once upon a time in san francisco
THE BLACK HATCHET
FILM AND GRAPHIC NOVEL
CREATOR - WRITER - PRODUCER MICHAEL X
ART BY ALLAN JEFFERSON, MICHAEL x, RAHSAN EKEDAL
MALCOLM HUTCHINS AKA THE BLACK HATCHET
Malcolm Hutchins/Black Hatchet – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Malcolm Hutchins is the 19 year-old son of Robert and Angela Hutchins from Scotland who moved to Mt. Shasta and started a cattle ranch in the 1870's. At night as the vengeful, guilt driven and tormented Black Hatchet he hunts the back alleys of the Barbary Coast and Chinatown for his 14 year-old shanghaied sister, Rose, and the Hatchet Men who took her, defending himself with dual, Okwanuchu (Native American), black obsidian hatchets. Malcolm carries her ribbon that fell when she was captured and pictures of his family as reminders of his mission. On the frontier they lived by the natural order, survival of the fittest and eye-for-eye justice so he must find her and deliver justice. He acquired superior hatchet warfare skills from the Okwanuchu, including their leader and his blood brother White Crow, whom he grew up with on his ranch. Because of his upbringing near the Siskiyou Trail, Hutchins encounters many drifters seeking work and meets the exiled and outlaw Werewolf Shaolin Monk Grand Master “Su Kong” Tai Djin who teaches him the ancient White Crane fighting style. the Black Hatchet is based on a nameless vigilante who carved up the Hatchet Men and an amalgamation of Police Officer Robert Ingham and sailor John Lang (or Father Charles Ramm depending on which version of the story you believe). When the flames threatened to cross Van Ness Avenue and the tower of St. Mary’s Cathedral was blazing, he climbed up to the top of the tower, using a gunny sack and hatchet to dose and cutaway the blazing woodwork, saving the building and preventing the blaze from crossing the fire line. A thousand binoculars were held upon the brave man as he stood high up above the street cutting away the blazing woodwork.
JAMES "SHANGHAI" KELLY
James “Shanghai” Kelly – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
James “Shanghai” Kelly, a real outlaw, ruled the Barbary Coast until his disappearance in the 1880's when he was beaten and left for dead by Tong Hatchet Men on a freighter to South Africa. He survived and returns to San Francisco to lead his gang of Mad-hatters in robbing and walloping drunk victims, beating to death Hatchet Men with Billy clubs and kidnapping girls for the sex peddlers.
NUN MARIA PARDINI SWAMP ANGEL LEADER
Nun Maria Pardini Swamp Angel Leader – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Nun Maria Pardini Swamp Angel Leader with cross tattoos on her face and head and Jesus on the cross on her back, leads a gang of women in Catholic clergy robes with hoods wielding bull whips dedicated to liberating girls from the Hatch Men and gangs that prey on vulnerable runaway or orphaned girls. Inspired by a nun who did all the above except no bull whips or tattoos. Donaldina Cameron took on the task of helping these girls escape and ran a Presbyterian mission in Chinatown to care for the rescued girls. She also led raids on brothels herself and was called Fahn Quai, or White Devil, by her adversaries. She lived to be 98 in spite of death threats from the tongs.
harbor hospital NURSE LORNA VAN DEUSEN
Nurse Lorna Van Deusen – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Nurse Lorna Van Deusen is a well-educated trust-funder on the lamb from an arranged marriage in New York to fulfill her dream in San Francisco of becoming doctor. She works at the hospital next to Yerba Buena Hotel where the Black Hatchet stays and over three weeks takes care of his wounds and eventually falls for him. She goes to the Sweetwater Saloon to find him and when he leaves suddenly, she follows him into the nasty Barbary Coast Streets, eventually being cornered by Hatchet Men. The Black Hatchet intervenes and she realizes it's Malcolm. She then attempts to save one of them by performing a tracheostomy. Then when the doctor has a heart attack and dies, she takes over Harbor Hospital in the midst of the earthquake and inferno disaster. She never gives up hope that Malcolm survives, even though there are stories of his demise rescuing trapped victims.
