Most McCoys lived in Kentucky while most Hatfields lived over the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River in West Virginia. (We did not make it that far north in our travels.) Then a McCoy claimed a Hatfield hog. Uh-huh. Evidently the notchings on the hog's ears were not clear. So the Justice of the Peace, "Preacher Anse Hatfield," assembled a jury of six Hatfields and six McCoys. It swung in favor of the Hatfields by the testimony of one who was related to both the Hatfields and McCoys. He was later shot dead by the McCoys. The hog settlement might have gotten off Scott-free--(or should we say, Scotch-Irish-free?) but resentments were building.
Then when three of the McCoys, brothers of Roseanna, stabbed Devil Anse Hatfield's brother twenty-five times before shooting him dead, the law did step in, Hatfield constables, but so did the Devil Anse Hatfield gang who got ahold of them murdering McCoys, and did a little justice on their own: they tied them to a pawpaw bush and shot them fifty times. Devil Anse Hatfield was charged with vigilantisim, but was never brought in along with his other charges of bootlegging.
Then the governor was bribed to get involved, sent out bounty hunters after the Hatfields, and it all broke out into "HE-double toothpicks." Somehow bad boy Johnes and a gang of Hatfields later sought retribution and burned out the cabin of a McCoy, beating Randall's wife to death and shooting his daughter and a couple of children while a couple more kids got frostbite while fleeing, but the mother of Johnes' child was smoked out but not killed. The law came in putting eight Hatfields and associates in jail and hanging the one who killed the woman, Cotton Top Hatfield. A posse was sent out, Big Bad Jim Vance was shot dead, but Devil Anse was not among them. He just moved further up in them thar hills and kept to himself. His brother Valentine was one of the ones found guilty however, and spent the rest of his life in prison. After a couple dozen were killed in both families, with even the Supreme Court getting involved, the two families finally called a truce. The moral to the story is rogue justice is out of order.