Gary Krist and Ruth Eisemann-Schier’s case inspired 83 Hours Til Dawn and The Longest Night, two true-story movies about the kidnapping of Barbara Mackle in the 1960s. The movies are old, but the case has renewed interest because a brand new crime documentary about Gary Krist and Ruth Eisemann-Schier will premiere this weekend. 83 Hours Til Dawn and The Longest Night both focus on the abduction of a wealthy man’s daughter, who was imprisoned in an underground box with air for just 83 hours.
— Gopa Movies (@gopamovies) December 26, 2017
The movies based on Gary Krist and Ruth Eisemann-Schier’s true story
83 Hours Til Dawn was a popular movie that aired on November 4, 1990, on CBS. Most people today remember this one because it was picked up by the Lifetime true story channel and shown on that network for years. 83 Hours Til Dawn is directed by Donald Wrye and written by O.R. Keyes. It is based on the book by Barbara Mackle and Gene Miller. The real names were changed for this movie, and it was filmed in Long Beach, California. The Movies Based On True Stories Database and Archives was the first to find the real names, Ruth Eisemann-Schier and Gary Krist, and include them on their website in the 1990s.
83 Hours Til Dawn, now known as a Lifetime true story movie, was produced by River City Productions, Paulette Breen Productions, and Consolidated Productions. It stars Peter Strauss, Robert Urich, and Paul Winfield.
A book writer accused 83 Hours Til Dawn movie producers of basing the entire movie on their book. The movie producers wanted to negotiate with the book writer but were not able to come to an agreement. The producers continued on and made the movie without sealing the deal. The writer won a judgment of a few hundred thousand dollars, but the decision was later reversed.
📺ABC Primetime, September 12, 1972:
— TV movie 'The Longest Night' pic.twitter.com/fMzjoT2y97
— RetroNewsNow (@RetroNewsNow) September 13, 2017
Not many will remember The Longest Night true story movie, but it was actually the first one that was inspired by Barbara Mackle and the crimes of Gary Krist and Ruth Eisemann Schier. The Longest Night aired as an ABC movie of the week on September 12, 1972. The real names were not used in the movie. It debuted two years after the crime. Written by Merwin Gerard, The Longest Night, based on Gary Krist, Ruth Eisemann-Schier, and Barbara Mackle, was filmed in Thousand Oaks, California, and produced by Universal Television. It stars David Janssen, James Farentino, and Phyllis Thaxter.
Where Are Gary Krist and Ruth Eisemann-Schier Now?
I referred to my old crime notes for this one. According to the notes, Gary Krist got out of prison in 1978. He was released to his girlfriend at the time, a woman named Joan Jones, who picked him up after he walked out. He later returned to Alaska, where he helped his father with his shrimp business. Gary Steven Krist decided he wanted to be a doctor, so he went to medical school, but his troubles continued to follow him. No one would let him forget the Barbara Mackle kidnapping. Every time he got a new job, someone exposed his true identity.
Without a steady job, Gary Steven Krist returned to what he knew, a life in the crime world. On one occasion, he helped smuggle illegal aliens or undocumented workers into the United States from South America, using boats he chartered. The cops nabbed him in the state of Alabama and sent him back to prison. Gary Krist was released from prison in 2010, but by 2012, he was picked up again for leaving the country to go to Cuba. This was in violation of his parole. That time, he did more than a year in prison before his last departure.
Today, he is most likely still living in Auburn, Georgia, which is where a reporter from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution caught up with him in 2016. There is a funny picture of him with his arms thrown up around his head so she couldn’t take his picture. She took it anyway.
In 2012, Ruth Eisemann Schier was still living in Tegucigalpa-Honduras. At that time, she had a Facebook page, where she discussed her work in homeopathic health and natural therapy.
- She also claimed to be furthering her education and was the mother of five children with one granddaughter.
- On her page, Ruth wrote about all of the countries she has visited in her lifetime, but she left out one: The United States.
Barbara Mackle went on to live a normal life, according to her father.
- She married in 1971, had a baby, and continued to live in Georgia.
- Her dad said in an old interview that his daughter had never seen a counselor over the incident.
- You can find old articles about Barbara Mackel, Gary Krist, and Ruth Eisemann-Schier in the Reader’s Digest and the Ladies Home Journal.
[Main Photo via 83-Hours Til Dawn/Amazon Promo/Traciy Curry-Reyes/Photo Archives]