ROSE HUTCHINS - BLACK HATCHET'S kidnapped SISTER
Rose Hutchins – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Rose Hutchins is Malcolm's shanghaied 14 year-old sister. When Angela died, Robert married Okwanuchu Little Bird and she had Rose. Rose learned how to shoot, use a bow and arrow by 8 to hunt and defend herself, Malcolm being her mentor. She also learned White Crane from Werewolf Shaolin Monk Grand Master “Su Kong” Tai Djin and causes her captors, Lord Jinrong's twin son's Bobby and Charlie trouble. She never gave up hope that Malcolm would rescue her and payback the the Hatchet Men who took her. On the frontier they lived by the natural order, survival of the fittest and eye-for-eye justice so she knows Malcolm will find her and deliver justice.
100 YEAR-OLD GATOR (MUD DRAGON) TONG LORD JINRONG
Mud Dragon “Gator” Tong Lord Jinrong – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Lord Jinrong is the ancient leader of the Mud Dragon (Gator) Tong in San Francisco who was sent by the Shanghai Green Dragon to oversee the gambling, bribes, extortion, opium and prostitution in Chinatown and Barbary Coast. Under his restaurant Green Dragon is a large opium den with dozens of stalls. His twin mixed race son's Bobby and Charlie are his minions overseeing the opium den and Hatchet Men used to Shanghai young white girls for the sex trade. Jinrong has a trap door in his office he uses to "dispose" of enemies or malcontent Hatchet Men that, when opened, drops them into an alligator pool. He has a feud with the Pale Devil, The Green Dragon's albino enforcer from Shanghai that has been sent to eliminate the Black Hatchet.
bobby and charlie - lord jinrong's twin sons
Bobby and Charlie Jinrong's Twin Sons – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Jinrong raped a young white girl and she had twins. Jinrong sent to her to Shanghai to work as a prostitute. He uses his sons to run errands, oversee the Hatchet Men to kidnap run away white girls and run the opium den under the Green Dragon restaurant. The Pale Devil enforcer, along with Bobby and Charlie ambushed Malcolm and Rose Hutchins. Rose deeply scratched Bobby's face as she was fighting her abductors. Charlie is an opium fiend and constantly attempts to have his way with captured girls. Bobby is the law and order keeper. They keep the outlaw Werewolf Shaolin Monk Grand Master “Su Kong” Tai Djin prisoner on their rotting clipper ship hideout in the secret underground lagoon where they stash their gold and money. From there, they use a series of gold rush era tunnels that criss cross under the city to extricate their captors to waiting ships.
OKWANUCHU LEADER WHITE CROW
Okwanuchu Leader White Crow – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Okwanuchu Leader White Crow is the young chief of the last remaining, small tribe of Okwanuchu Indigenousness people living at the base of Mt. Shasta. When Robert and his family settled, they lived in harmony with the Okwanuchu. Malcolm and White Crow were born about the same time and grew up together on the mountain and plains and became blood brothers. They both mastered wilderness living performing the Elk hunt rite of passage together and training on obsidian forged weapons. The exiled and outlaw Werewolf Shaolin Monk Grand Master “Su Kong” Tai Djin, he taught them White Crane Kung Fu and how to use the hatchets as extensions of the wing tips and beaks. When Malcom returns to the ranch to recover from his near death at the blade of the Pale Devil, White Crow helps him plan his quest to find Rose and deliver justice to the Hatchet Men. While they confer under the giant oak tree next to Angela's grave stone, smoke rises from the ranch. They race to the ranch to find the house in flames and Robert and Little Bird, White Crow's aunt and Rose's mother, inside screaming for help as they are incinerated.
