Two outlaw brothers, a shootout that left two others dead and a unjust death sentence…in the space of a few months in 1881, Durand was transformed into a center of attention in the United States, even covered on the front page of the New York Times. The unjust death of Ed Maxwell next to the courthouse was the culmination of the largest manhunt in American history, his death a carefully planned conspiracy. The Maxwell Brothers became so famous that they received more coverage in the tabloid press than even the James Gang.
Two Outlaw Brothers – And Old Fashioned Wild West Shootout
Two Outlaw Brothers, Ed and Lon Maxwell had a shootout with two law enforcement officers in Durand. Both officers were shot and killed and the outlaws escaped.
Largest Manhunt to that point in U.S. history
Ed and Lon Maxwell escaped and were captured four months later in Nebraska. The manhunt was the largest in U.S. history up until this point. The hunt for the two killers had front page headlines across the country, most noticeably in The New York Times. The Maxwell Brothers became so famous that they received more coverage in the tabloid press than even the James Gang.
The Hanging of Ed Maxwell by Illegal Mob
Four months after the shootout leaving two officers dead, Ed Maxwell appeared in court. After the hearing an illegal lynch mob drug him down the steps from the courtroom and hung him in a tree outside the courthouse.
Downtown Durand Burns
One month after the hanging a fire burned down 34 buildings in Downtown Durand. When the street was on fire one woman shouted, “It’s a judgment from God!” Rumors spread that the friends of the Maxwell brothers had set the village on fire to avenge the death of Ed Maxwell.