‘Men in Kilts’ Finale: Sam & Graham Revisit Culloden, Scotland’s Most Notorious Battle (RECAP)

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Spoiler Alert
Starz

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 1, Episode 8 of Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham, “Culloden: Scotland’s Most Infamous Battle.”]

Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish are concluding their Men in Kilts adventure by revisiting one of the most pivotal battles in Scotland’s history — Culloden.

In the season finale episode, “Culloden: Scotland’s Most Infamous Battle,” the men reflect on Outlander‘s portrayal of the battle, which saw the fall of the Jacobites against the British Army. The episode opens with Sam and Graham discussing how the event changed Scotland forever with the loss of Highland culture.

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They explain that the 1746 clash between the Jacobites and British took place over the course of 60 minutes on the marshy moor named Culloden. The Jacobite loss lead to the ban of tartans, bagpipes, and even the Gaelic language in Scotland.

In order to get a more in-depth understanding, Sam and Graham meet up with historian Alistair Moffat, who says that the battle was extremely personal as fighters had to get close to one another without the use of distanced weapons. Older warriors took to the front lines believing courage flowed throughout the generations.

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(Credit: Starz)

Families stood together and this fact is illustrated through clips from Outlander being played. As fans of the fantasy drama might recall, the Battle of Culloden’s action begins at the end of Season 2 and leads into Season 3. Moffat further explains that some warriors would get into a “rage fit” and Graham, with a laugh, admits that his character Dougal MacKenzie was prone to such fits.

Among the other details Moffat shares are the fact that the Brits believed the Highlanders were singing when they were actually reciting genealogies or lines of descent in an effort to summon the army of the dead. Sadly the efforts were futile as soft grounds and cannons, as well as new battle tactics from the British, were unbeatable.

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(Credit: Starz)

In their continuation to learn more about Culloden, Sam and Graham meet with Outlander‘s combat expert Charles Allan at Doune Castle. Tagging along are fellow re-enactment specialists Graeme Carlyle and Finn Allan who practice with traditional weapons, learning some choreography in a fun demonstration before heading out to Culloden.

Before hitting the battlefield, Sam and Graham catch up with Outlander‘s armorers Iain Bowden and Jim Elliot, and talk about outfitting Sam and Graham with weapons for the show ranging from dirks to swords. Graham even jokingly says dirks are his favorite before his character Dougal’s death scene at the hands of a dirk is played. The men learn from the armorers that stingray skin is used on the hilt of swords for the grip and that the Brits were able to shoot three rounds with their muskets in one minute.

men in kilts graham sam

(Credit: Starz)

Finally, the time comes where they step onto Culloden moor, met by Catriona McIntosh who tours them around the battlefield. Ultimately around 1,500 men died in the battle, and when Sam inquires about any Jamie Frasers who fought, Catriona reveals there were five James Frasers on the field that day. Graham is there to remind Sam that his version of Jamie Fraser is fictional.

In a show of solidarity, following a bagpipe procession, Sam and Graham don traditional attire and run the 300-yard distance like their ancestors before them as clips from Outlander‘s version of Culloden are interspersed. Following their adventure, Sam and Graham conclude their road trip with a dram of whisky at the local pub. We can only hope they’ll be back for a second round.

Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip with Sam and Graham, Sundays, 9/8c, Starz