- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

HAZEL GROVE, Ark. (AP) - Sisters Sue Richmond and Kay Shaw were exploring the backroads of Stone County last spring when they drove by what appeared to be a log cabin tucked back into the woods.

They knew their friend, Randy Bradley, was looking for some kind of cabin to put on his parents’ old home place near the Hazel Grove/Cord community, and although this was far out in the country, it might just fit the bill.

But this was in May, and Richmond and Shaw could barely see the barn because of all the brush. So they stopped to get out of the car and take a picture to send to Bradley.

“I was scared to get too close,” Richmond said with a laugh, adding that she didn’t know what critters might still be taking up residence in a “huge rat’s nest” in front of the cabin - but she sure didn’t want to find out.

It turns out that Bradley was spending the weekend in Mountain View when he got Richmond’s call. Otherwise, he might never have gone to see the property. But because he was close by, he went that very day to check it out.

The land the cabin was sitting on was for sale and Bradley had a friend who worked for the real estate company that had listed it.

The friend had a little history on the cabin itself, saying it was featured in the 1974 movie “The Bootleggers.”

Steven Perryman was just a teenager when he learned a movie was being shot in his hometown of Calico Rock.

As luck would have it, the producers would need locals to help build some of the stage sites.

He recalls helping the Long brothers produce the jail.

“We built the jail that was pulled down with the train. Dwight Long was cast as the train conductor. They couldn’t get an engine to pull the train cars so they got Bobbie Russell to bring his bulldozer to pull them.

“It was a lot of fun,” Perryman said.

For the small community, a movie was big news - and some local folks got roles in it, the Batesville Daily Guard (https://bit.ly/2lwrXzU ) reported. Perryman’s sister, Brenda Perryman Ward, recalls that Charlotte Majors played a hairdresser.

People came from miles around just to watch the various cast and crew come into town.

The upper side of Main Street was a familiar gathering place.

Debbie Wren and Sandye Lucy Perryman were impressed with seeing Jaclyn Smith, who was just in the beginning stages of her acting career.

“Some of us sat on the upper side of Main Street, legs dangling over the edge of the sidewalk and watched as (Jaclyn) Smith’s big motor coach parked across the street and she got off. I thought she was the most gorgeous thing I’d ever seen. Years later, as I watched ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ it was like watching an old friend,” Wren said.

Sandye Lucy Perryman recalls a couple of the actors, one being Smith, walked up the hill behind town. Twins Joni and Jill Jeffery had a little red wagon in the yard.

“I just remember them taking it on up to Grady and Lota Perryman’s at the top and riding it down. They were at a pretty good speed when they got to the end,” she commented.

Local historian Mary Cooper Miller said they filmed all up in the national forest and in Calico, and Kenny Green remembered being on the swinging bridge in Allison when they were filming.

A few scenes were also reportedly filmed near Mountain View, but the bulk of the movie was shot in Calico Rock and the national forest - and it’s in the scene where well-known star Slim Pickens’ character is murdered that Bradley’s new cabin is featured.

Pickens played Grandpa Pruitt, the family patriarch who went to war with the rival clan, the Woodalls, over making moonshine and bootleg running.

As Bradley explained, “The competition bootleggers come up to kill him (Pickens), the family they’d been feuding with, and they shot him in the back. He turned and ran toward that door, fell dead just before he got to it.”

“In the movie, it looks identical to that (scene),” Bradley said.

This was the only side with a door; the other had a window, Richmond said. “I can’t be positive but I really think that house could have been the barn, that they just disassembled (it and put it back together) . They just took off (pieces) of that house and made the crib barn for the movie.”

Bradley agreed, saying he can’t be 100 percent sure, but he has compared photos of the structure with images from the movie and they are a match, from what he can tell.

But one thing he is sure about - whoever built it back in the 1970s knew what they were doing, even if it was just for one movie, judging by the way the logs fit together. “I’m sure it was a local craftsman - back in them days people knew what they were doing.”

But Richmond wasn’t convinced it had ever actually been used as a barn in real life, noting that the foundation was just on round stumps, whereas usually a crib barn would have been on limestone rocks or whatever large rocks were in the area. In addition, the ground around the barn didn’t have “that barnyard feel.” She noted how there were no weeds and manure like one would expect to find around a barn.

And, Richmond added, it appeared to have been put together from another structure, such as an old house, for the movie, but it was otherwise in good shape. She said the property itself was once owned by a family named Green, and Richmond said she and Miller found a photo of them with their home in the background. (The Greens had apparently moved down here from Missouri and built a lean-to to live in while the main house was being built.)

When Richmond and her sister first spotted the little log cabin, it wasn’t in the best shape, as the ceiling was falling in, and there was some evidence of termite damage. With the property for sale, they would have to act quickly.

When someone else ended up buying the land where the log cabin was located, Bradley was given until the end of the year to remove the cabin. He said while the property garnered a buyer, there was apparently little interest in the structure itself.

Richmond believes people didn’t realize what it was - and it was well-hidden.

In August, the cabin was his - but Bradley said he didn’t feel completely comfortable until after it was torn down and in his possession, which was right before Thanksgiving. A lawyer suggested he “move it quickly.”

So, he did.

He and his crew, which included Landon Turner, Ron Byars, Mike Jones, Paul Dale Vaulner and Bradley’s son Tanner Bradley, were able to get the barn - rafters, tin roof, logs and all - dismantled and moved back to Cord in two days.

Bradley said he wants to put the barn on his family’s property and make a unique place to hang out, have cookouts, that sort of thing.

“There’s still an old chimney there and I’ve been looking for something to put back there, rebuild the old farm structures as they used to be,” he explained.

Before they dismantled the old barn/cabin, however, Bradley, Richmond and Miller carefully and painstakingly tagged, numbered and photographed every log, every side and every angle. Richmond said she’d read the importance of tagging the logs, to make the reassembly a much easier process.

“If you had a good system, then it’s going to go back pretty good,” she said.

Since the barn has what’s known as a “dogtrot” (or breezeway going down the middle), one side of the structure was labeled “RB” (Randy Bradley) and the other “TB” (Tanner Bradley). Then each side of the structure was given a different color tag, and each log a different number.

Bradley said even the guys in his crew, particularly the youngest member, Turner, also took an interest in how the barn was built.

“You just don’t see that anymore, the fine hand-quality of the craftsmanship,” Richmond said.

Bradley hopes to reassemble the cabin sometime this spring - he said a couple of people have asked him about holding weddings there later this year.

“I don’t think it’ll be that hard to put back together,” Bradley predicted, and Richmond agreed. “It was so well-labeled.”

But getting to the cabin while pulling three gooseneck trailers and equipment was an ordeal in itself. The cabin was six miles from the main highway, down a little dirt road that had more than one hairpin turn and steep cliffs on the side.

When they first started to dismantle the structure, a front had moved in and it had started to rain, so they had to stop for a while. “It got cold really fast,” Richmond added.

Richmond and Miller even took the crew lunch because going back to Mountain View and eating would have meant a good two work hours out of the day.

All three said they enjoyed discovering a “hidden treasure” and piece of history practically in their backyard.

“It’s a piece of history being saved, and I admire Randy and his helpers in moving and saving the log structure,” Richmond said.

“The morning we went up to tag it, I said, ‘We’re moving history!’” Richmond said with a laugh. “I was so excited. . It was so much fun to know that all this is going to be preserved.”


Information from: Batesville Guard, https://www.guardonline.com/

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