A history and true-crime podcast dedicated to the American West’s strange crimes and historically resonant intrigues.
Episode 1: The Taking of United Flight 855
In episode one, we meet Richard Floyd McCoy Jr., a Mormon Sunday school teacher and Vietnam veteran who friends said had become obsessed with skyjacking and D.B. Cooper in the months after Cooper's famous crime, committed during Thanksgiving weekend, 1971. By April 1972, McCoy's fascination led him to his own skyjacking--a caper that bore striking resemblances to what Cooper had pulled off, but had a very different outcome.
Episode 2: Death is My Postage
In episode two, Richard McCoy caps his audacious skyjacking plan by parachuting from the rear stairs of United Flight 855--but the jump does not go as planned. We also trace McCoy's journey back to his two tours of duty in Vietnam and examine the myriad ways flight revolutionized the lives of everyday Americans.
Episode 3: A Half Million Dollars in Cash
On episode three, after dodging searchlights and slipping through roadblocks, Richard McCoy makes it home, where he and Karen face a brand new problem: where to hide the cash from the skyjacking of United Flight 855? Elsewhere, Richard's plan begins to unravel. His friends are asking questions. The FBI is snooping around. Will the story of McCoy's crime ultimately end with him spending the rest of his life in federal prison? Not if he can help it.
Episode 4: The Cooper Vortex
More than fifty years after his legendary crime, people still gather--online and in person--to puzzle over the identity of the mysterious skyjacker who came to be known as D.B. Cooper. In episode four, Death in the West goes on location to Portland, Ore., for CooperCon, the annual summit of the subculture's most prominent voices, characters and scholars, to rub elbows with the people of the so-called "D.B. Cooper Vortex." What is it about this unsolved caper that still resonates? And how does it fit into the larger outlaw mythology of the west?
Episode 5: Nothing Ever Happens in Happy Valley
On episode 5, we trace what we can of Richard McCoy’s early life, from his rebellious childhood in North Carolina to his time as a restless but involved student at Brigham Young University. Death in the West co-producer Erika Fredrickson travels to present-day Provo, Utah to explore the town where McCoy planned and executed his skyjacking. Meanwhile, back in the 1970s, Richard makes a daring escape from federal prison.
Episode 6: The Unusual Suspects
In episode six, we follow Richard McCoy and partner in crime Melvin Dale Walker from their daring prison escape in Pennsylvania to their surprisingly posh outlaw hideout along Tobacco Road. As the FBI close in, McCoy and Walker indulge themselves in the finer things while planning their next move. Escape to Europe? Or another skyjacking, perhaps?
Plus, we take a wild ride into the DB Cooper vortex, exploring some of the more out-there conspiracy theories around the legend. Was DB Cooper a CIA agent? Buckle-up for a bumpy ride.
compelling and cozy
season 2 is compelling storytelling and the show’s missoula roots are charming. as a lifelong westerner (nv/id) who consumes much east coast centric media, i appreciate the show’s attention on the west and giving it the love it deserves! ended up here by way of the pursuit of dadliness podcast, on recommendation from the swolewoman.
I found Death in the West through the Labor History Podcast. I was totally drawn into the Frank Little story. As an amateur labor historian I am extremely impressed with the podcast’s take on and deep dive into this mystery/history. Very well researched and a wonderfully absorbing presentation. Cheers to you. I’m enjoying the second season immensely.
This is a great podcast. Smart, entertaining, well researched and nice delivery. Love it! Great job guys, keep up the good work!