Part II of the History Channel’s epic mini-series, Hatfields & McCoys, picks up with Anse Hatfield saving his son, Johnse, from the vengeful hand of Roseanna McCoy’s brothers.
After returning home, Johnse Hatfield still sees a future for him and Roseanna, but Anse sees it differently. He tells Johnse to choose between his family and the McCoy girl. Roseanna, now pregnant with Johnse’s child and disowned by her own family, sees the writing on the wall and simply rides away to go live with a relative.
In part I, Anse Hatfield at least tries, on occasion, to be reasonable regarding the feud between Randall McCoy and himself. By part II, however, both sides have been emotionally ignited and have all but declared an all out war. The feud escalates further when the townspeople come together for a community event. In one particular scene, Anse and Randall walk directly past each other. No words are exchanged, but their respective families begin to taunt the other. The young boys from both sides engage in a drunken brawl. To diffuse the situation, Ellison Hatfield (Damian O’Hare), who is Anse’s brother, steps in to break it up. Though his intention was simply to stop the fighting, Ellison gets stabbed repeatedly and shot once by McCoys. The enraged Hatfields get custody of the McCoy offenders and hold them prisoner. This event forces Randall to face Anse and plead for the lives of his sons. Anse’s simple reply is that if his brother lives, the McCoy boys can go free. Ellison dies, and the McCoys boys who killed him are executed.
Meanwhile, Roseanna McCoy gives birth to a sickly child who is not expected to live. Though he tries to see them, Johnse is continually denied the rights to visit with Roseanna or see the baby. Eventually, he marries Nancy, Roseanna’s cousin.
After more tit for tat killing, part II ends with Randall McCoy putting a bounty on Hatfield heads. This move extends the war beyond just a family feud and the governors of Kentucky and West Virginia are called in to mediate.