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

Toots Mathis

Employed Gordon in Texas from late 60's thru
TAPE #00:07
08/46 well, he was just an ordianary old boy, you know. One of the best
men I met in my life, I suppose. He came up to my place orf business one
day , and asked me me if I needed any hands? The type of hands in the early
60's were pretty ragged, coming in from Mississippi, Louisiana...he'd been
in town a few days. I told him, yeah, I could use him ... I think at the
time there was a tire salesman,, he left and I talked to GK for a few minutes,
while we were talking one of my crews come in and said they couldn't get
a truck started ... so we went out and worked on it and GK stood back and
watched, then he said would you mind if I had a look at this thing. well,
he had it purring like a cat... that old boy knows something, that's better
than 90 % of these working for me...anyhow he went to work for me...it turned
out he was one of the best hands I ever had work for me. ... matter of fact,
I've gone off two three weeks at a time and left everything in charge with
him and felt like it was being better looked after than if I was here.
I'm not kidding you, he's that kind of old boy. ... I don't know as time
went on we got to know one another pretty good ... we
I think it was the second pay day , I handed him his check. He looked
at me and said, ohh, I forgot to tell you, you took social security out
of my check and I meant to tell you before this payday not to do it anymore.
I said what are you talking about Gordon?
He said well, I don't belong to the social security program.. I said,
whadda you mean you don't belong, that's like living and dying. He said,
that's what every body thinks, but you don't have to participate in it.
I said boy, that's a new one on me...I said Gordon, I'm just new on my
feet in this business world, I don't want to do anything to get myself into
trouble... if you'll bring me something showing me you don't belong to it,
I'll be glad to not take it out.
So, he brought me a form from the IRS, I don't remember the number...
bout 4 numbers, it showed that he had withdrawn from the soc. sec. program.
At that time wages what they were, and as many kids that Godon had at home,
there was no withholding tax, he just wasn't making that kind of money because,
I think he had all of his kids at home, plus one or two grandkids...
anyhow this went on and we become really good friends...
everytime I'd send in a quarterly report, down where you're supposed
to put a employees soc. sec. number I'd put down form so and so... those
people didn't even know what it was and they'd write and I'd call em and
say, look this man has withdrawn from soc. sec., and this form looks leg.
so I'm not taking soc. sec. out of his check. that passed over with no problem.
it continued for years about every six months they'd want to know what
his soc. sec. # was. and I'd have to write or call em and tell em he didn't
have one.
We got talking bout the bible one day and I found out he was real religious,
and one of the smartest men I ever knew about the bilbe. .. I had started
studying the bible a few years before, I got tired of hearing one preacher
talk about it this way and another that way.
he said, are you interested in the bible. I said sure, I think it's
the most important thing a man ought to be concerned with. is what's going
to happen to him.
we got together and studied the bible and I'll guarantee you that man
knew it. he knew it good. He got off to a deal one day, he belonged to Mormon
Church in Utah, he was working out there.
he was so good and knew it so well, that one day they asked him to preach...
somehow or another he got sidetracked on communism and they called him up
on the mat about it.
...told him he couldn't do it anymore and he quit. He said I haven't
said anything that wasn't right or true and I think the people have a right
to know about this. He quit the mormon church
when he came to Crane here, he said, I've tried about every church in
Crane and Odessa and I'm trying to find one we could fit into. ...it does
something to you, I mean, I knew what kind of man he was, he was as good
a man as you'll find.
I remember one time we hired some new hands , they were from Alabama,
I don't think they could even read or write, we hired em that morning, we
were shorthanded and had extra work to do,
anyhow Gordon took em out and got em to work. but on the way they told
him they didn't have anything to eat. so they stopped at a store on the
way to get some sandwich stuff... well later he went back out to check on
em, ...they were using dogfood to put on bread. He got out there and told
em to throw it away and he went back in and got em stuff to make sandwichs
out of ... I don't know, like I said, he took, I knew when I left that he
would take better care of the business then when I was there.
that was what he told me, he told me after WWII, he spent two years
studying communism to get set in his own mind, what it was. He said that
day that he was substitue preaching. he said when the elders heard about
the uproar that he caused about it, telling the people about communism,
they called him in on the mat and said there won't be anymore of that.
