A Vigilante Pays the Price Nat Kinney got what he gave.


Nat Kinney True West
Nat Kinney.

Nat Kinney led the Bald Knobbers, a vigilante group that patrolled the Missouri Ozarks in the mid to late 1880s.  A farmer, merchant and self-styled preacher, Kinney and company group started off working with law enforcement officials, but it soon became a force unto itself—and it eventually began punishing even critics of the movement.  They vowed revenge.

So in August 1888, Bald Knobber opponent Billy Miles shot and killed Kinney in a Forsyth store.  Miles was arrested and tied but claimed self-defense.  A jury—mostly Anti-Bald Knobbers—quickly acquitted him.

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Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine as well as the editor of The Tombstone Epitaph. He also serves as pastor for Poplar Grove United Methodist Church in Indiana.