For over a decade filmmaker John J. Valadez searched for the remains of Joaquin Murrieta, a legendary Mexican outlaw who blazed a trail of revenge across California until he was caught and decapitated in the summer of 1853. A hundred and sixty-two years later Valadez believes he has the head. So he embarks on a quixotic, cross-country road trip through history, myth and memory to bury the fabled head of Joaquin Murrieta. Along the way he discovers chilling parallels with his own family story and eventually realizes that the head he will bury is only symbolic. And yet its power as a metaphor remains. Using new ground breaking scholarship and working with a team of leading historians from across the country, The Head of Joaquin Murrieta provides a dissenting view of American history from a decidedly Chicano perspective. Deeply personal, irreverent and entertaining, the film tears open a painful and long ignored historical trauma that has never been explored on American television: the lynching of Mexican Americans in the west.
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