For more than a century, the enduring feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys has been American shorthand for passionate, unyielding, and even violent confrontation. Yet despite numerous articles, books, television shows, and feature films, nobody has ever told the in-depth true story of this legendarily fierce-and far-reaching-clash in the heart of Appalachia. Drawing upon years of original research, including the discovery of previously lost and ignored documents and interviews with relatives of both families, bestselling author Dean King finally gives us the full, unvarnished tale, one vastly more enthralling than the myth. Unlike previous accounts, King's begins in the mid-nineteenth century, when the Hatfields and McCoys lived side-by-side in relative harmony. Theirs was a hardscrabble life of farming and hunting, timbering and moonshining-and raising large and boisterous families-in the rugged hollows and hills of Virginia and Kentucky. Cut off from much of the outside world, these descendants of Scots-Irish and English pioneers spoke a language many Americans would find hard to understand. Yet contrary to popular belief, the Hatfields and McCoys were established and influential landowners who had intermarried and worked together for decades. When the Civil War came, and the outside world crashed into their lives, family members were forced to choose sides.