"Hillbilly Hare" (02:31)
The Bugs Bunny cartoon portrayed the Hatfield/McCoy feud, helping to establish a negative hillbilly stereotype. The true story behind the feud is complex and highlights the impact of industrialization on rural communities.
Tug River Valley (02:56)
The Hatfield and McCoy families were among early white settlers in Central Appalachia and led a pioneering lifestyle. Anderson Hatfield was born on the Virginia side of the border; Randolph McCoy moved his family to the Kentucky side. Valley residents formed a "tight knit" community. (Credits)
Civil War Impact (02:40)
War divided the Tug River Valley community; West Virginia voters elected to join the Union. Borderland areas experienced raids and terror, and Anderson joined a militia unit to protect his family. Randolph's brother was found murdered; some Hatfields blamed Anderson's unit.
Industrialization and Profitability (03:39)
After the war, Central Appalachia became an area of interest for investors. Anderson felled trees along Grapevine Creek. Perry Cline claimed he was trespassing and stealing his inheritance, but eventually relinquished a portion of the land.
Hatfield Timber Company (03:17)
Anderson was an ambitious and savvy businessman who provided jobs. Randolph resented Anderson's success; a court case involving a hog may have increased animosity.
Norfolk and Western Railroad (02:31)
In 1881, Frederick Kimball arrived in Central Appalachia to inspect a coal seam. He convinced the railroad board to build a spur into the area.
Appalachian Culture (04:59)
In 1882, Tug River Valley residents gathered for election day in Pike County Kentucky. An argument between a Hatfield relation and Tolbert McCoy occurred and Ellison Hatfield intervened; Ellison was stabbed and shot. Constables were assigned to take the McCoy brothers to Pikeville jail.
Hatfield Retaliation (04:09)
Anderson and his posse captured the McCoy brothers; Sally McCoy plead for mercy. Ellison died and Anderson and his men shot the McCoys; many saw the situation as "an eye for an eye." The "New York Times" reported the Hatfield/McCoy conflict.
Economic Growth (04:49)
After Norfolk and Western made its first coal shipment from southern West Virginia, Kimball announced extension plans. Investors sought landownership in Tug River Valley; John Mayo used broad-form deeds to obtain mineral rights. Cline was a member of Pike County's elite circle.
McCoy Seeks Revenge (04:31)
In 1886, Cap Hatfield was alleged to have killed Randall's nephew. Cline revived the case against Anderson and his posse for the deaths of the McCoy brothers. Simon Buckner sent an extradition request but was denied. Cline sent "Bad Frank" Phillips to capture the Hatfields.
New Years' Day Raid (03:10)
In 1888, Cap and a group of armed men exchanged gunfire with Randall and set the McCoy cabin on fire; two McCoys died and Randall's wife was critically injured.
West Virginia Raids (02:24)
Phillips captured six men and killed a Hatfield ally; newspapers reported the feud. Anderson sold land along the river to a coal agent, moved higher into the mountains, and built a fort with armed guards.
"An American Vendetta" (04:20)
In 1888, journalist T.C. Crawford interviewed Anderson; his articles, and resulting book, were not completely factual. The "Cincinnati Inquirer" made the story national news. Media coverage portrayed mountain people in a negative light, helping capitalism.
Appalachian Industrialization (02:29)
By 1890, Norfolk and Western rail lines cut through land formerly owned by Anderson. Coal mining and logging changed the landscape and local lifestyle.
Hillbilly Stereotype (03:28)
Randall remained in Pikeville until he died in 1914; the memory of the feud haunted him. Anderson died in 1921; family members reinvented their lives. The Hatfield/McCoy feud helped fuel a negative image of Appalachian people.
Credits: The Feud (01:01)
Credits: The Feud
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