Taos Land & Film Company: Where Taos Land Sales Fund Independent Films

Herman Widicker

TAPE STARTS @ 10/16/00
(soft focus)
16/43...I always knew the family cause they lived close by here, but
I didn't know gordon in particular...until after the war and he orked in
bowden and he did a lot of work for us...he did mechanic work, he was shop
foreman, after a year or so he started on his own, farming...he could solve
about anything...that how we got to be real close ...I helped him, he helpled
me...and then he worked for us too...47, '48'49
JANIECE:...18/10... well, I got acquainted, with him later, their children
and our children played together....he was a very warm, friendly person,
he would do anything for you...18/44...
(still bad focus, soft 2-shot)
...HERMAN...19/33...oh, we talked about constitutional rights, he had
quite a deal with this federal income tax, he claimed that it was unconstitutional,
he claimed it was never voted in...and he didn't think that it was right,
that it was unconstitutional and he had proof that it wasn't...20/15...
...oh yes, before he had a lot of these set opinioons of his...
...20/45...I don't know if you'd call him radical, he didn't appear
radical to me, he was just an everyday fellow...what he believed, he really
JAN=...21/00 ...a lot of the things that he talked about then, that people
thought were fanatical at that time, have now come out in the press nad
the media , these things are coming into effect....so he wasn't off on a
tangent, he had inside knowledge of some of the things that were developing
in the nation...
(still bad focus)
...22/03...HERMAN...WE just didn't know enough about it, you know, we
didn't know what he was doing down there and when he came back he didn't
say much...we really didn't know much about what went on down in texas...
(still bad focus)
23/24...we wrote to him when he was in prison, he got along real well
in prison...
23/40...just that he said he was never going to prison again...
(zooms in to a med. shot of Herman, marginal focus)
24/22...they you know they had this, he had to report to parole, and
he said he didn't have to report for parole, because when he was in prison
in fort leavensworth...the warden said, well, I guess you time is up, we're
letting you go, ...He said, well my time isn't up. He says, well, we're
letting you out early ...He says, well he I go early will I have to report
on parole, The warden says yes, the warden says you'll have to report your
parole. He says, if I stay to the end of my term my sentence, will I have
to report for parole. He says no, you'll be free. So, he says, I'm staying...25/10...
...and anyhow at that meeting, there were about six or seven of us there,
scott faul and i think yori was there and gordon was there and bud warren
was there and there were one or two more fellows...
...25/27...(ZI-MS, passable FOCUS!!!)...but anyhow, uh, Bud Warren asked
Gordon to state his case . why he wasn't reporting to parole and why he
should be left alone. And he did. He wasn't radical about it. He just told
the story the way it was...25/47...
...he didn't add or subtract anything from it and of course Bud Warren
had to make his statement too. So, he told him, he's a law officer and he
has to do what he's told and he's got a warrant out to arrest him if he
doesn't report for parole...but that's all bud Warren said...then after
the meeting was over. Bud Warren and I went outside it was at night. And
we had a conversation out there...anyhow he never did make an attempt to
arrest gordon after I had talked to him out there...26/32...and told him
what my thoughts were about the kind of a man that he was...26/37...
...26/55...I liked the way bud warren conducted himself, he was a real
gentleman...he didn't take anybodies side. He just them what he had to do.
And he never did arrest him...and I really liked him and he didn't say,
well this is it and we're going to do it this way...
END TAPE @10/27/30
(soft focus wide 2-shot again!!!)
...2/00...oh, I suppose it built up a little,...we wanted him to slow
up a little and he thought that was the wrong thing to do...and toward last
he wasn't as adamant about this thing as the start...
...I know just before the shootout. I broke my hip and I was in the
hospital in carrington and he came in to see me everyday and he was just
realy normal...in fact he never tried at any one time, to say you shouldn't
do this or do that...you shouldn't pay taxes...he never did say that...we
pay federal taxes...he never tried to force his ideas upon us...I don't
know if he ever pushed anyone else. He was just real fair...
