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Legends of the Old West Podcast: Keeping the West Alive Through Story Telling

Chris and Mandi Wimmer are the brother/sister duo that owns and runs Black Barrel Media. The Wimmer’s pride themselves on offering a one-of-a-kind podcast experience by using cinematic storytelling and sound design to create a “movie for your ears”. One of their shows, “Legends of the Old West”, features stories that can only be found in history books, but told in a way you’ve never heard before. Chris Wimmer, who is the host, writer, and producer, combines his film and journalism background with his passion for the American West, to create Legends of the Old West Podcast. It’s important to note that every story they produce is extensively researched, including the source material, to ensure the true story is told to the best of their ability. 

When asked about the creative process for creating a new series, this is what Chris Wimmer had to say, 

“I have a master list of ideas that are a combination of topics I come up with and submissions that have been sent in by our listeners. I try to go through the list and choose a topic that sometimes has high name recognition, like Wyatt Earp or Jesse James or try to find stories that fly more under the radar. In a calendar year, we try to show some variety with stories about gunfighters, lawmen, women of the West, like we’re doing right now, Native Americans, plus many more. The first step is to “research the research” as we say around here, which means we look for, what we consider, the most reputable sources about any given topic. We usually buy two to three books and then compile a whole list of internet sources, newspaper sources, and anything we can get our hands on to figure out what the overall story is and then try to pair that down into the most fun, fast, and yet concise and understandable version of that topic.”

Behind the Scenes. Credit to BBM Facebook Page

There truly is an art to taking a story from the history books and turning it into an audio masterpiece. Not to mention the work that goes into fact-checking and digging into multiple sources before finalizing the end product. I asked Chris what he loved most about re-telling and re-sharing stories from the old west and here is what he said,

“The part I love the most is actually two parts. Part one is the ability and opportunity to tell the stories in a new medium, to take the best parts of an audiobook and an old-time radio drama then combine them into one product. So being able to tell these fun and exciting stories in this new medium has definitely been a part that I’ve loved over this four-year experience. 

Then part two is realizing the worldwide community that exists for these stories of the Old West. It was something that I candidly didn’t really factor into the process when I first started. When I started Legends of the Old West, it was just a side project that I was doing while I was working as a small-town newspaper reporter in Texas, and I was so consumed with just getting the first episode out there into the world that I didn’t really consider how it might be received. It’s been a really great surprise to realize that there is a worldwide audience for these stories.”

Behind the Scenes. Credit to BBM Facebook Page

There’s something magnetic about the way Chris Wimmer leads his listeners through each episode of the podcast. Additionally, I think that it’s so important to capture these stories in a digital format because history is moving farther and farther away from younger generations with every day that passes. In fact, Mandi Wimmer mentioned that she has received feedback from many teachers that are using the podcasts in their classrooms. As I wrapped up the interview, I asked Chris what his mission is in sharing these reimagined stories with his audience and this was his response,

“The mission, at its core, is to tell true stories of the Old West in a fun, fast, and entertaining way. They have to be true stories and we want to put enough detail in there that everybody gets a full understanding of the story but obviously not so much that people get lost in the weeds.”

About Legends of the Old West & Black Barrel Media

Legends of the Old West is presented by Black Barrel Media, an audio entertainment company that brings you stories of American legends and icons revolutionized in cinematic audio. They are also the creators of Infamous America Podcast; a Historical True Crime Podcast that takes you on a journey through the wildest and sometimes darkest chapters of American History; everything from the Salem Witch Trials to 1930s gangsters to assassins, traitors, outlaws, scandals and events that defy explanation.

One of the things that make Legends the Old West so special is that it is the only podcast sharing true stories of the American West in a cinematic fashion. Adding to their popularity, Legends gets nearly 1 Millions downloads a month. Legends of the West is available for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you prefer listening from a computer, subscribe for free on Youtube: Legends of the Old West Podcast. Now is a great time to tune in because in addition to new seasons continuing to release, sequels to both shows are coming out in 2023. You can find all of this and more at BlackBarrelMedia.com.

Memberships are available for podcasts apps and YouTube, for $4.99 receive: 

  • Ad free episodes
  • Binge the full season on the Ep. 1 release date
  • Bonus episodes when available 

Highlighted Series

  • Tombstone: The story of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, the rise of one of the last great boomtowns, and the most famous gunfight in American history. 
  • Jesse James: Jesse James robbed banks, trains, and stagecoaches across the country. The series chronicles his early years, his peak as an outlaw, the disastrous Northfield Raid, and his ultimate downfall. 
  • Texas Rangers: Volume One of the ongoing series focuses on the early commanders who became legends — John Coffee Hays, Samuel Walker, Ben McCulloch, Bigfoot Wallace, Rip Ford, and Sul Ross — as they battled Comanches, bandits, and the Mexican army. 
  • Hatfields & McCoys: Bloody battles, forbidden relationships, betrayal, revenge — the story of the Hatfields & McCoys is the tale of an iconic family feud. 
  • Billy the Kid: The life of the most infamous outlaw of the American West is steeped in mystery. This is the story of Henry McCarty, aka Henry Antrim, otherwise known as William H. Bonney, glorified in legend as Billy the Kid. 
  • Little Bighorn: This series traces the events that led to the largest battle between Native Americans and white soldiers in U.S. history. It tells the stories of Custer, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and many more as they clashed for two days in southern Montana in the summer of 1876.
  • Women of the West: From a former slave turned stagecoach driver, to an Apache prisoner, to an outlaw, to an escapee from jail, these Women of the West were trailblazers, survivors, bandits, and robbers. 

Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine

This article was created for the Summer Issue of the Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine which was released in early June. You can catch this article and many more by checking out the full issue. For more information on Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine, visit the website here.

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