Schultz has suggested, a deadly tricksterrnlike Quantrill could not fail to see the opportumtrnof a lifetime.rnThe storv of the Border Wars is a storrnthat ccr’ American should know,rnparticulariy because so few know it. Thernpart of it that is familiar (though almostrnalwas misapprehended) deals withrnJohn Brown. Brown’s massacre at PottowatomiernCreek, complete with nightstalking,rncorpse mutilations, and God’srnblessing, has never discredited him asrna hero, though he is rather betterrninterpreted as a madman. Smce hisrnbloocK-minded insanity literally becamernnational policv, he remains a model ofrnrectitude, a prophet indeed. But wernmight ask whv such a killer and schemerrnretains his aureole of righteousness,rnwhen Quantrill’s name conjures revulsion.rnIf Quantrill had thumped the Biblernharder and taken money from the piousrndi’ines of New England, he would havernmade a better career move. And herncould still hac murdered to his heart’srncontent.rnBut that was not his wav. WilliamrnClarke Quantrill was an aimless outhrnfrom Canal Dox’cr, Ohio, who inscribedrnAbolitionist sentiments in letters to hisrnmother. IIc wandered fccklessl) and herntaught school rather successfully, whichrnin those d;n”s indicated a certain order ofrnintelligence. Unable to resist the temptationsrnof the Border Wirs, he sneakilyrnparticipated in the anarch} he loved. liernposed as an Abolitionist, and then soldrnback the shnes he had stolen; he also pretendedrnto be a “border ruffian” and livedrnwith the Indians. I le told either side hernwas a sp for the other, while stealingrnhorses, burning houses, and probabKrnmurdering some individuals. Arson,rnthiecr. and murder had a sanction inrnthe Border W;irs. Eventually, in the raidrnon the Walker farm, he turned on thern”idealistic Abolitionists” (Sehultz’srnphrase) he had conned. He arrangedrntheir betrayal and declared he was fromrnMarland—a Southern loyalist, indeed.rnThe struggles on the Kansas-Missourirnborder were magnified in the war. T’hevrnshow that our Ciil War was both civilrnand a war in the worst senses of thosernwords. The war justified unreason andrnattracted not only the flower of the nation’srnyouth but also its lowest elements,rnincluding not just Quantrill but suchrnsaints as the vicious Charles Jennisonrn(of “Jennison’s Jayhawkers”), and thernothers of his ilk. Riding with Quantrillrnwere men who became not soldiers butrnkillers—men such as Bloody Bill Anderson,rnwho draped the scalps of his victimsrnaround his horse’s neck. To ask wh’rnQuantrill fought as he did is to face arnmvsterv, but even Bloody Bill had his reasons.rnWhen he was killed and decapitated,rna cord with 53 knots was found in hisrnpocket. He was literally keeping scorernwith the Yankees, who were responsiblernfor kidnapping his sister and placing herrnin a decrepit building in Kansas Citv, therncollapse of which killed her, crippled anotherrnsister, and killed a cousin of ColernYounger and three other women as well.rnThe raw memories of the Border Warsrnwere intensified during the war as thernfederal authorities not only raised thernblack flag in arious proclamations but inrnone of the most remarkable episodes inrnAmerican history created the “BurntrnDistrict” on the Missouri border, explicitlyrnmaking war on the civilian populationrnwhich fed and harbored Quantrill’srnmen in some cases. The escalation of i -rnolencc to such a dreadful scale is rememberedrnif at all today by the names ofrnQuantrill’s massacres at Lawrence andrnat Baxter Springs. But what about thernPalmyra massacre of captured Southerners,rnten of whom were clumsiK’ executedrnin 1862, or many another depredation?rnBill Anderson was bloody all right, butrnCole Younger, author of The Story ofrnCole Younger by Himself (1903), must bernthe most interesting of the men whornrode with Quantrill. If an American canrnbe an aristocrat, he was one. I lis paternalrngreat-grandfather had served at Valle’rnForge; his paternal great-grandmotherrnwas related to “Eight-Horse Harry” Eee.rnThe son of a prosperous planter who \asrnno secessionist, the young Cole wasrnthreatened by Captain Irvin \alle ofrnthe 5th Missouri Federal Militia, whornsubsec|uentl’ arranged his father’s assassination.rnThe Yankees persecuted Cole’srnmother from 1862 to 1870, enough sornthat at the cessation of hostilities he feltrnjustified in continuing his lawlessness.rnBut there are several stories which attestrnto Cole “lounger’s mercy in various incidentsrnduring the war. I le had his opportunitiesrnto kill, and to refuse to do so. Tornread of all the bloodshed is a bone-chillingrnas well as a blood-boiling experience.rnE en Quantrill, who sometimes demonstratedrnt]ualities of intelligence and finerrnfeeling, emerges as a man worth remembering,rnone who has something to tell us.rnBecause the federal generals I Eilleck andrnEwing and others raised the black flag,rnthe- forced Ouantrill and his men to dornlikewise, for the raiders knew that deathrnwas the only thing they could expect ifrntaken during the war. Quantrill himselfrnwas shot in Kentuek after Appomattox,rnwhere he had gone declaring he wouldrnkill Lincoln.rnQuantrill is remembered (or shouldrnbe) as the man who exhortedrnat Lawrence, “Kill! Kill! And yournwill make no mistake. Ijawrenee is thernhotbed and should be thoroughlyrncleansed, and the onl wa to cleanse isrnto kill!” Kill they did.’ But’the first pointrnto be noted about Quantrill’s speech isrnthat he sounds a lot like )ohn Brown.rnThe second is that it was the Abolitionistsrnyears before who had cried, “War!rnWar to the knife and the knife to thernhilt!” The murderousness of Quantrillrncannot completely cover up the violentrngnosticism of the Abolitionists.rnBut to engage ecn imaginaticly withrnsuch tangled and bloody material isrnto engage also with a second order ofrnmythology, for the stor of Quantrill andrnhis men has long since been treated, notrnalwas oblic]ucl, in the mo ies. Becausernthe Younger, James, and Dalton brothersrnrode with Quantrill’s raiders, “Quantrill”rnis frequently cited in Holhwood Westernsrnstill recycling on cable. There hasrnbeen no remote^ truthful treatment ofrnQuantrill on celluloid, as far as 1 know,rnand that’s a lack that ma somedayrnbe supplied. Nevertheless, on screenrnQuantrill is always represented as arn”hca’v,” though physicalK he was oungrnand slender, unlike Walter Pidgeon,rnBrian Donleay, 1 ,eo Gordon, or EmilernMevcr, who portrayed him. His name onrnscreen seems to mean what it .should—rn”going too far,” “crossing the line.” Notrnmany remember QuantreU’s [sic] Sonrn(1914), but some mav recall through arnhaze of association with Raisincts andrnpopcorn Dark Command (1940), RenegadernGirl (1946), Kansas Raiders (1950),rnRed Mountain (1951), The Woman TheyrnAlmost Lynched (1952), Quantrill’srnRaiders (1958), Young]esse James (1960),rnArizona Raiders (1965), and Ride a WildrnStud(969).rnEdward Leslie proxides an ironic accountrnof the premier of Dark Commandrnin Lawrence in 1940, but then in modernrnAmerica any attempt to rememberrnthe past is ironic even when naix’c. YetrnI lollvwood’s in’asion of Lawrence was arnnotable massacre of the historical imaginationrnand of the truth. That embarrassmentrnof a movie is a reversal of experi-rnAPRIL 1997/33rnrnrn