...3/22...(ZI on "Bitter Harvest" on table)
...3/48...as far as I know he never belonged to the outfit...he associated
with them...gordon and I were as close as anyone and he never once mentioned
them to me...
(soft focuse wide 2S)
...4/42...J=...he always had a gun...
...H= toward last.
...J=he was an avid hunter....the govt. trained him to be a tailgunner.
He was a crack shot when it came to hunting wildlife.
(soft focus MS on J)
...he taught his wife to shoot. When she wanted a chicken for dinner
she went out and shot the chicken's head. she didn't shoot the chickens
body, she shot the head...guns were as much a part of him as a pencil is
with you...5/32...(bad focus)
...J=...5/55...(good focus CU) ...well we heard it on the news on the
radio.I don't know how it happened that the kids came over. ...I don't remember
who brought the children over the next day...she didn't have any place to
leave them...didn't Janice go to see Yori...he was in the hospital and she
went to see him... oh I was just (soft focus)...I was just sickened, to
think that a good friend like that was in trouble like that...
...6/51...J= (marginal to soft focus)... well they tried to interview
a number of people in Bowden and they said, we can't get anybody to say
anything against gordon...
...they said, he's just a good man...
(bad focus)
...7/37...oh, they came to the farm, both the FBI and the Marshals,
I think all together there was mayber a dozen fellows, checking, wanting
to know if we were harboring him or knew where he was...they were pretty
good about it...they wanted to know if he was in our barn up there,..as
far as I knew he wasn't up there, I said they could, but they didn't...
...I went to the basketball game the next evening and somebody said,
heh herman is somebody hiding in your barn upstairs...I said, well, I'm
not talking about that...so the next day they were out...and the last group
that was there, they came out, they kind of suprised me...I was right there
drawing water...we were kind of talking about their lifes...they said,
...do you have any idea where he's at? (decent MS focus)...we'll find
him anyhow you may as well tell us...I'll tell you I said, when gordon helped
me put in my crop last spring he came one morning, he said Herman, I'm not
going to work today, I'm going underground...he said, I'm not going to tell
you what I'm doing or where I'm going, because I don't want you to get in
...and when I told them that, they said okay herman we'll leave you
along...we figure you've been fair with us and they never did bother me
again...but up until that time they were about the tenth or twelvth fellows
that were there...10/10...
...he was fair with me, all the years gordon and I worked together,
he never once took advantage of me. Never once...10/24...
...his work was execellent...
...10/44...whenever he needed money or when he was farming, he needed
seed or machinery, I never charged him, he used our machinery free, but
he helped me back...and if he borrowed money or get seed I never kept track
of it...one year he had a pretty good crop and the pay was good , he came
over one evening and he had the cash and he said I owe you so many dollars.
and I says, well, he says have you got a record, I don't know, he says
I know what I owe you and he peeled off the money and that was it...11/37...
...and after that they borrowed money and they always paid it back...seems
to me they borrowed money from us just before the shootout and Joan paid
it back. so there's nothing dishonest about those two...11/57...
(Bad focus all the way on this one so far)
...J=...12/25...he was always laughing and joking, we always, liked
conversation, his feelings were never on his shirtsleeve...
...well, one day the Bismark Tribune called me, wanted to know if it
was true the reason they could not, the marshals could not apprehend GK
was because the marshals came to our farm and they were met by four armed
men in our driveway...so they could not apprehend Gordon then...I said that's
rediculous, we're not in the habit of meeting people in the driveway with
a gun...they said well thank you for , but we have to publish what the marshals
have told them...14/29...(GOOD FOCUS ABOVE)...so they published that too...