He said, look, if I can't tell them the truth, this things getting pretty
bad, that's it, I'll just quit and he did and that's what he told me.
Well, he went to work for me in the spring of 65, and I sold out in
July of 72 and to a good friend of mine. ... he didn't know anything the
business except I'd done pretty good.
21/50 I said, look, if you'll just let this man right here run the whole
operation and don't bother him , don't mess with him, he'll make you some
money. ... I left here in 72 and was gone about two years.
I came back and went into a different type of oil work... Gordon was
still working for him...
He took care of all that stuff for the old boy and made him a lot of
money with it.
22/50God, he was one of the best mechanixs he could take a motor that
nobody else could make run and make it sound brand new, I never saw anything
like it.
We got into it one time, he was talking about it, one of our planes
fired on him , talking about doing things sometimes, theres a toss up about
whether it's right or wrong or whatever. He told me about one of our planes
fired at him, and they came back again, they mistook him for the enemy is
what they figured and he shot this thing down, he had to shoot the plane
down and it griefed him. He several times it was brought up and he talked
about it, about having to do things that you get caught up in and there's
no easy way out of.
...there's no clear cut yes or no, you have to go one way or the other...
yeah, he didn't like it, like anybody else, nobody likes it... it changed
a lot of em. Gordon, everytime that was brought up, he hated the fact that
he knew he killed some of our own people, that was about it, he was shot
all to pieces, he was carrying
25/15 ...schrapnel around when he was here.
26/02 He was just getting into that wwhen I came back , I had been gone
two years, three months... I come back here...
He started that up, I came here Jan. 1, 1975, and I bought, the man
he was working for I bought this guys brother out. it was a different operation
that Gordon didn't know anything about. ...
I came back in here and they were getting pretty wound up into that
when I came back , course we had talked about withholding tax before I ever
left here, that was supposed to be a temporary deal , according to the govt
until WWII was over and they never did let up, they just kept on and not
only did they keep on , they kept getting worse, they said soc. sec. would
be one and half percent and look what it is, they said it would never go
beyond 2 or 3 % , what is it, now close to 7% now... I didn't know.
I was real busy, even at that
28/50 ...I saw Gordon pretty often, he'd come by and we'd visit, he was
telling me about this posse comitatus, it was when your law won't do anything
or what not, kind of like vigilantes or something, course they're supposed
to have more power than a group of vigilante type you know , and,
29/28 ... I don't know , you start trying to buck somebody like the fed.
govt. you're in trouble, you're in a mess, I don't think you can win with
them whether you're right or wrong.
I got out of 29th of Dec. 1976 and that was just about the time they
come swarming down and got Gordon for income tax evasion...
END TAPE @ 00:30:22
START @ 00:30:26
31/55 ...then the next thing I knew, they were fixing to come down
here and get him for income tax evasion, so uh, then the next thing I knew
sure enough they'd come and got him...
and I didn't see him for a pretty good while, I saw his wife and talked
with her, kinda kept track of Gordon. but, first thing I knew they had
put him prison... I didn't know how long he was going to be there or anything
else.. it makes you wonder sometimes ...just because you stand up and try
to fight for someting you think is right...
33/00 ...Gordon is the type of old boy he didn't come and try to push
anything down your throat or say look he you don't understand what I'm saying
you must be an idiot. you'd be sitting talking, you'd talk your turn, he'd
talk his turn.
If you'd be interested in anything he said and asked for an explanation,
he'd give it to you. I've never known of that man to come and say look you
oughta do what I'm doing, we oughta do this or do that or band together...I
never knew that . He never came and told me now this is the right way ,
and what's your thinking is the wrong way, he never did that.
