Whitesburg KY

Actor Tom Wopat narrates film about Breathitt Co. outlaw

At Appalshop Saturday at 6

“Bad” Tom Smith. That name struck immediate fear into the hearts of eastern Kentucky men who heard it in the late 1800’s, especially those who dwelled in Perry, Breathitt and Knott counties. But who was “Bad Tom”? And why has that name become the lore of legend across eastern Kentucky?

A compelling new documentary film, “The Untold Story Of ‘Bad’ Tom Smith” will explain all of that, as well as give an in-depth examination into the life and death of one of the most notorious outlaws in the annals of Appalachian- American history. It will also put to rest some of the popular misconceptions and various blatantly untrue accounts which have been handed down by word-ofmouth for generations.

The entirely familyfriendly film will be shown at the Appalshop theater this coming Saturday, October

26, at 6 p.m. The price of admission is $5.

Narrated by Hollywood and Broadway actor Tom Wopat (Luke Duke, “The Dukes Of Hazzard”, Quinton Tarantino’s “Django Unchained”), produced by Charles Shouse and Tony R. Calhoun, and produced executively by Doug Terry — all three Jackson natives — this film will show that truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

Many people of the region casually know that “Bad Tom” was the only man who was ever legally hanged in the violent and bloody history of Breathitt County, but few know the reasons why, and even fewer know the facts behind this infamous character’s inevitable demise.

“You simply can’t make this type of tale up,” said Calhoun. “This is one of those rare fascinating stories that needs absolutely no embellished dramatization or sensationalization whatsoever. Everybody knows about Jesse James, Billy the Kid and the Hatfields and the McCoys, but we had our very own bad man right here in eastern Kentucky whose story, in my opinion, is better than all of those combined. And quite frankly we feel more than honored to be the ones to finally tell it.”

Shouse, who also directed, points out, “It was important for us to do this film, as we feel that no one can accurately portray our eastern Kentucky heritage better than eastern Kentuckians themselves.”

A fourth Jackson native, Shouse’s brother Michael, also lent his musical talents to the project with an original score.

The crimes of “ Bad Tom” captured numerous newspaper headlines in the largest cities of the United States as his infamous reputation grew, spanning its way from New York to California and all points in between. The entire country followed the story of his misdeeds and inevitable execution.

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