In 1981, an Indian guru known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh purchased thousands of acres of land in rural Wasco County, Oregon (right next to the tiny town of Antelope), and—with the aid of his red-robed followers, known as "Rajneeshees" or "sannyasins"—began construction on a city-sized commune dubbed "Rajneeshpuram."
That endeavor sparked bitter fights with Christian locals who didn't take kindly to being invaded by a New Age-y "sex cult," and then court battles with state and federal authorities. What followed was an eye-opening saga that eventually involved a massive bioterror attack, assassination attempts, and the largest wiretapping case in American history—much of it centered on the Bhagwan's fearsome second-in-command, Ma Anand Sheela.
Was this an example of a peaceful religious minority being persecuted for its unconventional views? Or was it an instance of a crazy cult breaking whatever laws it pleased—including committing immigration fraud and stockpiling weapons for "self-defense?"