‘Outlaw Empires’ Recap ‘American Bikers’ on Discovery Channel

Outlaw Empires is a documentary series about the outlaw dynasties who inhabit our land. Created by Kurt Sutter, who brought fans the acclaimed show, Sons of Anarchy, Sutter explores the organized outlaw gangs indigenous to different parts of the United States and presents them to the viewers with his clever spin.

This episode shows that outlaws have been around for the longest time, but now fans get to see outlaws from a storyteller’s prospective, without judgment, from the voices of the outlaws.

The common denominator of this clan is the motorcycle. The persons portrayed in this episode are those no longer affiliated with the outlaw empires of motorcycle clubs.

Rick the tattooed biker was introduced into the world because of his love of motorcycles. The names of the clubs are territorial; Hell’s Angels hails from California along with the Mongols, the Banditos come from Texas, Outlaws from the Midwest, and the Pagans from the New York/New Jersey area are the more well-known of the outlaw clubs. In the 1950s Life Magazine featured photos of a drunken brawl of bikers and the country was introduced to the enigma of the outlaw motorcycle gang.

The most important thing is loyalty, when a “probie” is on probation with a club and must be on call 24/7 and no is not the answer…no matter what the question or order. One undercover cop who infiltrated one of the gangs was accused of being a cop and knew that if discovered, it would be his death, but when called to the meeting, he received his patch. He was then initiated by running through the woods naked while the rest of the club shot over his head, then as he ran into a pond, they shot at the water, but he survived and the club welcomed him with open arms.

Not too long after, two guys knocked his brother’s two front teeth out and he followed them and beat them with a baseball bat until they just were a bloody mess. Another recalled being set up by a bar owner and each member voted to wreck the bar and trashed it well. They received jail sentences for their actions.

The allure of the money that drugs could generate swept through the biker clubs in the 80s and 90s. The structure of leadership in the clubs sparked territorial conflicts. The clubs grew from clubs, to gangs, to armies, to empires. Eventually, other clubs grew from local, to national, to international with branches fighting for territory from other outlaw empires. Each wanted control and hatred was apparent among the groups.

When drugs and alcohol take over a person, brotherhood goes out the window. Many of these outlaws had addictions and as they started to overrule their club affiliations, they fell by the wayside.

As Bill, the undercover cop got deeper and deeper into the trust of the outlaws, he could not take much more of the responsibility of being a leader. He lived in fear each day but managed to keep an air of machismo. Finally the undercover operation ceased to be and the ATF agents took over, but he feared for his life even though many of his colleagues in the gang had been imprisoned.

He crossed paths in Florida with some bikers who saw his tattoos and in an instant he was lying on the floor by a punch that knocked him to the floor with his head split open. Then dragged him outside and drove off on their motorcycles.

Rick, another former member saw his son die under the influence of drugs and he had enough. Cocaine took over where brotherhood left off. His brothers voted and let him leave his past behind. He threw his patch and shirts and jacket in the fire and although he left his entire outlaw life behind, he was able to make up with his family who took him back. He gave up drugs and decided to go the straight and narrow and has been clean over seven years.

The bikers started out loving their bikes, their brotherhood, and the open road. They did not plan to become outlaws, but were caught up in the gang mentality that escalated from being rowdy to growing into an empire of corruption, weapons, prostitution, drugs and more groups vying for their piece of the action and the bragging rights of Outlaw Empires.

Photo of Mongols Jacket: Wikimedia

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Baby Boomer and lover of life. Family comes first. Retired and happy to write about things that make me happy.

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