Category Archives: Sons Of Liberty

Sons Of Liberty: Samuel Adams Convinces Colonies To Fight

Photo Courtesy Of History Channel
Photo Courtesy Of History Channel

Warning: Spoiler Alert

No matter what your political convictions, Progressive, or Conservative, Republican, Democrat or Independent, I’d challenge any American to walk away from a well-made movie or TV program, about the fight for Independence from the British Empire and walk away without feeling pride for our nation. Although the History Channel Original Event “Sons Of Liberty,” started out slowly, the network presented a series that wouldn’t have been out of place in one of the Premium Cable Channel’s lineup. The miniseries presented its last chapter Tuesday night, with an episode jammed with action, triumph and in some cases heartbreak.

One of the aspects of the six-hour showcase that I enjoyed, is the series evoked the period perfectly, as it looked like realistic cities and towns in the New World, in the latter stages of the 18th century, however the characters have a modern sensibility about them. The characters, responded as we do under the same circumstances in the early portion of the 21st century. The BBCA series “The Musketeers,” projects that same kind of balance, letting the viewers of today know how folks lived 400-500 years ago, experiencing it through relatable characters.

Two actors, that I’d had little to no knowledge of, before this series, stood out; Ben Barnes, portraying the protagonist Samuel Adams, appears to have the skillset to make it as a leading man in films or television. The other man, who impressed me was Rafe Spall, in the role of John Hancock. He played the part perfectly, but he’s got a face that’s expressive enough for comedy, he reminded me of a younger Peter Scolari or Rick Moranis.

The third episode opened, right when the previous chapter ended, as we’re in a field in Lexington, Massachusetts, on April 19, 1775, watching the red-coats squaring off against the Colonial militia. The start of the scene’s in super slo-mo, so we watch the flintlock getting struck, the heat of the bullet leaving the barrel, followed by the smoke and bullet Then we return back to real-time and we start seeing the casualties, on both sides. Tim Kelly’s leading the way for the colonists while the red-coats fight under the command of General Gage’s military-aide, Major John Pitcairn. The red-coats quickly overpower the colonists, Tim Kelly taking one in the shoulder and another in the leg and falls to the field, his compatriots beat a hasty retreat.

Paul Revere’s heading for Concord riding through the woods, when he confronts two red-coats on horseback, he throws a knife at one killing him, then shoots the other one off his horse. A new soldier arrives and he shoots Revere’s steed, causing both the horse and the Patriot to fall to the ground, Revere rolling a few yards after falling. The soldier turned him over to see how badly hurt his opponent was, but Revere was playing possum and struggled with the Brit for his rifle.

Revere initially gets the advantage, but the red-coat regains the upper hand and hits Paul in the head with the butt of his rifle. He’s about to beat him to death, when Samuel shows up and takes him out. Another guard sneaks up on Adams his gun pointed, but someone kills him first, when the smoke clears we realize it’s John Hancock. He’s struggling with the moment, ten-years prior, the thought of killing another human would have caused him to convulse in laughter, the idea so ludicrous. Within this makeshift band of brothers that these men built through the years, Hancock has evolved the most, a subject we’ll return to. Revere comes to, thanks John and tells them to get to a safe spot, he’s riding on to Concord.

We return to the field of battle and a soldier rides up to inform Pitcairn, that Adams and Hancock escaped. The Major continues walking past the bodies of dead or wounded colonists, when he passes Tim Kelly, he tells two of his soldiers to raise him up. The big man’s badly wounded and Pitcairn asks him where Adams and Hancock are hiding. He stays silent, so the Brit took Kelly’s own hunting knife and stuck it into the wound in his shoulder, twisting and turning the blade. Tim spit blood but he remained silent, Pitcairn removed the knife and gently tapped Kelly on the head, then told a soldier to kill him. A bullet to the head took Tim Kelly’s life.

We’ve moved onto Barrett’s Farm in Concord, Massachusetts according to the graphic and we watch a man riding there rapidly on his horse. As he ties his animal to the post, we see a gun peeking out from the corner of the building, then realize, the area’s filled with snipers. A man in the front doorway asks the man who he is and what’s he doing on his land. The man tells him his name’s William Dawes, he’s Paul Revere’s friend (which causes Barrett to wave off the guns) and the whole state of Massachusetts, knows what in his barn. Is there anyway to hide it. Barrett opens the barn and it contains scores of rifles and barrel after barrel of gunpowder. He tells Dawes he’ll get some guys and they’ll bury it.

The men work like finely tuned machines and within hours they’ve got everything hidden, meanwhile each member of the militia, receives a rifle and pistol. They hide in the woods as Pitcairn and his regiment march towards the farm, the Major and another officer ride ahead and Pitcairn greets him as Captain James Barrett, to which Barrett replies he’s not been called Captain in years.

Pitcairn tries making social niceties, but it only lasts so long, he tells Barrett that the Brits are aware he’s a close ally of Paul Revere and he stores the munitions for him. Barrett tells him to look around as much as he wants and the red-coats look everywhere and all they find is one tiny musket ball about the size of a pea. Pitcairn shows it to Barrett and he laughs and says it’s a memento from the glories of war, nostalgia doesn’t connect to treason. The Major has the other soldier rough up Barrett and he’s on the ground, Pitcairn stands over him with a pistol pointed at him and says nostalgia’s going to get you killed.

Right then Revere gives the command to fire and the Brits go down one after another, suffering major injuries. Pitcairn gets shot in the thigh, then gives the order to fall back to the bridge. This time it’s the red-coats on the run as the Colonial Army gains their first victory, over the planet’s strongest military. Barrett grabs a flag the red-coats left behind and Paul tells him that’s his prize, now let’s get going and take back our city.

The red-coats limp back into Boston, with cart after cart of injured men, they pass the State House and General Thomas Gage tells Pitcairn to dismount while addressing his commanding officer. Gage then asks how did this happen, the Major responds his men fought viciously, but the rebels are savages. He tells Gage that the colonists are on the march and could be outside the city’s walls. They couldn’t find Adams, Hancock or the munitions, somebody tipped them off. Gage blames his soldiers and tells Pitcairn to thoroughly investigate which of his men’s the traitor.

