Film airing on PBS recalls city’s dark deportation history

BISBEE, Ariz. (AP) — The darkest, most violent chapter in the history of Bisbee was an open secret for decades in the funky old Arizona copper town 7 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

But few residents knew the details of how about 1,200 miners, most of them immigrants, were pulled violently from their homes a century ago by a private police force and put on cattle cars for their deportation to a desolate area of New Mexico.

The filming of “Bisbee ’17,” a documentary about what happened July 12, 1917, was a history lesson for residents recruited to play historical figures in the production that weds documentary and collective performance. It is, at turns, a Western, a musical and a ghost story.

“Bisbee ’17” will be nationally broadcast for the first time Monday night on the PBS documentary series POV. In Arizona, it will be shown at 9 p.m.

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