Ken Rex McElroy terrorized the residents of several counties in northwestern Missouri for a score of years. He raped young girls and brutalized them after they went to live with him or even married him; he shot at least two men; he stole cattle and hogs, and burned down the houses of some who interfered with his criminal activities. Thanks to the expert efforts of his lawyer and the pro-defendant bias of state laws, he served no more than a few days in jail, the author shows. In 1981, sentenced for the shooting of a popular grocer and free on bail, he was killed by the men of Skidmore, the center of his felonies; they closed ranks against all attempts to identify those who had pulled the triggers. Written by a first-time author, this is an engrossing, credible examination of the way vigilante action can take over when the law appears to be powerless. BOMC and QPBC alternates.