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Imagine a gallows in a dusty town in the old west. A tumbleweed rolls by. The sheriff is leaning against a post, chewing a plug of tobacco, contemplating the hanging that will take place. A stranger sidles up, asks the sheriff "Why you stringin' the guy up?" The sheriff spits and says "Because he needs hangin' is why" Fade to Masonville, N.Y. in 1819.
Nathan Foster hired the biggest legal guns of the time to defend himself against the capital murder charge of killing his wife. But in the eyes of patriots who had fought long and hard in the Revolutionary War, Foster needed hanging regardless. They weren't about to let this guy go. He'd been an anathema for forty years.