Nightly News | May 30, 2012
>>> who would have thought that the big entertainment hit of this memorial day week would involve a family feud that started in the 1860s . hatfields and mccoys drew a huge number monday night with 14 million viewers. it's the second most watched nonsports show in basic cable history after high school musical 2. anne thompson has more on why americaned are loving this long-running fight.
>> the hats, the beards, and the dirt may obscure the hollywood star power, even kevin costner , but the lure of the hatfields and mccoys is still irresistible.
>> it's not folklore, not a story. it's a fact.
>> bonita mccoy lyons and a desedent of asa mccoy . she treasured the gun as well as the recognition her name brings in places like paris.
>> a gentleman there said oh, a mccoy . from where?
>> from the bang-bang mccoys.
>> the real life drama that erupted over a stolen pig.
>> a pig thief.
>> included romancz, betrayal, murder, revenge, and legal issues that went all the way to the u.s. supreme court .
>> it's a question of littleireitations building and then igniting and then all hell breaking loose.
>> their story is woven into america's popular culture in a song made famous by waylon jennings . like the hatfields and the mccoys
>> cartoons immortalized them from bugs bunny . to the prehistoric flintstones.
>> it's from that hillbilly jethro hatrock.
>> then the game show .
>> let's finish the family feud .
>> in 1979 pitted the real hatfields and mccoys against each other, playing for a pig.
>> let's play the feud.
>> today, the families are united on facebook, holding an annual marathon that attracts 500 people to the hills where their ancestors fought. this summer, it's once again america's favorite drama and there's no arging over that. anne thompson , nbc news, new york.