Fifty-seven shots were fired in about 90 seconds. Five people were killed, seven wounded. It was the biggest news story in the country in 1912 until the Titanic sank. To this day, it’s still the United States’ worst incident to occur in an open courtroom. Some people call it murder and others say self-defense, but what happened in Hillsville, Virginia, on that cold March day has conjured up rumor and speculation for generations. No matter which side you’re on, everyone agrees the shootout was the result of a longstanding feud between political rivals, a clash of personalities that erupted in a bloody gun battle and ripped this small southern town apart.
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