In this episode, Lou considers one of the most controversial themes in the John Brown story: the Pottawatomie killings of May 1856. Lou argues that there is a standard bias in the way many narrators deal with the controversial Kansas episode, when Brown and his men killed five proslavery neighbors along the Pottawatomie Creek. All too often, popular narratives on Brown have barely begun before the "Pottawatomie massacre" is invoked, reinforcing notions of Brown as a "terrorist." As a biographer, Lou argues to the contrary: John Brown was a counter-terrorist and the Pottawatomie episode cannot be correctly understood without a consideration of the political conditions of territorial Kansas in the spring of 1856, and the particular challenges and hazards faced by the Browns, who were notorious, even among free state settlers, for being radical abolitionists and advocates of black equality. The argument is not to beautify the Pottawatomie killings, but to see them for what they were, and to understand why principled and religious men like John Brown and his party chose to make such an extreme response.