That evening Gage stands in contemplation in front of his fireplace then heads to Margaret’s bedroom, he startles her and he asks if her friend Dr. Joseph Warren’s mentioned John Hancock or Samuel Adams? She says she’s never heard the names and barely knows Dr. Warren. Gage looks at her and says I know it was you, their blood is on your hands, you traitor, then walks out of the room locking her inside.

The graphic tells us we’re now at a Colonial Encampment, four miles west of Boston. The entire field’s filled with tents and Warren offers Sam an apple for breakfast which he refuses, Joseph asks him when he last ate? Adams looks at his old friend and asks if the rumors about Joseph and Gage’s wife are true and Warren stays poker faced. Sam says you’ve watched out for me over the years, but now I’m telling you to be careful. John Adams rides up ending the conversation.

John tells his cousin that they want to convene a second Continental Congress and they want Samuel to explain his actions. Adams says we’re a bit busy right now and all they’ll do is write another lovely letter to the Crown, then says he won’t go. John says then they’ll align with the British and wipe Boston off the map, Hancock quickly agrees with John. He says he’s been around money-men all his life and they’ll do anything to preserve their fortune. The English will bribe the other colonies wealthiest citizens and they’ll accept the deal. Revere says he and Warren will command the lines, they should head to Philadelphia.

Gage’s melting-down in front of his officers, he tells an aide to get a letter off to Lord North telling him they need another 20,000 soldiers. He tells one of his officers to take charge of locking down Boston, nobody leaves the city, anyone attempting to will be shot on sight. He says we’re in a war now start acting like it and dismisses his officers.

We’re back in Philadelphia at the State House for the second Continental Congress and it’s like a bad rerun, as the delegate from Pennsylvania, that was against Boston the first time’s back on his soapbox. He says there aren’t troops in Pennsylvania, or New York, just in Boston and because of this man Samuel Adams. He then says that he and his thuggish friends have made life tougher for the rest of the colonies.

Samuel stands up and gets right in the other delegates face and says he wasn’t there, or the rest of them. They have no idea what conditions they live under, good, patriotic men have lost their lives and possessions for this cause. I’m willing to work with you, any of you to solve this problem. The other delegate responds that he created and Adams walks out. Hancock says we need another way to win these men over and John Adams smiles and says he has an idea.

The three men go to visit a man in Philadelphia, acting like schoolboys waiting to see Santa. John says this is the place of greatness, while Hancock says he can’t believe he’s still alive. Suddenly the door opens and their stands Ben Franklin in a bathrobe, paying a lady of the evening for her company. As she leaves he asks the trio why there in his house? John replies they have an appointment with him, then introduces himself and the others, Franklin says as long as you don’t tear down the place come on in.

Back at the Colonial Encampment, now located one mile north of Boston, Amos tells the others that Gage and the British still hold Boston, but they’re surrounded on all sides. They can’t hold out much longer, then they’ll attack the colonists. Warren asks about the militia, Amos responds it’s growing every day, but the man aren’t trained. Revere asks if they can handle a full-out attack  and Amos responds, perhaps two or three rounds, but they’d fall.

Franklin sits down with the three men and outlines what their desires are for their colony and all three men agree they’re on the same page. Franklin says he’s lived in London for the last ten-years and Parliament won’t give them a sliver of what they want. He tells them they aren’t talking about defending their rights, they want to become another country, with all 13-colonies banded together as a new nation. Is that what they really want? Samuel immediately responds with a yes and Franklin smiles and says the idea’s completely nuts, but that’s what he wants as well. Now they just have to sell it to the others.

With Franklin in tow (in lieu of the Cowardly Lion,) the four head to the State House and immediately get the support of Virginia delegate Thomas Jefferson. John congratulates him on the convert and Franklin says he was already on their side, he opens the door to the chambers and says here’s where the fun starts. Franklin, John Adams and Hancock, sidle up to all the delegates, Adams even asking the Pennsylvania delegate, how he can address his concerns. When they return to Franklin’s, Samuel asked what all that talk’s going to accomplish. Franklin says politics is like playing chess, you always plan five steps ahead, in five steps the colonists take their King.

Back in Boston, General Thomas Gage’s barely holding it together. He says the British Empire has the most powerful in the world, yet this band of colonists has them at a standoff. One officer says that they’re just colonists, but they far outnumber the red-coats. Gage says no excuses, then an officer suggests a plan that will cost them hundreds of soldiers, they cross the harbor and march through Charlestown to capture Bunker Hill. Pitcairn says the losses they’d suffer would end up as a horrific number, the officer counters they can lose lives, they can’t lose Boston. Gage silences his Major and the plan goes into effect.

On June 16, 1775, Gage sends the orders to start the battle for Bunker Hill at daybreak. As the soldiers line up the next morning, Gage addresses his troops, tells them what they march to do today, we do for King and country and the troops respond back, for King and country. Many of us will die today and we will die with honor, The troops respond back, for King and country, HOOSAH, HOOSAH.

The colonists look to the water and see five British ships heading their way, they then start fortifying Bunker Hill so they can save it from being won back by the English. Revere pulls out a flag with a snake cut in pieces, with each colony representing a different piece of the reptile, above it read the banner, Join Or Die. They put it atop the hill and wait for their opponents arrival. Paul tells his soldiers he knows they’re scared and there’s no shame in it, anyone who has something’s afraid of dying. But he tells his men to hold the high ground and don’t let the red-coats take the hill.

The battle went through three stages, the first one the Brits pounded the colonists into the ground with rapid-fire cannons. The colonists fell back and the British advanced and this time the rebels kicked the English tails, killing line after line of red-coats as they marched in procession to their deaths. An officer called for the red-coats to fall back and seeing they had the English on the run, got the colonists giddy as they killed more and more men. Gage ordered that the retreat be halted, then tells his troops to prepare for a second advancement and he tells Pitcairn, that he’ll lead the charge. Pitcairn realized it was a suicide mission and that’s why Gage held back, but he rallied the troops by yelling for the glory of the Marines.

The Colonists had the advantage early and Pitcairn got shot on his horse fell to the ground and bled out, while his soldiers marched past him. There’s always that one scene in war films, where one of the good guys realizes his chance of survival are slim but he’s going to take out as many opponents, as he can before he falls. It’s used for dramatic effect and of course it was Dr. Joseph Warren and when Gage saw him on the battle field, charged into the fray. Warren took out a lot of soldiers, then got shot in the leg, he fell to the ground but rose when Gage rode up. Gage passed him on his horse, then stopped and shot him in the head, telling his men to mutilate the body. He first though dips his hands in Warren’s blood.

