the history behind the play into a documentary. The feature length movie will reenact three of the investigations that uncovered the Western District court’s corruption. First, Secret Service Agent Whitney arrives in Fort Smith in December 1872, after there’s a fire at the courthouse. Working from the St. Charles Hotel he secretly interviews deputies who tell him about the scams they have been running with Marshal Roots and Judge Story.
Whitney realizes his mail is being opened blowing his cover. He tells Judge Story about his undercover investigation, to which, the judge replies “I’ve known you’ve been in town for ten days.” A few days later, a black police officer, Mr. Green, shows up to the hotel with his buggy and tells the agent to get inside because they are coming to assassinate him and Mayor Fuller.
After congress finds out their secret service agent was run out of Fort Smith, they vote for an assistant attorney to do the equivalent of today’s Robert Mueller’s special prosecutor investigation. Ben Duval is sworn in by W.H.H. Clayton. Duval’s interviews of the suspects will be recreated at the Clayton House. Once Duval’s investigation is complete, Congress orders the witnesses to Washington D. C. where they are questioned by the Department of Justice’s Committee on Expenditures.
The transcripts from these three investigations, will be used to tell the story of the Western District Court’s corruption along with other reenactments. For the first time, Wyatt Earp’s escape from the Van Buren Jail and the Goingsnake Tragedy will be put on film.
The Goingsnake Tragedy is the biggest gunfight in the Wild West, thirteen people are injured and eleven are killed, eight of which were US Deputy Marshals, making it the largest loss of life in US Marshals and Cherokee Nation history. The incident involves the Becks and Proctors, the Cherokee Nation’s version of the Hatfields and McCoys.
Zeke Proctor is on trial for the murder of Polly Beck at one room schoolhouse in the Goingsnake District. Jim Kesterson convinces the Western District Court in Fort Smith to issue a warrant against Proctor for attempting to murder him when he killed Polly. The court does not have jurisdiction, but they send an illegal posse to arrest Zeke in case he is not found guilty. Disastrously, a gunfight involving over thirty people erupts.
The Western District retells the deputies’ version of events and the Cherokee Nation’s side of the story begging the question, “Who shot first?” The documentary allows the audience to decide, was Goingsnake a massacre or a tragedy of unfortunate events?
We have been conducting on-camera expert interviews and shot The Goingsnake Tragedy in Greenwood, AR with over 40 actors and eleven crew members. Working with the Cherokee Nation Film Office we cast several Cherokee actors. Our goal is to finish production by the end of the year, and have the documentary edited by March. We are currently seeking individual, corporate and foundation underwriters along with crowdfunding through Go Fund Me.