Wild West Country History Project
Photo © Charles L. Barbee
Name of Person: Charles L. Barbee (Chuck Barbee)
The Wild West Country History Project is a television documentary series and a collection of historically correct, fine art photographs printed on canvas, which accurately depict the rich gold rush and old west history of California’s Southern Sierra region.
The documentary series is created and produced by local filmmaker Chuck Barbee, with lots of local volunteer help. Barbee, who graduated from Kern Valley High School in 1959, found success in the film and television business as a director and cinematographer, but he always wanted to return to his roots on the Kern River. After moving back to Kernville in 2002, he retired from the film business in 2005 and began working on his passion project, Wild West Country.
The project is based on the nine educational books about Southern Sierra Nevada history centering on the Kern River Valley, written over a period of 30+ years by local Cowboy/Historian/Author, Bob Powers, himself a 5th generation member of one of the earliest local pioneering families Mr. Powers’ books cover the history of the white man in this region, beginning with the Joseph Walker Expedition through the Kern River Valley in 1834 and concluding with the creation of the town of “New” Kernville, when newly created Lake Isabella forced the authentic “old west” town of Kernville to move to higher ground in 1950.
Mr. Barbee’s completed documentary series will consist of six 90-minute programs. The first, “Wild West Country, Episode One: The Lure of Gold” was completed at the end of 2008 and is available online at www.WildWestCountryMovies.com or at the Kern Valley Museum in Kernville.
The fine art prints on canvas, which are derived from movie footage of the “recreations” done for the documentary series are available at A Stone’s Throw Gallery inside Kernville Antiques.