Photo by Moments of the Heart Photography
The award-winning show Blood Song: The Story of the Hatfields and the McCoys will return to the Hatfield McCoy Park stage in McCarr, Kentucky on August 20 and 21, 2021. Taking place in the heart of the area where these two families engaged in a bitter feud, this two night only showing will begin at 7:30 p.m. each night, with tickets being $10 at the door (only). This play was written by Chelsea Marcantel and produced by the Hatfield & McCoy Arts Council, in cooperation with the University of Kentucky Pike County Extension Fine Arts Program and Artists Collaborative Theatre.
The play takes you on a journey through the entire struggle between the two families; from Asa Harmon McCoy’s murder during the Civil War, until the last event of the feud: the hanging death of Ellison “Cotton Top” Mounts in 1890. Taking a road never travelled when retelling the events of the feud, the story is not told through the eyes of the two patriarchs, Ran’l McCoy and Devil Anse Hatfield. Instead, some of the lesser known participants of the feud narrate the scenes and retell the events of the feud in their own words. For the first time, an audience can see how two clans fought to preserve family, and not the sensationalism on which the media of the time was focused.
Surrounded by the mountains and the mighty Tug River where the feud actually happened, the stage sits within viewing distance of the site where one of the most tragic events of the feud took place: the paw-paw tree incident of 1882. It was there that Devil Anse Hatfield executed three of Ran’l and Sally McCoy’s children along the banks of the Tug River for the murder of his brother, Ellison Hatfield. If you travel to see the play through Kentucky, you will pass the site where the McCoy homeplace was burned to the ground on New Year’s Eve of 1887 on a raid led by Jim Vance and Cap Hatfield, the cabin of “Preacher Anse” Anderson Hatfield where the infamous Hog Trial between Ran’l McCoy and Floyd Hatfield took place, as well as the election grounds where the love affair of Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy started. If you travel through West Virginia, you are within minutes of several of the Hatfield’s homeplaces and the Matewan schoolhouse where the three McCoys were kept while awaiting the fate of Ellison Hatfield.
Not only is the stage surrounded with the tradition of both families, but the cast is as well. Comprised completely of local talent, several of the cast members are related to either the Hatfields, the McCoys, or both! This is proof that while the nation has once again taken an interest in a feud between two Appalachian families, the hatchet between the Hatfields and the McCoys was buried long ago.
For more information about the play, including directions to the venue, please call the Pike County Extension Office at (606) 432-2534 or visit facebook.com/HMartscouncil.