It was just like Jimmy Cagney. I never seen nothing like it. That fellow just kept a-coming right at them two lawmen, and they must have hit him plenty, but nothing was going to stop that fellow.
– Robert Hayford, eyewitness to the “Battle of Barrington” (1934)
In late 1934, former Dillinger-Nelson Gang member Lester “Baby Face Nelson” Gillis – “Public Enemy No. 1” at the time – was finally chased down by the Division of Investigation (the future FBI) north of Chicago, in what would become the “Battle of Barrington.”
The events that unfolded that day would put any action picture to shame – oddly, they have never been properly covered on film, despite several movie dramatizations. Neither Don Siegel’s Baby Face Nelson (1957), Mervyn Leroy’s The FBI Story (1959), Scott Levy’s Baby Face Nelson (1996), or Michael Mann’s Public Enemies (2009) make a credible attempt at depicting what actually happened – with only Leroy even trying to stick to the most basic facts.