In 1870, much of the American "Wild West” remained unsettled. Seeking a better life, pioneers traveled west in horse-drawn wagons, but they faced many hardships.

Some were ambushed and killed by robbers or Indians. Towns were few and far between. The treeless windswept Kansas prairie was particularly harsh: extreme summer heat, frigid winters, disease and grasshopper plagues.

Imagine their relief when they came to the Bender Inn. Seated outside was Kate Bender, 23, a slender fair-haired beauty. Flashing her winsome smile, she urged them to stay overnight.

The travelers, most of them male, believed it would be safe to eat a hot meal and stay the night. Instead of a safe haven, many fell victim to America's first serial killers. In all, the Bloody Benders may have killed 21 people.
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Comment by Susan on December 18, 2013 at 5:56am

Thanks Dana, I wasn't aware of that. It's a pretty gruesome story!

Comment by Dana King on December 18, 2013 at 4:27am

Scott Phillips's wonderful book, Cottonwood, uses the Bloody Benders story as a subplot. Highly recommended.

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