WEREWOLF SHAOLIN MONK GRAND MASTER "SU KONG" TAI DIJIN
Werewolf Monk Grand Master Tai Djin – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Real outlaw and exiled Werewolf Shaolin Monk Grand Master “Su Kong” Tai Djin's superstitious provincial family mistook him for a hairy covered demon at birth and they left him to die in a nearby forest. Fukien Shaolin monks heard his cries, realized he was human, adopted the baby covered in hair and Djin was raised in the temple. On the rare times he was outside the temple, because of his animal like hair covering his face, local farmer and villager sightings stirred rumors that a beast or werewolf (Langren) resided in the Temple. Because of Djin's superior abilities and skills, each of the Fukien Masters contributed to Djin's martial arts education. He was treated as everyone's favorite son and Djin quickly mastered hundreds of forms -- more than 200 "empty hand" fighting techniques and was proficient with more than 100 weapons. Djin completed every branch of Shaolin training and earned his appointment as the Grand Master "Su Kong" in charge of the warrior monks' mental and physical mastery of martial arts. Djin met the Black Hatchet because the Green Dragon put a bounty on Djin’s head for leading a revolt against the Green Dragon's enslavement of women. One of Djin's students who joined the Green Dragon was sent to find Djin who fled to California. While taking refuge in a secret devotee’s sanctuary in San Francisco, Djin learned his location was revealed, hence he began trekking the Siskiyou Trail to Portland to book passage back to Shanghai where he took refuge on Hutchins cattle ranch becoming the Black Hatchets mentor. As a gift for his mastering of White Crane, Djin gave the Black Hatchet a black bandana with the White Crane symbol on it that the Black Hatchet wears to hide his face and the ugly scar from the Pale Devil's hatchet.
NURSE BRENDA SMITH
Nurse Brenda Smith – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Nurse Brenda Smith is Lorna’s cynical friend, mentor and confidant. Brenda is suspicious of Malcolm and believes he might be the man-with-no-name vigilante in the papers chopping up the Hatchet Men. Brenda tries to get Lorna to admit she likes him and suggest she goes to the Sweetwater Saloon run by her friend Jill McBain who told her a man with a large scar on his face comes in nightly to drink whiskey. When Lorna takes over the hospital after the earthquake and during the fire, she assists her in managing the patients and later they reunite at St. Mary's cathedral.
pale devil - green DRAGON'S ASSASSIN AND ENFORCER
The Pale Devil Assassin and Enforcer – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
The albino Pale Devil assassin and enforcer is the right hand for the Green Dragon who controls the San Francisco Tongs. The Pale Devil nearly killed the Black Hatchet when he sliced his face with his hatchet as Bobby and Charlie Shanghaied Rose. He has returned to San Francisco to eliminate the Black Hatchet and return back to Shanghai with the first shipment of girls in three weeks with the outlaw Werewolf Shaolin Monk. The Pale Devil and Black Hatchet meet in an epic martial arts battle in an underground tunnel hideout with Bobby and Charlie where the girls, including Rose and Djin are trapped due to the earthquake.
JILL MCBAIN - CLAUDIA CARDINALE - SWEETWATER SALOON
Jill McBain Sweetwater Saloon – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Jill McBain played by Claudia Cardinale (here in her 40's) in "Once Upon A West" is shown here in the bar she opens in San Francisco's Barbary Coast with the riches she amassed building the town of "Sweetwater" along the railroad line pushing through Arizona. She is feisty and befriends the Black Hatchet. When Lorna comes to the saloon she encourages her to interact with the Black Hatchet then follow him when he abruptly bolts at midnight.
JILL MCBAIN - PAINTINGS IN SWEETWATER SALOON
Jill McBain Paintings in Sweetwater Saloon – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Jill McBain played by Claudia Cardinale (here in her 20's) in "Once Upon A West" commissioned these painting that she hangs above the bar in her Sweetwater Saloon.
CHINATOWN AND BARBARY COAST TONG HATCHET MEN
Chinatown/Barbary Coast Chinese Tongs – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Chinese Tongs and Secret Societies used the Hatchet Men to enforce their rule, Shanghai young girls into sex slavery, supply the opium to the dens, collect pay offs, exploit gamblers and pimp prostitutes.
BOHEMIAN BAILEY MILLARD
Bohemian Bailey Millard – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Real Bohemian Bailey Millard rises every morning at sunrise to a panoramic view of San Francisco from his Russian Hill Spanish Villa terrace. His circle of friends included Jack London and Lionel Barrymore. It is his terrace the Black Hatchet finds solitude after a night of bloody hatchet brawls. Millard at first tries to shoot him, then befriends him and becomes an ally. It is here, after a blood splashing and limb severing hatchet fight with Jinrong and his Hatchet Men, and the earthquake, the black Hatchet finds refuge. Millard takes care of him so the Black Hatchet can continue his quest to find Rose and punish the Hatchet Men. From his perch we witness, along with Millard, the earthquake devastation, inferno disaster and near annihilation of San Francisco.
