I was inspired by watching The Harder They Fall (2021). It was really cool to see all these Black people as the central characters in a Western movie and to know that they are all based on real people. I thought, “that’s kind of what I’m doing with these all these Playmobil sets for my little one.” I’m taking characters from our culture at large (most are real historical people, but many others are fictional characters), and using some idea about that character when I customize a toy and hand it to my kid to play with. The idea sparks their imagination on how to play, and that’s a lot like how some real people in history sparked the imagination of Jaymes Samuel and Boaz Yakin in putting together The Harder They Fall (2021); the same could be said for when Jaymes Samuel made They Die By Dawn in 2013.
So, the Rufus Buck Gang is one example based on the fact that I did a little internet search to find out more about the character who plays the main antagonist in the movie. In real life he was an eighteen-year-old who was part Black and part Creek Indian. I saw pictures of him with a small gang of four other Black and Native American people, and I read people writing about his overall goal: to spark a revolution against White settlers in order to return land to indigenous people. A lot of what I saw on the internet was about some of his gruesome practices–his gang killed and raped some unarmed people. At some point I do need to teach my little ones about the danger of righteous or reasonable anger turning into indiscriminate hate and vengeance. Maybe I can use the Rufus Buck Gang to talk about that at some point. But what I love most about the story is what I want to lead with:
Rufus Buck is a Black and Native American leader of a gang of teenagers who fight to rid Native people’s lands of White settlers.