He heads straight home marches into Margaret’s bedroom and tells him he killed Warren with his own hands and shows her the blood, she starts crying and hitting him. He tells her to pack her things she’s sailing for England on the next ship.

At the Continental Congress, John Adams receives a message and tells the delegates the war’s started, as Gage killed hundreds of colonists including their good friend Dr. Joseph Warren. The delegate from Pennsylvania asks for a moment of silence. George Washington slams his hand on the table and says no, we’ve been silent too long. General Gage, is a vicious, brutal tyrant that will stop at nothing. I’ll ride to Boston and take care of him myself, any objections? The room stayed silent, Washington leaves and seconds later Samuel leaves.

John Hancock goes out to the stable to talk to Samuel, he tells him that without him, this thing falls apart. Adams says everybody in there has an agenda and Hancock agrees, everyone but Samuel. John says I finally got what you’ve fought for all this time, you just want folks to have a good life and existence. He then tells Adams that he changed Hancock, he says I’m broke and I’m okay with that, this is all I’ve got and he throws Adams the signal coin. He begs Sam not to leave, but Adams gets on his horse and says good luck. He rides a mile or so, then stops reflecting on his options. Hancock, John Adams and Franklin are at Franklin’s trying to figure out if they got all the delegates they need. Samuel walks in and says enough games, this time we do things his way. Franklin says glad you’re back.

Paul Revere’s pleasantly surprised as George Washington and six thousand soldiers arrive to help battle Gage. When the British General finds out that Washington’s arrived he tells an aide to set-up a meeting for the two of them. Gage rides out to the Colonial Encampment at night with one soldier to meet Washington, whose got Revere by his side.

Gannon attempts to rile up George’s temper by bringing up unpleasant circumstances from the past. Finally Gage tells Washington that he wants safe passage for he and his officers, or he’ll burn Boston to the ground. Washington agrees to the terms and Gage rides away.

In Philadelphia, Franklin pulls John Hancock aside and tells him he wants him to be President of the Continental Congress. John’s shocked that Ben’s picked him over Samuel, but Franklin asks if John knows he grew up in Boston and Hancock says he does. He said that he knew Hancock’s uncle very well and he could do impressive things in some areas for some people and John smiles and agrees. Ben looks him in the eye and says I know where you come from and I know where you ended up. You’re the man for the job.

Graphic tells us we’re back in Boston for Evacuation Day March 17, 1776. The red-coats are leaving Boston in droves, the colonists are elated, shooting off fireworks, dancing and drinking. Washington and Revere walk through the crowd smiling and George says to Paul, they think it’s over.

Samuel Adams addresses the Continental Congress and says to the delegates he knows what they think of him and he agrees he’s all the things they don’t like. However he says I’m meaningless to the Crown and so are all of you, they behave as if we don’t exist. We need a fair and equal chance, that’s our God-given right and I’ll fight for that and die for it. South Carolina’s the wild card for a unanimous passage and they vote yes.

As the delegates sign the Declaration Of Independence, Washington reads it aloud to his troops, we see the document getting signed, flashbacks along the journey and the British returning to the colonies to fight. But Washington yells charge and we leave these founders of our nation, to win Independence.

Sons Of Liberty: You Say You Want A Revolution?

Photo Courtesy Of History Channel
Photo Courtesy Of History Channel

Warning: Spoiler Alert

While recapping the first two-hour episode of the History Channel Original Event “Sons Of Liberty,” I stated that when deciding to dedicate six-hours of your time to a television show, the first question you need to ask yourself, is whether it’s worth your attention. After watching the second two-hour episode on Monday, I can now respond with an unqualified yes, the promise that miniseries showed in the first two hours, displayed itself firmly in the second installment. As the story gets closer and closer to the American Revolution, we’ve watched characters stepping-it-up in grand style and far more action.

The first image we see is the sign for Paul Revere’s workshop, as activity’s billowing inside, we see some of Samuel Adams men, putting white paint on their faces, while others are making sure all their weapons work properly. John Hancock walks in, sees the activity and tells Adams he strongly advises against the move they’re about to undertake. He tells Sam that they just needs to lay low for a while and soon they’ll get back into business and making money.

Adams looks at Hancock showing the disgust on his face and tells his cohort that all he cares about is money and John asks him what he wants, Samuel takes a sip of his pint, rather than respond. Hancock tells Adams that if they conduct their mission, Hancock’s and Adams’ deal’s over, Sam throws his mug into a bucket and says let’s go boys.

Adams, Revere and company, head towards Boston Harbor sneaking past all the red-coats on patrol. We watch Adams and a group of men in a row-boat, which apparently is just one of many boats converging on a British ship docked in the harbor. Suddenly the ships filled with dozens of men, the one sailor on board asks who they are and they tell him they’ve arrived to take control of his ship then knock him out. Two red-coats are on board and Adams points a pistol at both and tells them to swim, they quickly dive from the ship into the ocean.

A group of British soldiers rush to the dock and their commanding-officer, tells them to get in formation and Adams tells his men to get ready. Tim Kelly asks, what if they shoot and Sam responds we shoot right back. There’s a standoff, then suddenly Revere smiles and says to his mates, to open up the cargo, the cases filled with tea and yes they start dumping it into the harbor and we are witnessing the Boston Tea Party.

The red-coats commanding officer’s patience’s gone, he order his men to get ready to fire, but before he can give the command Governor Thomas Hutchinson runs over yelling stop. He tells the soldier they’ll be no gunfire, as that’s exactly what Adams wants, he’s taunting them to shoot him. The Governor says you’re not going to make Samuel Adams a martyr, then orders the soldier to have his men stand down. As the command’s given, one of the colonists on the ship yells, we found the wine and all the men cheer.

We head to London and enter a meeting between the English Prime Minister, some leaders of Parliament behind a table and seated about 50-yards away, Benjamin Franklin all alone seated in a simple wooden chair. The Prime Minister’s aide asks Franklin to explain this latest incidence treasonable acts, committed by childish and insubordinate colony.