...14/58... like this incident , two deputy sheriffs and a marshal came
to our farm, they insisted was at our place, but he hadn't been there for
the second day...we were just starting field work ....and anyhow, finally
they said, well, where is he, ...I said I suppose he's over at his farm...they
started asking about his farm , you know, I told them, I said, I don't think
it would be very wise for you to go over there. You might not come out of
there...15/38...if you go there the way you came here...(marginal 2S focus
...so they left and the sheriff stayed back and I talked to him a while...the
sheriff went east too, later on I asked the sheriff, where did you find
those two marshals when you left our farm? Oh they were a mile and a half
east at the highway, waiting for me...I said, what did you do? He says,
I rolled my window down, I said, you fellows can go over to gordon, I'm
going over to fessenden...I says, well what did the marshals do? He said,
they went to Minot...they didn't go to gordon's place...why they didn't
go there? I guess it was a good idea they didn't. He wouldn't hurt em if
they'd of, wouldn't of been unreasonable with him. he wouldn't have done
anything to em...16/35...
...(good focuse) ...17/07...I never really talked with him, but I heard
that the thing just plain ran out of gasoline...
...17/30...I know a fellow that does a lot of flying, he went over and
checked the plane out and he said it was just way out of gasoline...
...(decent, maybe focus)
...18/09 ....oh I think the press showed the govt side and not the other
side at all...
J=...18/25...I stopped in one day at the trial when I was in fargo and
I remeber they were trying to show which way the bullets were whizzing...trying
to determine, what direction they were going...
...19/10...H=...(marginal 2S)...well when the accuser is the judge you
can't get much justice...it was federal marshals in a federal court and
it's a private individual and as far as I know they didn't prove who did
the shooting as far as I know, I couldn't get any head or tails out of it...personally
I think the two men that are in prison...19/43...(good focus)...now, had
anything, shot anybody or did anything there. I think they were both trying
to protect themselves...
...(re:Yori) ...he helped us put in a crop one year. I knew him from
a little kid on...
...nice kid, we got along with him good, ...he helped us seed a crop,
didn't have to watch him, he did a good job...
(soft focus)
....21/00... he was an individual, he had his own ideas like all of
....21/20... well we really liked him. Got along with him really well,
never had any problems. And he was always willing to help and of course
we helped him too... (slow ZI marginal focus)
...21/40...J=...he was the type of a person that just fit in...
...22/00 (decent focus)...well I don't think he ever intended it to
get that far...
J=...it was his conviction. he stood up for what was right, for what
he thought was right. He was convicted for things going on in the country
and we see now there's more corruption all the time...
H...22/33...he didn't like the federal reserve system...and I can't
blame him too much...
...well, you know, the way I understood it, when the shooting started,
Yori was the prime target there. And all he was doing was defending his
own child. Which was quite a normal thing to do...23/21...
...you don't go and have a board meeting when you're going to defend
your son, you have to do it instantly or it's too late...
...23/53...well, it was a carryover down in texas I believe, he would
go on radio and TV and talk about the unfairness of taxes. I suppose it
was a carryover from there...I don't ever remember him giving a talk up
here in ND about the unfairness or the unconstitutionality of the fed. income
tax law, I don't remember him giving a talk anyplace, he may have, but I'm
not aware of it...
J=...24/42...I don't know, I , you just don't defy the govt....(good
H=...25/32...well, he was in the air force, he was in N. Africa when
Rommel was down there, they were trying to capture him...he flew over the
hump...sandstorms...they'd stop over in India...he was a real good pilot..and
he got into a number of air battles and he shot down enemy planes...
...I would't doubt...
J= ...he had schrapnel in his leg and of course the Gk that we buried
was not gordon...27/00...
...Joan told me, she said as sure as I'm sitting on this couch , we
did not bury Gokrdon. (GOOD FOCUS) ...when the body came, it came headless.
She would not allow the funeral until the head came...27/19...
...they examined the head and there were false teeth in the head, Godon
didn't have false teeth...
...she doesn't know...but who we buried I don't know...Herman was one
of the pall bearers...
...28/06... well, the american legion didn't want to be reped at the
funeral, until one of the neighbors who was one, said I'll get some men
there and we'll represent him..the head office wasn't very cooperateive...
