'Outlander' Season 5 Episode 2: The true story behind the Regulators' attack on the town of Hillsborough

Incidentally, besides Governor Tryon, Edmund Fanning is also a real-life historical figure who was Tryon's protege. Fanning, a lawyer, was accused of extortion and was a particular foe of the Regulators


                            'Outlander' Season 5 Episode 2: The true story behind the Regulators' attack on the town of Hillsborough
Duncan Lacroix (Starz)

As this season of 'Outlander' unfolds, it is obvious that the main plotline will revolve around the Frazer clan's adventures in North Carolina during the tumultuous years before and during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence. 

One of the first flashpoints of the Revolution was the Battle of Alamance on May 16, 1771, when the rebelling Regulators clashed with Governor Tryon's militia. In 'Outlander', the character of Murtagh Fitzgibbon (Duncan Lacroix) is shown as one of the leaders of the Regulators. 

While Murtagh's character is fictional, the raid on Hillsborough shown in the episode is not. The fictionalized version of the events of the raid closely follows what actually happened. In 1768, the Regulators entered Hillsborough, broke up the court, and dragged those they saw as corrupt officials through the streets.

The mob first attempted to have the judge try the cases that were pending against several Regulator leaders. The presiding Judge Richard Henderson quickly adjourned the court until the next morning because he wanted to avoid being forced to make a ruling in the presence of an angry mob of Regulators. Then, he escaped in the night.

Post this, the Regulators rioted, destroying public and private property alike. This is exactly what Edmund Fanning tells Lieutenant Hamilton Knox and Jamie Frazer when they reach Hillsborough.

Incidentally, besides Governor Tryon (played by Tim Downie) of course, Edmund Fanning (played by Samuel Collings) is also a real-life historical figure who was Tryon's protege, becoming his personal secretary in New York after the Battle of Alamance. Fanning, a lawyer, who also held a few influential political posts, was accused of extorting money from the local residents and was a particular foe of the Regulators.

During the Hillsborough raid, he was beaten and had to find refuge in a shop neighboring the courthouse. According to witnesses, Fanning's beating was so severe that one of his eyes was almost beaten out.

The Regulators mob also descended on Fanning's personal residence. After destroying all of the furniture and drinking all of his alcohol, they picked apart his entire house. So get ready to see more of Fanning clashing with the Regulators in the coming episodes, as the story builds up to the Battle of Alamance. 

'Outlander' airs on Sunday at 8:00 pm ET/PT on STARZ, the STARZ app, and STARZ On Demand.

If you have an entertainment scoop or a story for us, please reach out to us on (323) 421-7515