Franklin says that the incident was a protest that got out of hand and the colonists are bothered that they can’t buy goods from their all shops and have the rights of all good Englishmen. The members of Parliament, laugh at the thought of calling colonists Englishmen. He says they dumped 90 thousand schillings worth of tea into the harbor, these colonists are outlaws and thugs, the sons of tyranny. They’re led by a governor, who lets this go on under his nose and does nothing, they should get beaten into submission. The other leaders cheer him on.

Franklin stands up and stares right into the Prime Minister’s eyes, then asks him if he sends another ship into Boston, what does he reaction to be? His soldiers won’t find a rebellion, but the extra presence could very well inspire him. If you make martyrs of these men, the people of Boston, won’t look upon them as sons of tyranny, rather Sons Of Liberty. After Franklin finishes, the aide asks the Prime Minister, if  there’s anything they can do and he responds there may be and all of them leave the room, Franklin sits and looks pensive.

We see three British Military ships heading to the colonies, on board one of the vessels, British General Thomas Gage and his wife Margaret Kemble Gage. When they arrive at Boston Harbor, Hutchinson and his Lieutenant, wait to meet Gage under a canopy. We soon see how huge an ego the General has as he leaves the ship riding a white horse, then gets down and looks at the hundreds of troops he brought with him.

Hutchinson and his Lieutenant get sent back to London on the same ship, without even time to pack. There’s a new Sheriff in town and his name’s Gage. We see him sitting in the State House and he asks his military aide about Sam Adams and the soldier, gives a brief description then asks if he should arrest him. Gage says, on the contrary, let’s buy him off.

Inside the Green Tavern Pub, Dr. Joseph Warren tells Samuel that Gage’s sealed the harbor, nothing going in or out, he’s also taken over the Clark’s house on Hanover Street, Revere mentions that soldiers have done that in a couple of houses in his neighborhood. Just then Gage’s aide comes in with a company of soldiers and Tim’s at the ready. The military-aide’s all smiles however, as he looks right at Sam and asks him if he’s the famous Samuel Adams, he then says that General Gage wanted to ease any concern during the transition and he’s paying the house’s tab for the night, in return for a moment of privacy with Adams.

They sit by themselves by the fireplace, then the military-aide says that Gage hope he and Sam can come to an understanding. He then says that the General thinks he’s a practical man, then throws a pouch of coins on the table in front of Adams’ who responds he doesn’t care what Gage thinks about him. The military-aide says he really should take the money, it’s more than he deserves and he’d be foolish for turning it down.

Sam picks up the bag and says the bag must contain more than 100 schillings, the soldier responds, 200 and this is only the beginning, then starts to turn and leave. Adams shouts to him to give Gage his best regards and throws the pouch to the soldier, who leaves feeling humiliated. He heads back to Gage, telling him the offer got refused and asks if he wants to arrest him now, Gage responds not yet.

The next day, red-coats pull the colonists out of their homes and send them to the town-square, soldiers line the sides of the street, then another line behind the colonists. The military-aide comes out and the colonists watch as soldiers drag a man to a post, lock his hands to the side of it and rip the back of his shirt open. The military-aide says for too long this city has gone unchecked. No more, Boston will know order. We see Kelly and Adams watching, John Adams watching from the other side of the street and Hancock watching from his carriage. Gage comes out of a door just then and addresses the crowd.

The General says let it be known that any man violating any of His Majesty’s laws, will get dealt without mercy. This man, hours ago stole something off one of His Majesty’s ships, his punishment will be swift and just. Another soldier steps up yielding a leather cat-of-nine-tails and starts the man across the back, his skin’s soon bloody and he screams in agony.

Women attempt to turn around and leave, but the soldiers keep them in place, grown men are weeping openly, while Adams tries to stop them and Tim Kelly holds him back. The man falls to his knees and the soldier stops, and the silence’s deafening as the crowd sees the blood dropping off the leather whip. The military-aide, looks at Gage and the General nods and the soldier goes back to beating him again. The beating finally stops, the military-aide tells two soldiers to take the man away and they drag him by his arms. Gage says to clear the square and the soldiers start sending everyone home.

Doctor Warren stops the soldiers dragging the man and tells him he’s a doctor and he needs to take of the man or he’ll die. The soldier says Warren’s not allowed to touch him, when Margaret Kemble Gage, asks the soldier if the man got punished for his crimes. He recognizes her immediately and she tells him to take the man to the doctor’s office. He reluctantly agrees to and Joseph thanks her as he leaves.

That big ego of Gage’s earns him two enemies, that he’ll regret gaining. The first’s Samuel’s cousin John Adams, whom he summons to his office. He thanks him for coming with such short notice and Adams responds he’s just trying to help. Gage says that John’s a man of the people, a public defender and Adams responds he believes every man’s due council and he’s also studied constitutional law.

Gage takes him into his office and shows Adams his law degree from Harvard and the deeds to John’s two homes. Adams asks if he’s being threatened and Gage responds that he’s just showing how easily he could extinguish the life John’s built. He then brings up Samuel and says his cousin doesn’t realize that civilized society’s built on law and order.

The timid John Adams of the first episode quickly vanishes as John attempts to keep his composure as he asks Gage how his values of law and order, fit with him throwing people out of their homes for being behind on taxes? How does it fit with the public whipping of a man without due-process, is that how he treats loyal British citizens. Gage spits back you’re not British you’re colonists and I’ll treat you however I wish until you grant submission to your King. Now get your cousin in line, you’ve got a lot at stake. Bad move by Gage.

Margaret goes out riding and her horse throws a shoe, so she dismounts and enjoys the sun on her face. We hear a horse and Joseph Warren comes up along the path, apologizing if he startled her and she responds he hadn’t. He introduces himself and she says of course she remembers him and how’s the man doing, Warren responds he’ll respond due to her kindness. As he examines her horse she says she misses the quiet, she grew up in New Jersey.

Warren’s surprised that Gage married a colonist and she replies she’s his prize for winning the French and Indian war. She says Thomas takes what he likes and he quickly agrees, then apologizes for being out of line and she says the sad thing is you weren’t. With her horse useless, he offers her his horse and says he’ll walk home but she refuses immediately. He then says let him take her home and she agrees, gets on his horse side-saddle and in front of him and Warren looks confused how to ride like that but then figures it out.

