Mobster-turned-professional-ex mobster Henry Hill moved to North Platte after marrying a woman from the roughly general area. He'd been in the open for awhile by this point. The men he ratted on were all dead themselves & anyhow he'd been kicked out of Witness protection for a credit-card scam that I'm told was rather savvy by nineties computer finance standards but still got pinched. He started an Italian restaurant in the "sports" bar that far a time challenged the bowling alley based-"Touchdown Club" for dominance of local nightlife with it's Goodfellas poster featured prominently on the main wall. Long Island Iced Teas were seven dollars as were pitchers of Miller heavy though the food was somewhat bland tell the truth. I was later told that by the standards of an East Coast Italian who'd had living family bonds to the old country Hill's cooking quite simply sucked, and he'd been a smoker for fifty years by this time & thus had no clue of how anything tasted. He got really into the Western Nebraska drug scene, easily assimilating from cocaine to meth and winning a string of DUI's along with a drunk & disorderly at the only late-night grocery store, all with truly elite BAC's. Before finally dying in his sixties he lost the restaurant when he got into felony trouble for dealing as well as for beating another wife again, which is a callous way to describe such I know but it's only the fish-belly that the interstate washed up that I have any direct experience of.
I met Hill at the bar once. I was having a Long Island and he was just off work smoking a Camel nonfilter, hands trembling lightly from decades of body-defiance. He asked me if I was getting drunk buddy and I replied that this seemed to be the case. He asked as well if I was getting any pussy that night and I said maybe though I don't recall if I did. I've had sex multiple times but only one avuncular chat with a murderer.
All our best stories are about the Mafia for a reason. The human mystique about secret murder clubs is universal regardless of whether their ends are political or strictly for profit. (Though of course there's no real difference between the two in America.) Even at this atrophied point in his life Hill was still a "Guy Who made Things Happen" sticking a finger in a meth trade that ships from El Paso/Juarez up to Denver/Front Range, and out to various Plains points from there in cars of uncertain ownership. I know from my own small experience of this trade that it is just as falsely impressive as Hill was. (Not least because of police pimping their 'major busts') Still the aura. I was raised an American man with the same idea that the willingness to go to extremes for wealth was due some level of admiration if not quite approval as such.
I don't blame Martin Scorsese for glamorizing Hill. I know it was intent to do just the opposite but he's Scorsese. He could make a flophouse hotel suicide in winter look sublimely cool. Hill may have never been a young Ray Liotta but he was young once. Or anyhow Goodfellas was based on on accounting that Hill gave a book writer about his own experience from his own select point of view. Thirty years in the game without ever pulling the trigger himself. Just looking disturbed at the deeds of his mean friends and than helping to bury the bodies. Right then. I for my part have not looked up the details of his late-life Nebraska legal troubles. These may be wrong. Though the essence of drugs and domestic abuse I know to be true for a certainty.
Robert De Niro shall never move to North Platte. My mother's dogs shall never bark at him in half-jest.