34/00 He told me some stuff that you know, that my goodness at the time
he told me, I thought he was crazy. But, noithing that he ever told that
has come to pass, wasn't true, that he told...
matter of fact that first time that he told me that he didn't belong
to the soc. sec. , I said well Gordon I thought yuou had to belong to the
soc. sec. he said that's waht everybody thinks, but you don't. and he said
but besides, he said by the time, course at the time I was 35 he was about
41, he ssaid besides byt the time you and I reach the age for soc. sec.
there won't be none. he said they'll be b roke, and then another time.
course we grew up as Democrats, I dind't know what a democrat was, I didn't
know whqta Republican was.
...but I knew my muther and daddy was supposed to be Democrats, they
thought FDR walked on water . he saved the country... one day Gordon and
I were talking and he said, oh yeah FDR knew the Japs were going to bomb
Pearl Harbor, two or three weeks before they did it. My god the hair on
the back of my neck stood up, you know because all my life... all I'd ever
known about FDR was that he was a hero, he saved the people. But, he said,
there was definite proof that he knew the Japanese were going to bomb Pearl
Harbor. Since that time I talked to him, I talked to four men who were
at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked and they said there was no guns manned
that day, every body was on leave. so that makes you wonder you know.
...like I said, he's told me some pretty wild stuff, at the time I thought
it was very wild. but, if it is anything to come to pass it was true.
37/15 He said we alot of times, I didn't know who he meant, it was a
group he was associated with... possibly the posse or a tax protest group,
I don't know, ... he said we have proof that Oswald didn't kill kennedy,
he said they had pictures and everything... they said there was one man
acting alone, and he said there was definately three different shooting
sites that day...
38/20 ...I don't know if you remember a few months ago a kid who came
out, his daddy was in on that. he was a policeman. it come out a few months
ago...this boy said his daddy, he and his mother found, the daddy died in
a fire house burned up and killed him. They had this diary or book of the
daddy, the FBI come, they called them in and the book disappeared. What
that boy told coincided with what Gordon told me on that deal. He said we
had people there, that took movie pictures... I don't know, but he said
definately, that Oswald was just a trinket in the deal, that he didn't kill
40/09 oh god Jeff, I don't know, this stuff will come to you now and
then ...
41/000 I don't know some of us took up some money, thought that it might
help out. I don't know if it helped or not, you know.
I saw him a time or two after he got out...and he told me then that
they were going to kill him.
He flat did, he said they're going to kill me, he said and I know it
and he said, they're, they've already took the farm away. I thought well,
the man never lied to me. or never pulled any stuff on me before, maybe
they are going to kill him, I don't know. and then shur enought they did.
He had told me, he had been back down there several times he'd go up in
Dakota, he said they had been warned several times that something was going
to happen ...they got prepared for it and it never came off. but he told
me, they're going to kill me, they cann't afford to let me live. I didn't
know, you know, I thought well maybe they won't... from all I can understand
and I read that letter he wrote after that deal happened , that was as deliberate
as anything I've ever seen, it looked to me like
...now where it come from and who decided to put the last nail in the
coffin, I don't know, don't care to know. but I know they done away with
an awful fine man, I'll guarantee you that.
44/23 ....I thought he was as sane as anybody running loose on this
country around here. and I thought he was probably smarter than hell I don't
know, he's one of the smartest men I ever knew...course that, you dummy,
maybe you didn't know much and I dind't... at the same time I mean he didn't
blow it, he didn't throw it around, he didn't butt in and didn't try to
put anybody down, or anlything else, he just told what he thought and like
I said,... I've heard him talk around other people and everything, I never
did catch him in anything that was a lie or blowd out of proption or anything
...so, I didn't have any reanson to doubt it, then when I read that
letter that his wife got after that deal up yonder (ND roadblock) . Course
I had seen him not too long before that, and he told me the last two times
that I saw him that they was going to kill him. And you know you're gettin
into something there that nobody knows. I don't know enough about that
crap to know what went on. I just know from that letter I read of his,
that he took the responsiblity for killing all those guys up there, he said
he killed em. And it sounded like him. It was typoical of him . He , the
letter that I read, he saw this old boy after he had done shot Yori, he
raised up and was going to finish him. And he shot thru the door. He didn''t
try to kill the man. And then this other old boy ran out to help Yori.