The military-aide and a squad of soldiers burst into the Green Dragon and start roughing the guys up. Kelly knocks out three, but then he’s overcome and he’s down on the floor with soldiers weapons aimed at him. The military-aide says just tell us where Adams is and they’ll leave peacefully, Kelly tells him to get stuffed.  He asks Kelly again and he spits on the aide’s shoes, another soldier knocks Kelly in the head with the butt of his rifle.

John goes to visit Samuel at his armory and he tells his cousin, he needs to leave now as Gage’s on his way to get him. Sam says he’s staying and his cousin asks him if he wants to die a martyr in the street? He then points to Samuel’s stock of weapons and says you and your gang of thugs have this, while they’ve got the entire English Empire, trained soldiers and the best Navy on the planet, isn’t he scared? Sam says of course he is, but he can’t stand around and allow this to go on. John says we need a better plan and Samuel realizes his cousin’s joining his cause. John says I can help, let’s go and the two leave together.

Gage’s second bad move started when he went to visit John Hancock and the entrepreneur tries brown-nosing him. He tries to arrange with Gage to get his ships back in business, but the General tells him he wants no part of his tawdry plans and Hancock’s useless to him, then tells his aide this will do. Hancock asks what he means and Gage responds he’s relieving John of his home. The military-aide tells Hancock he can leave now and Hancock, says leave to where, two soldiers physically take him out of the house.

With nowhere else to go, Hancock heads sheepishly to Revere’s workshop, where the men are eating dinner. Hancock says hello to Sam, who keeps on eating, John then says he’s all in what ever they need he’ll get it, what ever they do he’ll support. Adams asks why they should believe him he could be a spy for Gage, Hancock says he resents the comment.

Adams asks why the sudden change of heart and Hancock says Gage took his home. The look of revulsion Sam feels for Hancock in that moment’s plain to see, he’s thoroughly disgusted with his former associate and tells him to get out, Hancock looks defeated as he turns to leave. Suddenly, John Adams yells for Hancock to stay, he’s got a plan and needs Hancock. Sam asks what he needs him for and John replies his money and Hancock makes a face like he’s alright with that.

John Adams and John Hancock are walking the next day through the alleys and discussing Adams plan, he’s written letters to dozens of influential men from the other American Colonies and they’re meeting in Philadelphia. They need to send a message to London, it will mean nothing coming from just Boston, but quite a lot if the colonies unite.

Samuel, John and Hancock ride to Philadelphia as the delegates from Boston, when they enter the State House, the scores of men Adams expected are about 30 men. The delegates start debating and one delegate from an unknown state, blames Boston for their problems, saying they trashed the State House and threw the tea in the harbor. John says that doesn’t excuse what General Gage’s doing, the other man retorts that General Thomas Gage’s restoring order. At that moment the door to the room opens and a tall stately delegate sits down next to his companion.

John starts saying General Gage, when the man who just entered interrupts him. He says General Gage’s a cancer, I fought alongside him when we battled the French. And just like a cancer, he brings suffering and death, what he lacks in compassion he makes up for in brutality, action must be taken. The other delegate laughs at the suggestion , but the Boston delegation’s impressed. He then says that Virginia stands with Massachusetts. Sam asks Hancock who the man is and John tells him he’s George Washington and Adams says he’s intense.

The other delegate tells John Adams he realizes that his colony wants arms and support from the other 12 colonies, but they can’t provide it. He suggests the colonies write a letter to the Crown, requesting that Gage refrain from his extreme tactics. Adams starts to say that’s not enough, when the delegate says fine it’s settled we’ll send a letter and the meeting starts to break up.

Sam says to John that they’re not like Bostonians, these men are cowards, but John tells him to calm down they need these men, they just need another way to convince him. Hancock taps Samuel and he turns around to see Washington standing at their table.  He says make no mistake gentleman, war’s coming and everyone knows that, but Boston’s on its own right now. Samuel asks Washington his suggestion for their colony and Washington says he’d resist, he also tells Hancock that it makes a good impression a man like he’s there. However they’re not going to give you an army, you’ll need to build one, he walks away and Hancock and Sam are intrigued.

The graphic tells us now that we’re at a farm in Lexington, which is 17-miles west of Boston. The farms owned by a longtime friend of Revere’s and that’s where they’re going to train the army they’re forming. Paul opens up the barn and shows them the recruits, a mixture of Samuel’s gang and some new men.

Tim Kelly comes back with six brand new well-made rifles that he bought off a guy in Medford, he possessed plenty more and Sam says go back and buy him out and Hancock give Tim a pouch. Kelly then says, the man’s got a bunch of guns and Hancock says that’s all the coins he has, but then gives Tim a solid gold pocket-watch.

Margaret hears moaning coming out of her husband’s office and looks through a small window to see Gage taking another woman on his desk. She walks away shaking.

Revere heads to a pub and orders a drink and one for the man in the corner, Paul’s old army buddy William Dawes, who lives out in Lexington to keep food on his table. Revere recruits him for the cause, he and Dawes will design a secret route from Boston to Lexington, he then says they’re building an army, not turning anyone away.

Things are going well in some aspects for the colonist’s army, they’ve got plenty of guns and the troops are getting well-trained, but Adams tells Revere, they’ve got no gun powder. Even if they could afford it, Gage won’t allow anyone to sell it.

Gage goes into Margaret’s bedroom and tries getting amorous, but she resists and then tells him to stop. He looks at her angrily and she asks what she is to him, just a statue he can show off inside a home he stole from another man? Joseph Warren’s at home when there’s a knock on the door, it’s Margaret sporting a shiner under her right eye, she says she fell. She then tells Warren, that her husband doesn’t know she’s there and kisses him, she pills away and he kisses her. She breaks away and says she’s sorry but she shouldn’t be there and leaves.

There’s a knock on the door again, but this time it’s Amos one of Samuel’s men telling Warren there’s a medical emergency. There’s a Black man lying on the table, his side ripped open, Warren asks if he’s a free man and the man responds he’s as free as the doctor is. Paul Revere saved him, some red-coats shot him thinking he was stealing but he was just carrying a barrel which is his job. The man whose name’s Peter Salem says that the barrel’s are filled with gun powder and they store it in a silo not far away.