ROBERT AND ANGELA HUTCHINS - ROBERT AND LITTLE BIRD HUTCHINS
Robert Hutchins Family Pictures – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
In 1878, Robert and Angela Hutchins move from the Scottish Highlands with their long horns to start a cattle ranch at the base of Mt. Shasta. They live in harmony with the Okwanuchu as the ranch grows. Angela, a teacher who speaks several languages, gives birth to Malcom in 1886. She dies five years later. Then Robert meets Okwanuchu Little Bird, who is widowed, White Crows aunt, and they are married. That same year, she gives birth to Rose. When Robert, Malcolm and Rose go to San Francisco for a cattle auction, Rose is Shanghaied and Malcom is left for dead, but returns with Robert to the ranch. Malcolm and White Crow meet to plan his search and rescue mission under the giant oak where Angela's tombstone is enveloped in the roots. As they talk, smoke rises from the ranch not far away. Malcolm and White Crow gallop to the ranch to find the house engulfed in flames and the screams of help from Robert and Little Bird. Malcolm tries to save them, but he is too late. Later, when he encounters the Pale Devil, he tells Malcom he hired Black Bart to burn down the house and kill his family. It is these pictures and Rose's red ribbon Malcolm carries with him on his journey.
fire captain john dougherty - fireman john wickerson
Captain Dougherty - Fireman Wickerson – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Fire Captain John Dougherty is the tough as nails leader who takes over for Chief Sullivan. His implementation of Sullivan’s plans and tactics, plus on the fly improvisation and the respect and rapport with the firemen, eventually pay off as he rallies them at the fire line and they extinguish the blaze with help from the wind. Fireman John Wickerson works for Dougherty and when Dougherty enlists the Black Hatchet as a volunteer, Wickerson partners with him to catch children form a third story window that the Black Hatchet has free climbed the side of the building to rescue them. When the Black Hatchet returns to the fiery and collapsing hotel, an aftershock caves it in and the Dougherty, Wickerson and the firemen believe the Black Hatchet is dead. Wickerson shares the story with Lorna, who is in shock, but has to deal with the onslaught of victims. Later, when the Black Hatchet performs his heroic act to stave off the fire from spreading and he falls from the tower, Wickerson and Lorna and firemen are there with the tarp to save him.
COWBOY BUCK LARSON - MALCOM'S SHASTA FRIEND
Cowboy Buck Larson – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
Cowboy Buck Larson works for the Hutchins cattle ranch and is Malcom's friend who comes to San Francisco to tell him they found the culprits who burned down his house and murdered his parents - highwayman Black Bart and his gang. Malcolm and Buck agree to meet under the oak tree in a few days after Malcom rescues Rose to plan their revenge. Buck survives the earthquake but he and his horse Roscoe are buried in an avalanche of bricks during an aftershock.
HOSTESS AT THE GREEN DRAGON RESTAURANT
Hostess at the Green Dragon Restaurant – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
This hostess encounters the Black Hatchet when he arrives looking for the Pale Devil. She is skeptical he can afford the "special" alligator dish - code for entrance into the opium den. He pays her off and she leads him to a dead end hallway to a giant painting of the Tornado Li Kui, that slides open into the secret stairway down into the opium den.
PAINTING OF THE TORNADO LI KUI
Li kui Painting Green Dragon Restaurant – Once Upon A Time In San Francisco – © Michael X 2023
The giant painting of the Tornado Li Kui, that slides open into the secret stairway down into the opium den and 600 year old guardian of the establishment. He was the strongest of the 108 outlaw warriors. A giant who used his two axes to hack his way through the enemy leading the outlaws into battle. Naked. The Hatchet Men think it is the ghost of Li Kui that is haunting the alleys and dismembering them to take their souls to hell as punishment for their evil transgressions.