And Gkordon glanced back and he said that old boy was taking aim down on
him or Yori , one or the other, fixing to shot him again and that's when
he shot the first one. and killed him. The one that was standing on the
other side of the car... he wasn't what you would call ruthless or anthing
, he had em at their mercy at the end, they were all disarmed. He had the
whole bunch of em, you know, he could have killed everyone of em, if he'd
be a blood thirsty bloody sucker or whatever you want to call it. He coulda
killed every one of em.
47/50 Yeah, I read everything I could get my hands on about it. ...
I don't think you want to hear... By God I knew Gordon and I knew him
well, and I knew those idiots didn't (the media) , if somebody shot my
son you know I'd a done to em? I'd a cut em up into little bitty pieces.
after I killed em. but there wouldn't have been anybody walked away from
there if I'd been there. or I don't believe there wouldn't a been. not,
if I'd a had the upper hand like Gordon did. There sure woulnd't have been
anybody walked away from there. not of all the harrassment he had had, and
aggravation, it would have boiled over on me.
49/30 anymore anybody is a fanatic if they say they believe in such
and sucha thing. but, how far do you have to go, or how far can you go.
I don't think none of us go far enough in religion to be called fanatic.
we all come up short on that part. as far as race, I've seen him work around
black people , mexicans, anybody else you know, he never mistreated anybody
that I know of. ever.
50/33 I've seen him, he had patience of Job, I'll guarantee you mister.
We've encountered people out here who have come , like I told you, from
deep alabama, mississibi, Louisiana, East TX, and, they didn't know anything
about anthing as far as oil field was concerned.
nothing. I never saw that man, raise his voice , heard him belittle
anybody, don't care what color they were or where they came from.I never
saw him turn away from anybody who needed help. If they were haveing trouble
with someting he'd go try and help em. and, all this racist, and that's
a bunch of crap.
52/00 ...yeah, since he was a little kid. but I wasn't around him real
often... everytime I was up around Gordon's house they was well mannered
kids. everyone of em. that little time I was away from here...I was k
END TAPE @ 00:52:52
I asked him what it was and he told me. well it was a kind of a deal,
when the law of the town became defunct or wasn't doing their job. the posse
had the right to take over and help out...I didn't know what the devil was
going on...it got pretty strong here for a while I think, I never did join
it, like I said, Gkordon never did push anything on anybody, he never did
me. Matter of fact when I was questining him about posee, he never said
you oughta come on and help us, we need to get this mess straightened out.
he never did that. he said anybody can belong to it and we've got an obligation
here, in the event the law doesn't do what their supposed to we can do it
for em.
55/10 hell at the time I was so busy I didn't have time to be in nothing.
55/40 for I knew it wham, they come down and got gordon gonna try him
on this income tax stuff, as for Yorie, first time I knew that he'd gotten
into anything, I had to go down to jail one morning to get one of my hands
out of jail...when I was in there I overheard em talking about yorie that
he'd gotten into trouble. He'd taken a felt pen and painted on his license
plate because they thought that was illegal
56/48 ...and Yori he was kinda of like me, he believed everything that
Gordon said , to a point. but instead of having that little tiny sticker,that
said 1990, he took an painted it and they caught him for it. ...Gordon
pulled out. I said what's going on Gordon, he said, ohh they got Yori,
he said he shouldn't have put anything on there...I don't thinkg a whole
lote come of it.
