The Civil War was devasting not only to the southern battleground states but in all states. After the Civil War, Southwest Missouri was a devastated area characterized by a failing economy, high taxes, lawlessness, disorder, and a general breakdown of society, especially in the small towns and rural regions of the area.

A man by the name of Nathanial Kinney moved to Taney County, Missouri in 1883. Kinney had fought in the war as a soldier for the north as a private in General Grant's army.

After the war, Nathanial Kinney eluded to some that his rank in the war was that of Captain. Nathanial was big in stature at 6'4, he was as solid as a rock. Unlike most men during that period, Nathanial Kinney always carried two guns and knew how to use them.

In 1877 , he moved to Topeka, a town undergoing tremendous economic and population growth. While there, Nat worked as a teamster, boarded at a local hotel, and became manager for a public hack service owned by Alfred H. Terry, a U.S. Indian Commissioner and Indian Peace Commissioner, principal in railroad construction to military posts, and negotiator in tribal consolidation and peace treaties.

Kinney was well remembered in Topeka for his brawling ruffian’s life. Yet, an old Kansas militia mate recalled Kinney as a help to travelers at the Topeka train depot, giving directions and aid. Nathanial Kinnet eventually met and married the widow of a former Union Officer. Maggie was a major influence on Nathanial's life.

Nathaniel N. Kinney came to Taney County by way of Kansas, although the man who would become the chieftain of the Bald Knobbers in Taney County had lived an adventurous and well-travelled life by the time he brought his family here in 1883. , Despite the heat of his leadership, his neighbors testified to his pleasure in the quiet of family life, his pride in children, and his love of fine horses. Soon after Kinney’s arrival in Taney County, he became politically active.

Kinney soon found conditions in Taney County to be one of lawlessness and under renegade and bushwacker rule. Not a single suspect was convicted with over 40 murders in the years after the war.

Nathanial Kinney and those that followed his leadership became a power of over 1000 men to be reckoned with and their actions and deeds were know across the United Stated and Europe. The Bald Knobbers became a force to be recokned with in Taney County and all the way to the Statehouse in Jefferson City, Missouri.











KINNEY FACTS

• Kinney owned 267 acres of fertel bottomland. He added several rooms to an existing two room log cabin. He furnished it with red plush furniture and a piano for Maggie. He farmed a large portion of the land and furnished it with pure bred cattle, blooded horses, dogs sheeps, hogs and mules.

• Kinney always wore 2 guns. A short barell colt 45 in his waist band and a gun he called long tom in a holster.

• Kinney remodled the nearby Oak Grove school house into a church where he preached and taught the scriptures.

• Nathanial Kinney was the leader of the "Citizens League for Law And Order", known by the locals as he "Bald Knobbers" because of the the open clearing on top of some of the mountains (called bald knobs) where the group would hold secret meetings.

Kinney called together twelve of the county’s leaders who met in secret, forming a committee to fight the lawlessness and elect officials who would enforce the law. The group became known as the Bald Knobbers eventually gaining national attention. The Bald Knobbers continued to grow and before long the group had between 500 and 1,000 members.

The nation’s newspapers published stories about the bloody war in Missouri and the Bald Knobbers were described as the nation’s largest and fiercest vigilante movement

Our film tells the true story of events that took place in Taney and Christian County Missouri. It is not just about the reign of terror of the era. It's about the people who lived, suffered, loved and survived.

Our information is taken from many sources including decendents of the ones that were involved in the conflicts and war waged under the banner of law and order.

"BALD KNOBBER" is dedicated to those that came before us that created the amazing history of the Ozarks in Missouri.