Devil Anse Hatfield was no hero.
A cantankerous mountain man, he was unyielding and full of hate. He was at the heart of a West Virginia-Kentucky feud that left members of his own family as well as the McCoy family deprived of life for nothing more than pride and power and meanness.
The McCoys were less affluent than the Hatfields, but they were believed to be well-connected politically. The patriarch of the McCoys was Randolph “Ole Ran’l” McCoy.
Devil Anse was believed to be involved with the Logan Wildcats, an infantry of the Confederate Army.
Is Hatfield and McCoy a true story?
While, yes, the story is true, there are many intricacies and varying reports surrounding the details.
But if you’d like to know how the feud began, here’s the over-simplified version: Anse’s friend died in the war at the hands of the Union, and he wanted revenge.
When Asa McCoy (a Union soldier) comes home from the war injured, Anse and the Wildcats sent him a warning, which causes Asa to go into hiding for a while. But reportedly, the moment Asa comes out of hiding in 1865, he is murdered.
While a guilty party was never formally accused or convicted, the McCoy family pointed fingers at James “Jim” Vance, Anse’s uncle and a member of the militia group. Anse himself was reportedly bedridden at the time, which gave him an alibi.
While some reports claim this was the start of the famous Hatfield-McCoy battle, other reports say that the McCoys felt that Asa “brought it upon himself” for fighting for the Union.
How did the Hatfield and McCoy feud become famous?
Let’s be honest. Humans have a long history of taking bad guys, smoothing out the rough edges, glossing over the unfortunate details and making them into good guys.
Billy the Kid. Blackbeard. Jesse James. Pretty Boy Floyd. Bonnie and Clyde. Richard Nixon.
We like the romanticized versions.
With Devil Anse and the Hatfield and McCoy feud, we did something more. We turned it into a joke.
It started with Bugs Bunny, I think.
Many years ago, there was a Looney Tunes episode that depicted Bugs Bunny in the mountains, in the midst of a feud with the Hatfields and McCoys.
Short, backward mountain people, they were too dumb to keep up with Bugs Bunny who turned their feud on its head with his wisecracks and hijinks. They were the country versions of Elmer Fudd.
There have been dozens of other depictions throughout the years, many serious and dramatic.
Kevin Costner made for a pretty serious Devil Anse. But many of them followed the Looney Tunes model, turning the feud into a slapstick, slapdash affair.
Such is the case with the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud. It’s essentially Hee-Haw with guns. There’s singing, dancing and hijinks galore, and it all comes with a meal.
How does Hatfield and McCoy stack up to other area dinner shows?
And it doesn’t mean I’m not impressed by the talented cast. Or that I don’t enjoy the tasty meal served with the show. It just means I have to be in the mood to spend my money at the dinner feud.
I’ll let the feud’s apostrophe obsessed PR team fill you in:
“Whether you’re city-folk or country cuzins, you’ll love the singin’ and dancin’, mighty feats of strength, jaw-dropping stunts and side-splitting comedy. The chaos doesn’t stop with fightin’ cousins! You’ll watch divin’ Hillbillies and divin’ dogs, – in our brand new swimmin’ hole!”
Honestly, it’s a lot. Out here, in the real world where diving dogs and people who use words like country cuzins seem a little surreal, the idea of the show seems exhausting to me.
But once you’re in that room and you surrender to the inevitability of what’s about to happen, you can’t help but be entertained. According to their website, it’s settling differences mountain-style.
What food is served at Hatfield and McCoy?
Let’s let the PR team earn their money.
“And the country cookin’ – whooee it’s good! Granny’s cookin’ up a heap of fried chicken and country pulled pork barbecue! Add smashed taters, creamy coleslaw, buttery corn on the cob, homemade rolls, creamy vegetable soup and Granny’s special dessert and you’ll need to loosen up your belt! Best dinner in town – Granny guarantees it! Come hungry ’cause it’s all-you-can-eat!”
Yes. That’s right. This “feudin’ feastin'” guarantee comes from Joker Granny and her dynamite.
I’m going to be honest. I am conceptually opposed to the word tater unless it is immediately followed by the word tots or is being used by a Hobbit trying to explain to a Gollum how best to make a rabbit stew.
But left to my own devices, I would separate the meal from the show. I’m not really a dinner theater guy as much as I am a dinner and theater guy.
Let me go to a show, I’ll go out to eat before or after. Still, the food is fine.
It’s not great but under the circumstances, it falls into the category of pretty good. You could do a lot worse eating in Pigeon Forge, and I have.
Is alcohol served at Hatfield and McCoy?
Yes, the Hatfield and McCoy dinner show serves themed moonshine-based drinks.
Fun fact, Pirates Voyage, the Hatfield and McCoy sister attraction, also has alcohol in the form of beer, whiskey and rum. Dolly Parton’s Stampede is still dry.
How long does Hatfield and McCoy last?
The show itself is around two hours long.
Is the Hatfield and McCoy dinner show worth it?
That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Or maybe the $60 question.
For $60 – or $30 for the kids – you get a four-course all-you-can-eat meal and live entertainment. You get a unique experience that will certainly stick in your memory for years to come.
Dancing and diving hillbillies who sing and joke and have stunt dogs? Would you pay $40 for that show without a meal? I think you’d find that reasonable.
Would you pay $20 for a four-course meal of fried chicken and barbecue? I mean, I’d be happier at $15 but prices these days, I don’t think $20 is outlandish.
I can see how you’d read this review and see it as a less than ringing endorsement.
But look at it this way. I may not be the target audience for this show. I know people who love it. LOVE it.
The fact that I walk out of the theater entertained, satisfied and not wanting to run out into oncoming traffic is nothing short of a miracle.
So if I can enjoy the show, then really anyone can. It makes for some good family fun.
So is the Hatfield and McCoy dinner show worth your money? Yes. I think it is. If you’re into that sort of thing.
Have you visited Hatfield and McCoy? Was it worth it? Let us know in the comments.