58/20 I remember one time he was supposed to go on TV in Midland, I
never did see it on TV. but he was telling me about it. and he told me
he said, you know he'd talk about living or dying like it was going over
to get a drink of water. He wasn't afraid to die, I'' guaranttee you that
for what he belived. But he told me, he said, we're finally going to get
a deal on TV , they're going to interview us on TV about this tax stuff
that's illegal, he said when we do that 's when they're going to put the
heat on me. I think he went over here to Midland on TV. When they got hot
on him, didn't he go to Utah? somewhere and go on TV?
He had a lot of friends out there in Utah cause he was out there for
a while. That's when he was hooked up with the Mormon church. right after
he got out of the service. this was some years later, maybe an old friend,
maybe it got to a point where they could get him on TV, they believed in
him ...I sure believe that he went on TV and the whole deal of this thing
was that withholding was against the constituition and this soc. sec. tax
kept climbing and climbing ...
01/01/10 ...He said they were Satan worshpers and my daddy in law it
was one of the best organizations in the world. ,,,
He claims that, we talked a while ago and you asked me if he was racist,
the race I heard him talk about was the Jews. The black, mexicans, italians,
nothing. He says that the jews call it, they said we've got, he used that
term, we several times to me ...but he was telling me, that the jews to
try to get back at the gentiles, are doing everything they can to degrade
and push em down, and undermine em in other words to a point and he said
we've got a copy of their protocols, the main on e in there, it says we
don't care who's got the biggest army, navy or air force, or whatever, if
we've got money we can control the world... he didn't like em. He didn't
have nothing for em, I'll guarantee you that,
they're the only bucnch of people I've heard him romp on, the jews...
the , he said back to the masons, they're stragiht from the devil, all
those signs and that damned upside down deal there, matter of fact there
was a lot of stuff I didn't understand cause I wasn't smart enough. that
old boy he knew what he was talking about, he was smart as a whip... He'd
get off on stuff with me and I'd say wait aminute your're way over my head...
01/04/53... some of the stuff he told me, at the time I thought you have
got to be an idiot. But, as time proved out he wasn't, never, in anything
he ever told me that came to pass was exactly like he told me... now there
was stuff that hasn't been proved, like the Kennedy, ...he said that ole
boy up in that building didn't kill kenedy, and he told me, Kennedy did
not die in Dallas, he said they carried him to that island over there that
Onassis owned,.. they said he'd have been a vegatable if he'd a lived.
he died on the way over there... then you think, well, how did Jackie meet
that old boy.
01/07/20 ... there's things that have slipped my mind, I don't know,
like I told you he's one of the best men I ever met, I don't care what anyboyd
says. ... I hated to see him go. but he did what he belived in.
Finally I got disgusted with em, I knew they were lying, so I just if
god is who he says he is, even an old boy like me, he'll let me know thru
this bible if I'm on the right track.. I studied the bible and I thought
I knew it pretty well, then I ran into Gordon and I'll tell you that good
ole boy knew the bible. he knew it as good as anybody I have ever seen,
we'd get together and study it... we wouldn't take anybody 's word we'd
go to the bible and look it up...
...what it was that he had was stronger than anything else, his beliefs
to him was straonger than anything else I guess, he believed we were being
done a wrong and I think we are myself, look at all this crooked crap going
on today, you know, and then people all of a sudden go looky here what's
happening, the savings and loan deal right there, the busted banks...I'm
telling you it's enough to make a man want to throw up, I'll guarantee you.
01/13/25 ...I don't want to end up getting my ass in a sling over this
shit I'll tell you for sure now. ...well, I done had those son of a bitches
down here on my asse , come in my house here and throw their shit around
a few times... the goddamned FBI...
01/14/00 ... those sons of a bitches tapped that phone for goddamned
about six or eight months ... yeah, shit I knew there was something wrong
with it. those bastards come down here they had been a bunch of damn reporters
down here irritating tyhe shit out of us.... my wife said I'm getting sick
of it...I said me too... I saw two guys walk past that window, I said hell
there's two more of em right now. she said I'm just going to tell em that
we don't want to talk to em. ...She said are you all reporters and that
SOB whipped out his badge...
END TAPE @ 01:15:23

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?