By Rachel Baldwin
July 31, 2013
(Editor’s Note: This is the first of a four-part series on the History Channel unscripted reality show, Hatfield’s and McCoy’s: White Lightening.)
WILLIAMSON - In two short days, all eyes will turn to the Heart of the Billion Dollar Coal Field as the History Channel reality show “Hatfield’s and McCoy’s: White Lightening” makes its national debut, with the majority of the episodes being filmed in Mingo County, centering around the City of Williamson.
“Everyone who watches this show is going to know where Williamson, WV is located,” remarked Darrin McCormick, the city’s mayor. “After the Hatfield and McCoy mini-series and other shows centering on the famous feud aired, we became a popular place for tourists who traveled to our neck of the woods to view feud sites and to see the locations where an important part of Appalachian history was made.”
“After the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s: White Lightening show airs on the History Channel, we’re going to be known to a lot more people although possibly for a different reason this time - and it’s called moonshine.”
Mayor McCormick is talking about a reality show that has been kept under wraps since the History Channel film crew and other individuals such as investors, designers and researchers rolled into town in April of this year. They quickly began preparation to produce a new prime-time television reality series expected to capture a large audience that will faithfully tune in each week to see the goings and comings of modern day Hatfield and McCoy ancestors who attempt to bury the hatchet and form a profitable business that will legally produce white whiskey, proudly bearing their family names.
The following description of the reality series can be read on the History Channel website that is promoting the new show that hopes to continue breathing life into Williamson, the town located in the middle of the famous sites affiliated with the long standing feud between the families of Devil Anse’ Hatfield and Randall McCoy.
The site reads as follows:
“To this day, the backwoods descendants of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s continue to live in the remote and volatile hollows along the West Virginia and Kentucky border. Settled in one of the poorest areas of the country, they work in coal mines, hunt squirrels, raise goats, revere their grannies, make moonshine and take pride in their history. While more than 100 years has passed since their historic feud began, locals know there is still no love lost between the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. Now, a new state law could make things even worse, starting a whole new chapter of their infamous rivalry.”
“To aid a troubled economy, West Virginia recently legalized the distillation and sale of moonshine. Residents can now openly sell the once-illicit whiskey their ancestors killed and died for. Seeing the potential for a hot new brand and billion dollar profits, a St. Louis investor offers to set the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s up in business to make a completely “authentic” HATFIELD & MCCOY Moonshine. The families must supply their legendary recipes, well water and family labor, and they must agree to work together.”
“Every silver lining has its cloud,” Granny McCoy sighs.
“Hatfield’s & McCoy’s: White Lightning” follows these two famous families as they try to put aside their hateful history and come together to build a new business. Their story is less about making moonshine and more about the clashes between and within the two families that threaten success at every turn. The only thing they agree on is that they are suspicious of their new investor.”
“He seems as trustworthy as a fox in a henhouse,” says patriarch Mark Hatfield.
Progress is slow and often comedic as tempers flare up, tensions run high and family competition and century-old rivalries continue on a whole new level. Can the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s get past their famous feud and find a path to a brighter future and a new history?”
Tune in to the first episode of this series on Thursday, August 1 at 10 p.m. and see what everyone is talking about as authentic Hatfield and McCoy ancestors began their journey together in an effort to make history for the first time in over 100 years in a peaceful kind of way.
Remember though, we are talking about the descendants of the world famous feud that resulted in many a death and many an arrest. As the sparks fly, it’s anyone’s guess what will take place.