The Bald Knobbers were a pro-Union vigilante group that emerged in the southwest region of Missouri in the 1880s. The area had been virtually without law; the Bald Knobbers, led by Nat Kinney, changed that. But over time, they became tyrannical in their excesses, beating or branding people for less serious crimes. Opponents of the group were sometimes killed.
After about six years, in 1889, the organization faded after Kinney was assassinated (his killer went free) and three others were hanged for murdering a critic.