It is about the abolitionist John Brown (Massey), particularly his involvement in Bleeding Kansas and his eventual capture following the raid on Harpers Ferry. The title refers to Brown and his six sons.
This film features examples of:
- Artistic License History:
- The first person found by Brown's men at Harpers Ferry was, indeed a freedman, but they shot and killed him as he warned an approaching train.
- The fight between the Abolitionists and the Border Ruffians had the Abolitionists using what appeared to be either pattern 1853 Enfields or 1861 Springfields. In reality the Abolitionists preferred Sharps rifles, smuggled through in crates labeled "Bibles". They therefore got the nickname "Beecher's Bibles", named after abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher.
- Col. Robert E. Lee was given two dozen U.S. Marines to capture the armory, not regular army troops as depicted, and Lt. J. E. B. Stuart did not wear a Civil War-style army uniform but a dragoon uniform.
- When John Brown was hanged there was actually a huge crowd in attendance, not just the soldiers detailed for the duty.
- Hollywood Costuming: Debra Paget's hairstyle is clearly done in a (then-present) 1950s style, rather than the 1850s the film is set.
- The Mountains of Illinois: Kansas has no hills like those shown in background shots.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: John Brown believes that slavery is wrong, but also believes that violence as part of his campaign against it is justifiable.