Revere tells Adams about the silo and they plan to raid it, they’re between three and ten men guarding the silo on any given night, but they can’t get to it without being seen. Adams says that isn’t a problem. They head out at night and they see there are four men on guard, one above as an observer, while three march around the silo. Sam dressed as a red-coat, overpowers one guard and takes his place. Kelly knocks out the other two guards so now all three guards marching are Adams’ men, the rest of the men break into the silo hidden to the observer and load 200 barrels onto trucks and moves them out.

Daylight arrives and with that the replacement guards, Sam tells Paul and the few remaining men they need to leave, Revere, pours a line of gun powder from the silo to the field. They take off and Paul ignites the gunfire, blowing up the silo and insuring their escape.

Gage arrives to assess the damage and asks how did a full company of His Majesty’s Marines get outsmarted by a bunch of Yankee amateurs. The military-aide responds this is inexcusable and Gage stops him saying he wants Samuel Adams and John Hancock by the week’s end.

We now see that Margaret and Joseph are having an affair. She says as they’re lying in bed, she wants to help him, she knows what he and his friends are doing and she wants to help. He says it’s too dangerous and she jokes no more dangerous than what they’re doing.

Target practice is taking place at the farm and Revere says to Samuel that Gage’s trying to find him and if he does he’ll hang. Samuel’s actually worried about Gage finding the weapons so he agrees to be moved to a safe house, with Hancock as Gage realizes he’s financing everything. The two head to the safe-house, but we suddenly see our bald Irish stoolie, Mr. Whittier.

Gage summons Joseph Warren to his home telling the doctor he’s feeling pains in his chest, he’s also summoned his wife and they both realize he knows about them. After some veiled back and forth talk, Gage bids Doctor Warren good night, warning him to take care, as the streets are treacherous. Margaret leaves the room and attempts to catch her breath.

The next day Margaret’s walking about when she hears men talking in her husband’s office, Whittier’s in there telling Gage and the military-aide where the farm and Adams and Hancock are. Margaret runs to her room writes a not for Warren and starts to leave the house, but her husband insists on her getting escorted by two red-coats.

As she’s walking she purposely drops a glove near Warren’s office, she goes back to pick it up and slips the note under Joseph’s door. He reads it gives it to Revere, who contacts Dawes, he tells Dawes they’ll both ride that night Dawes to the farm to have the men bury the weapons and he’ll go to the safe-house to get Samuel and John.

As he starts to ride into the woods he hears a noise and gets off his horse, walking his steed when three red-coats stop him with rifles aimed. First soldier says Gage has ordered no travel from Boston this evening, Revere says he’s unaware. Soldier says what are you doing traveling at this hour and Paul responds he’s a Colonial scout for an armed resistance against General Gage and the Crown’s tyranny. The soldier laughs and Revere takes all three out then rides away.

He arrives at Lexington shouting the British are coming and tells the men to sound the alarm and when they do the colonial army comes running. Kelly’s leading the colonists while the military-aide commands the red-coats, Kelly says no shooting until fired upon. He says they’re not giving one more inch of this field and the soldier tells the red-coats to get ready to fire.

Revere gets to the safe-house and tells Hancock and Adams they need to leave now, Samuel says he wants to stay and fight. Revere says if you die now this whole thing dies with you. Hancock says it’s too late as two red-coats arrive on horseback, but Revere has them chase him. Just as Hancock and Adams leave they hear the first shot of the battle for Lexington and Concord.

The Story Concludes Tuesday Night at 9:00 pm on The History Channel.

Sons Of Liberty: Samuel Adams, America’s First Hero?

Photo Courtesy Of History Channel
Photo Courtesy Of History Channel

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Over the last few years, The History Channel’s delved into original miniseries in the “Historical Fiction,” genre. What that basically means is you get a story based on actual events, sometimes based on actual people, other times the protagonist’s fictional but they interact with historical figures. The only problem with the genre’s figuring out where history ends and fiction takes over. That’s a pretty apt description of what I witnessed Sunday night as the network premiered their latest original event “Sons Of Liberty.”

The story begins in my hometown of Boston, Massachusetts in 1765, eleven years before the signing of the Declaration Of Independence and revolves around Samuel Adams, cousin of future President John Adams. Although I remember Samuel’s name coming up in history classes, nothing about him really stood out, until they used his name for a Boston micro-brewery. (Who coincidentally, are the main sponsor of the six-hour three-night event.)

When deciding to dedicate six-hours of your time to a television show, the first question you need to ask yourself, is whether it’s worth your attention. After watching the first two-hours on Sunday night, I’ve yet to reach a conclusion on that question. It was entertaining and moved briskly, but I’m not sure if the tale told, was just a good story or truly revolving around actual events.

Although, not familiar with Ben Barnes’ work, whom portrays the central character, the series is loaded with familiar faces. Henry Thomas, whom you may remember as Elliot from the movie “E.T.” plays John Adams, while Michael Raymond-James, who portrayed Neal on “Once Upon A Time,” takes the role of silversmith Paul Revere. The part of Doctor Joseph Warren, a good friend and ally of Adams, gets played by Ryan Eggold, who portrayed Tom Keen for the last two seasons on the NBC series “The Blacklist” and I have to admit to feeling uneasy each time he was on camera. Perhaps the most creative casting choice’s Dean Norris completely unrecognizable as Benjamin Franklin, whose first appearance was fully dressed lying in a tub of water, drinking whiskey in the afternoon.

The evening opens with the graphic, telling us the time and place we’ve arrived at, when we hear a voiceover as we watch men beating each other senseless in the pouring rain. Our narrator, turns out to be Sam Adams and these are his words.

History will regard our nation as inevitable, but it wasn’t. In 1765, we were still a group of colonies, living under British oppression. There was no talk of revolution or thoughts about the United States. Things got so bad, gangs took to beating each other in the streets. But everything changed, on August 13, as Doctor Warren came to see me.

Sorry, but this must be mentioned, it’s August 13, in Boston, Massachusetts and it’s poring like late November and everyone on the streets, wear coats! The “Dog-Days Of August” in Beantown and folks wearing coats??

Warren rides his horse through the harsh elements, then steps into a pub, where he’s promptly greeted by Adams, who asks about the cut on his friends face and tells the bartender to get Warren a pint, which the Doctor refuses. He’s there to warn Adams that the red-coats are searching for him possessing a warrant for his arrest, right then the British soldiers, enter the pub. Adams hides, crouching in the rear of the pub as his friends tell the soldiers they just missed him. Adams chooses right then to make his escape and eludes the grasp of the red-coats.

Adams leads the soldiers through a wild chase in the streets of Boston, jumping rooftop to rooftop as well as exploring some underground routes. Just as they’re close to capturing him, they run straight into the two street-gangs, who join forces and start chasing down the red-coats. The British soldiers take refuge behind the gates of the State House, but soon have to evacuate the Governor and his aide.

The gangs tear down the gates, then pour into the house totally trashing it, they also pull a picture of British King George off the wall and treat it badly. Adams’ is just an awestruck observer, overcome by the power and the fury of his fellow colonists. The Governor and other officials blame him for the riot, but it was actually caused by a bunch of stuff hitting the fan at once.

Governor Hutchison, a man with the warmth of a slab of granite, summons John Hancock to his office. Hancock’s a wealthy young man and executor of the company built by his uncle. Hutchinson got paid off for looking the other way in certain matters, with the senior Hancock and the deal’s in place with John as well. The Governor talks about his relationship with the Uncle and hopes to have the same relationship with Hancock.

He then tells Hancock he needs him to solve a problem for him and tells him about Adams, he says the family’s historically been painful for Hutchinson and now Samuel’s become the thorn in his side. He tells Hancock he wants the businessman to rid him of his problem, in a way that won’t lead back to him, then dismisses the colonist.

A stranger comes into the pub and says he’s looking for Adams and the man’s Samuel’s cousin John. He gets taken to his cousin’s hiding spot and proceeds to give Sam a lecture. Adams was hired by the Crown less than a year earlier, to collect taxes from the colonists and he’s eight thousand dollars in arrears. John tells him to surrender to the authorities and leaves.

That evening Hancock and a young women take a carriage ride to the pub and he goes in asking for Adams. Sam’s friend and protector Tim Kelly, gives Hancock the runaround, but Adams presents himself. Hancock starts to introduce himself and Samuel tells him he knows who he is. Hancock asks if they can talk in private and Kelly kicks all his customers out of the pub.

Hancock explains he’s there to see him on Hutchinson’s behalf and Adams asks if he’s the Governor’s messenger. He says he isn’t but the Governor’s his friend. He then offers Samuel a deal, he’ll pay off all the debt, the warrant will get taken care of and he’ll retain his freedom. His only obligation’s to go to court and asks for the colonists to stop their rioting. Although suspicious at first, Adams accepts the deal and when Hancock leaves he tells Tim Kelly he just got out of his jail sentence.

Hancock meets with Hutchinson and the Governor asks him the status of the situation, Hancock replies it’s resolved and Hutchinson’s quite happy. Then Hancock reveals the details and the Governor implodes, saying that’s not the solution he wanted. Hancock’s confused, saying the situations resolved, but Hutchinson dismisses him. He then writes a letter to the English Prime Minister and tells an aide to get the message on the next ship to London.

Three months later, the message gets delivered to the Prime Minister and summons Benjamin Franklin, living in London at the time. A well-lubricated Franklin meets with the Prime Minister and tells him to calm down, the colonists are just blowing off steam and if patience’s applied the situation will dissipate. After he stumbles out, the Prime Minister’s aide asks of the tales of Franklin’s boozing and womanizing were accurate and the official says they are. The aide says he can’t believe Franklin’s the best America has to offer.

A graphic tells us we’re now on the Estate of British General Thomas Gage, whom the Prime Minister attempts to talk into returning to the colonies and setting things in order. Gage asks what the King thinks about it and the Prime Minister says he couldn’t be bothered. Gage says he feels the same, refuses to go and tells the leader of the English Government to send three ships filled with soldiers and start enforcing the rules strictly. The Prime Minister meets with leaders of Parliament telling them he needs more statutes to keep the colonists in line and all agree.

The next graphic informs us we’re at Boston Harbor in 1766 and we watch the ships unloading scores of red-coats. Joseph Warren’s sent to inspect the troops to ensure they’re healthy and he hears two red-coats discussing that their mission in the colonies is long-term. He tells Adams about what he heard but Samuel displays no concern.

Then the trouble begins, the expanded military presence starts arresting colonists for back taxes, Adams walks by the house of a family knows and they’re taking away the father. Adams tries to intercede, but a soldier pushes him to the ground, he starts to go beat him, when one of the red-coats Warren heard talking, stops the soldier, telling him he’s a harmless drunk. This isn’t the last time we’ll see this soldier and he’ll play a prominent part in the series next two installments. As Adams stands up, the man’s son Christopher asks Samuel what’s going on, but before Samuel can utter a word, his mother tells him to come in the house.

Troubles aren’t just plaguing the poor, John Hancock has one of his ships seized by the British. He goes to see Hutchinson to intercede on his behalf, but Hutchinson refuses to help and denies that the two of them have a deal, then calls Hancock a smuggler. Hancock denies the accusation, then Hutchinson says if he’s a businessman pay his taxes like everyone else. Hancock sits in his study despondent, when we can see by his facial expressions he’s got a plan.

Hancock tells Adams about his problem with Hutchinson, then asks for his help trying to smuggle the rest of his ships’ cargo to Boston. He tells Adams that he’ll give jobs to all the colonists who can’t find work and says with his money and Samuel’s influence they’ll become the perfect team. Adams always looking out for his fellow colonists, agrees to work with Hancock.

The plans for the operation are held in Paul Revere’s workshop. Hancock introduces himself to Revere and thanks him for providing them a place to plan and Revere says Hancock’s given him so much money, he can have the place. The men then sit down and plan out their trial excursion.

A ship sails at night, with rather dark-colored sails, they turn off all their lights as they start approaching the shore, to avoid detection. Their strategy fails as the red-coats fire a warning shot, over the ship’s bow, then ride out on a row-boat and board the ship. The captain presents the soldiers with a bill of laden for twelve barrels of molasses and that’s all the red-coats can find, they remove a floor board and look in the hull but it’s empty. The soldiers leave empty-handed, but when they leave we see the ship’s cargo suspended by nets attached to the bottom of the vessel. Adams and another man unload the nets into a rowboat, then put the cargo in a wagon and head to Hancock’s warehouse.

Warren’s walking when he runs into the boy Christopher and asks what he’s doing, Chris tells him he’s the lookout and pushes the doctor close to the wall, so they’re hidden. Adams and two other men, come around the corner with the carriage and a red-coat stops them, wanting to inspect it. Warren tells Christopher to lie in the street and pretend he’s very sick. When the boy goes into his routine the Doctor, shouts to the red-coat for help then sends him to a shop down the road to get cardiac-salts for the boy. Sam and associates take off.

They reach the warehouse and Hancock’s ecstatic. He asks Adams how much he and his men can handle and Samuel responds how much you got? We head back to Revere’s workshop as the group starts planning to do their smuggling on a grand-scale. We even get some musical cues, first the sound of a tambourine, then some light percussion, except for the outfits, the scene could have been plucked from Ocean’s Eleven.

The operations a huge success as they outwit the British at every turn, they even minted some special coins for their members to be able to get wine and other goods from Hancock’s ships. Then Hancock gets a bit too cocky. He throws a huge party at his home and instead of a montage of women getting ready for the evening, we watch as the men of the era get primped, powdered and made up. He welcome his guests as a giant birthday cake lays below him on the main floor with rockets throwing flames into the air. Hancock then asks his guests to drink a toast to King George as this is his birthday.

As Hancock interacts with his guests, Governor Hutchinson comes to him clutching Hancock’s hand and telling him how admirable his comeback is. Hancock purposely keeps talking with other guests and Hutchinson says they’ll have to meet to talk about Hancock’s amazing success.

As we take a tour of Boston at night, we see the special coin’s infiltrated many of the city’s establishments. Suddenly a bald-headed man approaches a man sitting alone at a table and asking him for a coin, saying they’re both Irish. The man gives him one but tells him to take good care of it. We confirm that he’s Hutchinson’s spy and the Governor tells an aide to give Mr. Whittier his payment for doing his job.

The British raid all the establishments connected with Hancock and Adams, confiscating all the property and arresting the barkeeps and shop-owners. John and Samuel meet, Hancock suggests he just pay off the right people and they’ll return to Easy Street. Adams says that he wants them to organize a boycott of Tory shops and businesses. Hancock tells Sam that’s crazy and just going to make things worse and he leaves begging Sam not to do a thing. Adams and two other men spend the night painting white letter T’s on shops and pubs through the night.

Hancock heads to the pub the next day to ask Adams what he thinks he’s doing, this is business, he doesn’t need to get politics involved. Samuel laughs and says no matter how many parties he throws, he’ll never be British, John responds that his money keeps Adam’s out of a prison. Adams says at least he’d know what side he’s on, Hancock why does it have to be about sides? Adams looks him in the eye and says because the sides exist, then walks out.

Hancock looks behind him and sees Tim Kelly smirking and John asks Kelly as Sam’s friend if he could try to make him see reason. Kelly barely spoke throughout the two hours, but he became eloquent in this moment. He told Hancock that he’d most likely be shocked to find out that Kelly was a former property owner, with a wife and a little girl. Then times got tough for all the colonists and many lost almost all they had, then Samuel’s father opened up the first bank for colonists. They all owed land, so Adams senior gave them loans using their land as collateral, things got better, people went back to work.

Then the Brits decided they didn’t fancy the idea of the colonists having such independence and shut it all down, Adams went bankrupt and it drove him to an early death. Samuel’s just like his father, Kelly told Hancock, then told him of all the money they made with Hancock, Adams never kept a penny.

New graphic informing us we’re in Down-town Boston on February 22, 1770, it’s nighttime and the snows blowing and we hear a crowd chanting Tory, Tory. We see the crowd in front of a Tory supporter’s store and Kelly says the man’s hard of hearing so he sends a man in, to take him outside and face the crowd. An older aristocrat, who’s been in other scenes, berates the crowd and tells them to leave him alone. He then sees Christopher in the crowd and asks his mother what kind of parent she is taking her boy to this.

Now Kelly shows his anger and starts to approach the older man asking him who he thinks he is talking to Christopher’s mother like that. The man sees a red-coat and asks him if he’s going to do something and the young man just stands there. The old man punches the soldier and grabs his rifle and aims it at the crowd, somebody screams you can’t shoot us all and start chasing him, he makes it into his house and bolts the door. He runs upstairs to his terrified wife and the bedroom windows get shattered by rocks thrown from the crowd.

The old man’s in way over his head and he realizes it, shouts out to the mob to leave them alone but he’s struck by flying debris. He pulls up the rifle, points it out the window aims it at the crowd and we watch the bullet exit the weapon in slow motion. It goes into the crowd, we hear a giant mournful sigh and we see little Christopher’s oozing blood from his chest as the life ebbs from his body. The old man and his wife are mortified, Samuel arrives and picks up Christopher then gives his now lifeless body to Doctor  Warren.

The next day’s the funeral and the procession goes past the aristocrat’s home as he’s heavily guarded by red-coats, as the procession moves on Hutchinson tries to join it and Adams tells him he’s unwanted. The Governor says he wants to extend his condolences and Samuel tells him they’re worthless. He’s got the boy’s father jailed and the aristocrat will escape jail. Hutchinson says that London’s the only place the man can receive a fair trial and Revere says that’s garbage. As he heads back to the State House he tells Samuel he’s got more of the boy’s blood staining his hands than stains Hutchinson’s.

March 5, 1770 King Street Boston, reads the graphic and we see colonists and red-coats in a standoff in the street. In the pub, the men are all consumed with grief, Adams sits in front of the fireplace, when his cousin John comes in to see him. John tells Samuel, the trouble must end and Sam says he was only a boy John. The future President looks his cousin in the eye and says this is where it has to end. Samuel stands up and says this is only the beginning, he and two men leave the pub and angrily walks towards the mob. We see John Adams watching from a distance.

As we join the mob we see the leader of the red-coat brigade telling his men to hold their fire, then he orders the crowd to return to their homes. A Black man pushes a red-coat, who responds by shooting the man dead. That man was Crispus Attucks, the first American killed by British gunfire and welcome to the Boston Massacre. Five colonists were killed that day by the red-coats in their panic. Adams runs at the red-coats, all scatter but one and he beats that soldier to the ground. We see Joseph Warren weeping openly, as the camera pans back and we see the five dead bodies and their blood coloring the snow.

The Series Resumes Monday Night at 9:00 pm on The History Channel.