tv Strange Inheritance FOX News May 23, 2015 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT
the surface of his charismatic charm, he's a desperate young man who survives long enough to become a legend of the real west. website. >> victors in battle of little bighorn, welcome an outside >> the victors in the battle of little big horn welcome an outsider into their ranks. >> once they trusted him, they would share things with him. >> he gets the inside scoop on kuser's last stand. er's last sta. >> she is convinced it worth millions, but will anyone buy it. >> was he an artist or just someone who documented a side of history?
jamie: i am jamie colby, i am outside of great falls, montana. it is steeped in native american history, that is the connection between montana and its native american culture that brought me here to learn about a "strange inheritance," right here, hollywood, and back again. >> i am sandy solomon in 2 now 6, my -- 2006 my friend passed away and left mes entire estate. the inheritance is an obligation. jamie: a huge collection of paintings, drawings, photographs. that she inherited from david
humphreys miller. >> these are my dearest friends. >> his people and the subject of his art work are survivors of most indian battle of all-time, the battle of little bighorn. june 1876. i have come to montana to learn more about miller and the "strange inheritance" he lift, brad hamlet is a gallery owner, and fifth generation montana n . >> the life work of david humphreys miller was to find, and paint the survivors of the battle of the little bighorn.
jamie: miller is born in 1918, and raised in ohio, his parents are artists they teach him to paint, at 16, he is obsessed with history in particular the battle of little bighorn, he requests his parents to allow limb to travel alone to western plains, and 7 out the native american survivors of the battle. >> david went on a unique journey, wh do you think he did? >> he believed that some of these people were still alive. >> his parents trusted him, david had to promise, when it was time to come home and go to also he would. jamie: in 1935, with his paren parent's coup, and $100, he heads out. >> this is the first photo, you can see how young he was. jamie: he has a sketch pad, and
pencils and he is drawing. why do you think they trusted him? >> he was aloofing individual. -- a loving individual, he slipped into their life style. >> miller came at the right time, he was young, they knew he was not working for the government. and because of that, he earned their trust. and once they trusted him, they would share things with him. >> this is white cow bull, he is a famous indian, they were friends. jamie: they were talking about a battle 6 decades before, and recounts the indian the the mand long hair, then white bull said
his shot may have changed battle. >> the officer fell into little bighorn, they retrieved him, and then turned and went up the hill, and that seemed to change the whole tide of the battle from attack to retreat. jamie: did this young artist solve a 60-year-old mystery? who killed custer? >> david travels back and forth between south dakota and ohio, and learns 13 tribal languages, and is adopted by a sioux warrior, he draws dozens of sketches, and portraits of indians from numerous tribes, many confirm white bull's story. >> this is the indian side of the steer, what they said happened that day, you better pay attention to 2, because they were there.
jamie: for young miller, his journey of discovery was a right of passage, what indians might call a vision quest. setting him on a unique career path, after serving in world war ii, he heads to hollywood, studios are turning out westerns, establishes himself as a leading consultant to directors looking to cast native americans in their film. david works on dozens of westerns, including tomahawk, and how the west was won. and the tv series daniel boone. his wife gets him to write a book about his experience. in 1470s -- 1970s, david and jan move to rancho santa fe, that is where they meet sandy
solomon and become good friends, what was it like walking into his home. >> i have seen people walk in the front door, and tears down their face, they were captured by that wall. jamie: they feature 72 of david's many paintings and drawings of indian warrior from the battle of little bighorn, in 1990, david is diagnosed with lung cancer and dies two years later, his ashes are scattered in black hills of south dakota, sandy helps her friend jan sort through his esstaitz es-- estat. in 2003. jan, who has no children of her own, tells sand that's when the time comes she wants to leave the estate to her.
but it came with one condition, she must protect david a legacy. >> there was no wobbles to do it. and -- no one else to do it i fell there was a mission, an obligation. jamie: 3 years later that time comes and sandy is in for a big surprise. >> i was not allowed in. by then jan was gone. >> that is next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question, which of these western films grossed highest at the box office? "true grit," dances with wolves or "rango"?
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-- miller, 3 years past in januy 2006,. >> she died in her sleep the night before, i was told that sheriff had been there and they locked door. jamie: county of san diego said that jan died without a valid will, it takes a year but a court rules that sandy is jan's legal heir. she spends months sorting through david a art work, photographs and artifacts and clearing it out of the house. she sells for $1.9 million in the nick of time. >> firefighters have been working. >> jamie: after the sale, a wildfire swipes through the area, and burns the house to the ground, if she did not move quickly the collect could have been lost to the flames. >> these were in an album that
david had, in his desk he looked at all of the time, nobody knew that album was there. and -- >> how did you know? >> jan showed it to me. jamie: how much did you think your inheritance was worth? >> i had no idea, things were not valued, and artifacts cannot be sold they have to be donated. they have eagl have -- eagle fen them. >> she is flabbergasted when a probate court appraise are said otherwise. jamie: what did they tell you. >> it was worth $20,000, the entire collection. jamie: on what basis? >> they done believe there was any value, they were interested in silver, and pots and pans. jamie: no val out the art work? sandy makes it her quest to prove the aparadal is wrong.
