Del Clement A Hero

A recent post suggested that Del Clement was a hero for his role in shooting Ken McElroy. That debate is a fascinating and endless one, and I won’t go into it now, except to repeat a common remark that I heard from residents of Skidmore. It went something like this: “The guys should be given a medal for doing what they did, and they should be strung up for the way they did it.” Meaning, that shooting him on the mainstreet of town in front of 45 witnesses was a dumb thing to do. ┬áBut the truth was, it was an impulsive act, done out of years of frustration and a well-founded belief that nothing was going to stop this man from further bloodshed. I think Del just lost it and went for his gun, and didn’t think it through. Luckily for me, of course. If they had nailed McElroy on the backroads of Nodawaya County there would never have been a book entitled “In Broad Daylight,” and I might still be practicing law!

4 thoughts on “Del Clement A Hero

    • Thanks for the note. Someone earlier made an interesting point: McElroy beat his women, but was kind to all of his kids. I’ve found this to be true.

  1. Do you think Brian Dennehy captured the real ken? reading your book and seeing the movie, in my mind I almost can’t seperate Dennehy’s portrayal from the real Ken. How “real” did the movie seem to be to the townspeople?

    • Denehey did a fantastic job as McElroy. The movie was supposed to be two nights, two hours a night, but was cut to two hours, which meant that the twenty-year reign of terror couldn’t be presented in scenes, but only referred to in the past, such as the men sitting around as Romaine Henry showed them the scar and told the story. Denehey did such a remarkable job portraying McElroy’s viciousness that it saved the movie. He was also a great guy on the set. We went drinking several times in Austin, and he was polite to all that came up to talk to him. The people in the town were not overjoyed with the movie because they didn’t think it really showed what a bad guy McElroy was.

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