The Head of Joaquin Murrieta | WKAR World Special

Oct 4, 2017

WKAR filmmaker John J. Valadez searches for the remains of a legendary outlaw and reveals a painful and long ignored historical trauma: the lynching of Mexican Americans in the west.

Times to Watch

Thu Oct 5 at 2:30am WKAR World
Thu Oct 5 at 10:30am WKAR World
Sat Oct 7 at 9:30am WKAR World
Sat Oct 7 at 3:30pm WKAR World
WKAR World Ch. 23.2, Comcast 904, WOW 157

The Head of Joaquin Murrieta

For over a decade, filmmaker John J. Valadez searched for the remains of Joaquin Murrieta, a legendary Mexican outlaw who blazed a trail of revenge across California until he was caught and decapitated in the summer of 1853.

Using groundbreaking scholarship and working with a team of leading historians from across the country, Valadez provides a dissenting view of American history from a decidedly Chicano perspective. Deeply personal, irreverent and entertaining, the film tears open a painful and long ignored historical trauma that has never been explored on American television: the lynching of Mexican Americans in the west.

The film - produced and edited by Carleen L. Hsu - follows director John J. Valadez on a cross country journey as he discovers the untold story of the lynching of Mexican Americans, and his own family's connection to that troubled past.  

The film is a co-production with WKAR/PBS in East Lansing and is scheduled to air on hundreds of PBS stations with a potential audience of over 230 million viewers.

Peabody Award winning filmmaker John J. Valadez recently joined WKAR and the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at MSU as a media producer and professor of practice. Valadez has written and directed a dozen nationally broadcast documentary films for PBS and CNN over the past 18 years.  Two of his feature films for PBS – Passin’ It On and The Longoria Affair – have received Emmy nominations.

Watch a Preview

The Head of Joaquin Murrieta from Latino Public Broadcasting on Vimeo.

Funding for this program was provided by
THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES, CAL HUMANITIES, LATINO PUBLIC BROADCASTING, WKAR, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, and THE CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING.