John Foster West goes behind the folklore to discover the recorded facts in the murder trial of Tom Dula. Dula, who was hanged for the murder of Laura Foster in 1868, is the subject of an enduring ballad and something of a folk hero in western North Carolina. In 1958, the Kingston Trio released a version of the folk ballad that was the number one song in the country. According to West, although Dula's case went to the state Supreme Court twice and the records from those trials are preserved by the State Department of Archives and History, no writer before him had ever bothered to examine the Dula records in detail. Through examination of court records and Wilkes County census records, West recreates the events that occurred in Ferguson, NC and fills out the missing details surrounding the case, including the unknown family members of the victim and the accused. West's book is entitled THE BALLAD OF TOM DULA; THE DOCUMENTED STORY BEHIND THE MURDER OF LAURA FOSTER AND THE TRIALS AND EXECUTION OF TOM DULA.