>> i september kaying, but you have to see this -- you have to see this. >> this 2007 she is put in touch with a montana rancher, state senator, and gallery owner who agrees with her, brad hamlet. how did you find out about this collection? >> i got a call from a friend, who mentioned david humphreys miller, i read that book, i thought it did a lot to resolve that happened at the battle. i was more intrigued when i found out there was sketches from life he did. he caught their soul, a moment in time that nobody else was bothering to do. that was one reasons that it is valuable. jamie: they start working with a new appraiser, barbara stone, a former museum curator who started her own art consulting firm in denver, declares the
collect worth a heck of a lot more than $20,000. >> 3 million 500,000. jamie: and the story of one girl trying to get our attention in that rare film footage next on "strange inheritance." >> a quiz question for you, which movie star never acted in which movie star never acted in a hollywood western? right now, verizon is offering unlimited talk and text. plus 10 gigs of shareable data. yeah, 10 gigantic gigs. for $80 a month. and $15 per line. more data than ever. for more of what you want. on the network that's #1 in speed, call, data, and reliability. so you never have to settle. $80 a month. for 10 gigs.
>> what make one artist's work worth millions and another next to nothing? this includes indians from the battle of little bighorn. a california court valued atlanta $2 $1,000, the heir -- 20,000, th heir launches on a qt to prove them wrong. >> you made your own investment. not just your time but in the frames, how much was that. >> cost is about 50,000. but i felt we had to do it to show value of it. jamie: you are now financially invested in it as well as
emotionally. >> there will never be another collection like this in the market. jamie: the collection provides a direct link to their past. here is a shot of a girl pranceing in the background of this footage, shot in late 1920s. here is that little girl now. thank you for coming by. i want to show you something. 90-year-old gurdy heavy runner, she recognizes the elders from own childhood. >> this person jun june inner od person, she took care of all of the children, any time you
didn't keep the curfew you had to see judge old person. >> without dave we would not have the native american side of the story. jamie: should that come in to play, in the appraisal. >> yes says art appraiser barbara stone. jamie: was he an artist or someone that documented a side of history. >> he is an artist, when you can produce something like this, with your hands, that is an artist. >> who is interested in a collection like this. >> this should go to a university, a museum, that can share it with american public. jamie: why? >> because of the historic background. because he has captured the essence of the individual. >> that sounds like they are nice pictures of people who were interesting, how do you go about your appraisal. >> when you look at a painting, you local uniqueness.
this is one of a kind. not a reproduction. jamie: i see a sign with year 1939? >> right. jamie: this must be the name of subject, his signature. >> it is, it is rare. jamie: as man who apraised native american art were you excited about this collection? >>y was, but what you do the appraisal you must be objective. does not matter if i love this piece, how much is it worth? jamie: the court appraiser in california dismissed miller's art as nearly worth less, when it valued total collection at $20,000. jamie: your value would be? >> 3 million, 500,000. jamie: when someone hears there was another appraisal for less, will they question which is right? >> they might, you have to have not just a straight appraiser,
you have to have someone that knows the material, that is one of my fields, native american. >> 3.5 million dollars, that would suggestion each painting might be worth tens of thousands of will do afters, that is great news for sandy if that true. jamie: which do you think is correct? >> $20 or something in middle. >> i think it priceless. so, you know. give me an offer. >> will she get one? that is next. on "strange inheritance." ♪ if you're looking for a car that drives you... ...and takes the wheel right from your very hands... ...this isn't that car. the first and only car with direct adaptive steering.
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dollars -- a few thousand dollars, in 2007, it is 3.5 million. 7 years later, there have been no taker, tbas barbara stone sty her estimate. jamie: why has knon 't the colln sold. >> they are all to stay together. jamie: she is getting some money selling peace meal, they would have wanted it to go in one place. >> montana gallery owner, does try to market the collection to museums and universities to no avail. >> museums have no money, we need to find an individual that will purchase the collection, and then they can gift it, and
there will be for everyone to look at. >> do you think that beneficiary of this collection will get their price? >> i think they will. they have to hold fast. >> maybe for a while longer. so be it said sandy, who insists that real bottom line of her "strange inheritance" has less to do with her money, than an obligation to ho honor miller's legacy. a promise she vowed to fulfill. what do you think she is saying. >> to keep on keeping on. >> there are many questions about the battle of littleghorne answered, ezen slightest details were hotly debated from the start. david miller's native american sources, they all agree that battle started at noon whether
the sun directly over head. but officials military accounts, said it started about 3:00 p.m., a 3 hour discrepe sansy, miller didry each, the problem back in 1876 was, there were still no uniform time zones across u.s. cities and states, they had different time standards, so even though, the 7th cavalry was 1500 miles west of chicago, it was fighting the battle of little bighorn on chicago time. one detail that is agreed on, is that battle was quick. and it was bloody. taking such little time, that one native american witness said, it lasted only as long as it takes a hungry plan t hung ma meal, i am jamie colby for "strange inheritance," thank you for joining us uremember, you
can't take it with you. do you have a "strange inheritance" story you would like to share with us? we would love to hear it. send me an e-mail or go to our . >> from dusty boxes in the attic. emerge military artifacts handed down across 5 generations. >> writing is unbelievable. >> an heirloom that may be a long lot o lost piece of histor. >> i had never seen one before. >> value is rising with everybody fold. >> a war, a map, a mystery. >> i had a momenttary roller coaster there. >> will it lead to a family's hidden treasure?