Ruby Ridge


  • Daily Doc Score = 91/100
  • IMDB Score = 7.5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score = n/a

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Ruby Ridge Review

“Ruby Ridge” is an American Experience (PBS) take on the famous militia/government standoff.

It was Season 28, episode 7 and aired February 14, 2017 (52 min).

In the early hours of August 21, 1992, just before dawn, six heavily armed U.S. marshals ascend the secluded mountaintop residence of Randy and Vicki Weaver (along with their children) situated on Ruby Ridge in Northern Idaho.

Randy Weaver is accused of selling two illegal sawed-off shotguns to an undercover agent and fails to appear in court. That prompts law enforcement to undertake the task of apprehending him.

The Weavers had been living on their property for months, armed with a stockpile of firearms, including automatic weapons. Federal agents survey the premises and encounter members of the family and a violent exchange of gunfire erupted.

This prolonged standoff captivates the nation, resulting in Randy Weaver’s injury and the tragic deaths of his wife and son. It fuels concerns that the federal government had overstepped its boundaries.

The doc draws from firsthand testimonies such as interviews with Sara Weaver, Randy’s daughter, and the federal agents involved in the confrontation.

The author of the book “Ruby Ridge”, Jess Walter, shares a gripping narrative of the incident that played a significant role in the emergence of the contemporary American militia movement. Directed by Barak Goodman.

Three key takeaways from Ruby Ridge:

  • The Rules of Engagement: The documentary sheds light on the controversial “rules of engagement” that were used by the FBI during the standoff. These rules were unusually aggressive, allowing agents to shoot armed adults on sight, a significant deviation from standard law enforcement practices.
  • Government Missteps: The documentary highlights several critical missteps by the government and law enforcement, including the way the initial approach to Randy Weaver was handled and the subsequent escalation of the situation. These missteps contributed to the tragic outcomes and public backlash.
  • Impact on U.S. Law Enforcement Policies: The Ruby Ridge incident led to significant changes in federal law enforcement policies. The documentary explores how the standoff and its aftermath influenced the handling of similar situations in the future, aiming to prevent such a tragedy from recurring.

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly

Chief Maniac, Daily Doc