“In all the annals of preservation of the peace there is no story that runs more gallantly than this.”
—Springfield Leader, January 4, 1932
As dusk fell on a bitterly cold night during the Great Depression, a posse of ten local lawmen approached two brothers holed up in an isolated Missouri farmhouse. Minutes later, six officers were dead, three were wounded, and the outlaws had escaped. After a wild car chase through Oklahoma and across Texas, police finally surrounded Harry and Jennings Young in their Houston hideout.
The brutal killings attracted the national press (at first Pretty Boy Floyd was rumored to be involved) and the “carnival of carnage” that became known as the Young Brothers Massacre represented the highest number of law enforcement officers killed on a single day until September 11, 2001. Even in the hardscrabble Ozarks, a region historically known for frontier justice and vigilante activity, these crimes caused a sensation, and the Young brothers briefly joined the ranks of infamy with Bonnie and Clyde and other famous outlaws.