...J=...29/04 ...well everybody that called in and told the radio, it
was all a very faviorable impression, he was stadnnding up for what he believed...
...if you can stand up for your convictions...
H=29/48...I know on this constitution thing, when the congress voted
this fed. income tax, it lost by one vote, but they signed it into law anyway...(good
CU)...it's either a law or it isn't a law. He had the dates and the figures
and everything to match it...and he just didn't like that. and also on this
federal reserve...wilson signed it into law, pres. wilson did. and after
he saw what it was doing he was sorry he did it, that's what gordon claimed
anyhow. and, there was no way he could repeal it...he got sick in office,
and we still have the federal reserve in action...and he claims that they
just print the money and sell it to the govt for bonds, which is, somebody
is getting advantage of this thing...30/56...
J=...what was it that we clipped out of the paper the other day...that
was in the western livestock reporter...?
END TAPE @ 11:31/07...
00/22...J=...she uh, well you're not going to record that...
H=...00/35...(good CU) ...we went to fargo to get this income thing.
Joan had paid her federal tax. she was all paid up. And Gordon he didn't
make a lot of money and the tax there was real small, I know it was. And
anyhow, we met with the people, there was three fellows in there. And I
had met this one man before and he'd came out to the farm and quizzed me
real hard...01/03...
...and of course he had an accomplice in the car with him and another
car behind his car. And I know those guys had guns on them. So, those guys
aren't the nicest guys in the world, the IRS...1/17...
...anyhow, we were down there in the office and finally I said, okay,
how much does Gordon owe you people, we wanna know, we're gonna pay this
...and they wouldn't give me any answer. They said we don't know. I
says, then why are you after them for? I says, Let's get it over with.
Oh, they couldn't do it. They said, we'll let you know. But, they never
did let us know!...1/42...
...and I think it was, between a hundred and two thousand dollars ,
someplace in that area. This is what my idea is. Now, I know he didn't know
em anymore than that...1/55...
...J=...1/55...it wasn't a hundred thousand, Herman, it started out
at $11,000 and then it mushroomed up to $70,000. ...
H=...2/00...well when we there it was way smaller than that. Well, she
finally settled with them and it cost her plenty...2/10...
...I don't know what. I think it cost her around $40,000. This is just
what I heard...they were way higher for a while and it cost her most of
her farm I think...but they just would not settle...
with interviews of...
Joan Kahl
Yorie Kahl
Lynn Crooks
Toots Mathis
Dennis Fisher
John Noah
Irv Nodland
Bill Kennelly
Prof. Ed Gran
Jack McLamb
Delores Everts
Scarlet Skiftu
Herman Widicker
August Pankow
Victor Seil
Marlys Klimek
Ron Perleberg
Len Martin
Brad Kapp
Robert Holiday
Tom Lee
Ed Fitzpatrick
Gene Nail
Buford Terrell
Marlene Gaysek
Bob Ralston
Darrel Graf
Steve Schnabel
Jack Swan
Loreen Dyck
Mark Stagg
Sheriff Ray Weatherby
Jack Miller
Tracy Adams
Allison Hoffman
Jeffrey F. Jackson
production design
Jim Haddon
Peter Lloyd
film editing
Tracy Adams
Martyn Hone
Jeffrey F. Jackson
original music by
Tracy Adams
sound department
Tracy Adams
Jeffrey F. Jackson
Rex Reddick
produced by
Jeffrey F. Jackson
Angela Kaye
writing by
Jeffrey F. Jackson
directed by
Jeffrey F. Jackson
A timeline of the life of Gordon Kahl, from early childhood interests, to his marriage to Joan Kahl, his decorated military experience, his outspoken tax protest, the Medina shootout, and his unusual death in Arkansas in 1983.
VARIETY /   Indie documaker Jeffrey F. Jackson sticks it to the IRS and the Feds in "Death & Taxes," a hard-hitting reinvestigation of the 1983 Gordon Kahl case, about which questions still linger. Jackson's unfazed, investigative reporting-style approach and inventive handling of familiar material make this a controversial item for fests and progressive webs. Non-U.S. viewers will also get a charge out of its conspiracy theme. read more
CHRONICLES MAGAZINE /   Gordon Kahl was a simple farmer who became famous for not filing income tax returns. Imprisoned and hounded by IRS agents who never did prove he owed any amount of money, Kahl and his son were involved in a shootout with police. The son is still serving a prison sentence, but the father was surrounded and shot in Arkansas by police officers who mutilated and burned his body. read more
GUNS & AMMO /   A new video documentary, Death & Taxes, details a case of government murderously out of control that was briefly mentioned in the October 1994 Guns & Ammo article "The Ugly Truth About Gun Control." Death & Taxes is the story of Gordon Kahl, a North Dakota farmer and decorated World War II veteran, and his apparent death at the hands of federal agents. read more
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Death & Taxes (DVD)
First time on DVD (113 min)
Death & Taxes (VHS)
This is a limited edition collector's VHS in the original unbroken packaging. (113 min)
Death & Taxes Miniseries (DVD)
Set of 6 DVD's comprising the complete uncut footage from the documentary film project. (783 min)
Gordon Kahl: Godfather of the militia movement
Now Available!
This set of 6 DVD's comprises over 13 hours of uncut footage, including a 2+ hour prison interview with Yorie Kahl, and candid interviews with wife Joan Kahl. In this rich stockpile of research, you'll find many more threads than could reasonably be pursued in the final feature.
The Death & Taxes Miniseries DVD Set Includes...
01: Gordon Kahl Meets With Head North Dakota U.S. Marshal Bud Warren (60 min)
02: The Beginning: Gordon Kahl's military experience and views on a variety of subjects (93 min)
03: Gordon's Texas Tax Trial (90 min)
04: Medina Shootout (60 min)
05: Gordon Kahl Was...: A montage of over 25 people describing who Gordon Kahl was in their eyes. (50 min)
06: Mysterious Death In Arkansas (90 min)
07: Media Circus: Chronological portrayal of Gordon Kahl in the media (70 min)
08: Yorie Kahl Prison Interview (150 min)
09: Joan Kahl Uncut Interviews (120 min)
The connection between Gordon Kahl, Timothy McVeigh, and the Oklahoma City Bombing
A little-known fact regarding Death & Taxes is the surprising connection to Timothy McVeigh and the ATF / Oklahoma City Bombing. Here's a clip of Jackson sharing the story during a director's commentary on his film Postal Worker.
Manhunt in the Dakotas
The story of Gordon Kahl so captured the attention of mainstream America that it was turned into a highly-rated made-for-television movie titled In The Line of Duty - Manhunt In The Dakotas.

DEATH & TAXES is the story of Gordon Kahl, a North Dakota farmer who became America's "most-wanted" fugitive. How had a WWII war hero become the target of one of the largest manhunts in FBI history? Gordon Kahl U.S. Marshalls Most Wanted Fugitive
Gordon Kahl's charred and burned remains were reexamined after his exhumation. The island of unburned skin shows that Kahl's body was likely positioned against the floor at the time he was set on fire.
The badly burned remains of Gordon Kahl, with an island of skin that shows he was in a prone position at the time of the fire.
Was Kahl a racist, gun-toting fanatic? Or a victim of an IRS policy of harassing vocal tax protestors into silence to keep the rest of us intimidated? Did Bill Clinton conspire to cover-up the torture and execution of Gordon Kahl in Arkansas? Did federal agents mutilate and burn the body to cover-up the murder of the wrong man?
DEATH & TAXES follows the trail of Gordon Kahl as his body is exhumed for a new autopsy. Building on newsreel clips covering two fiery shootouts and hundreds of interviews -- with IRS agents and federal prosecutors as well as Kahl's family and supporters -- D&T explores the myths and controversies surrounding a man who dared to challenge the federal income tax system. Some revile Kahl as a cop killer. Others revere him as an American patriot. Which was he?