Farming interests in western North Carolina resented the actions of local court officials. This feeling was particularly strong in Anson, Granville, Halifax, Orange and Rowan counties.
Efforts to reform the assessment of taxes and fees were unsuccessful; the courts and assembly were not responsive and seemed to favor the causes of the wealthy tidewater elements. Regulator groups arose to close down local courts (which in this era were analogous to county commissions) and suppress tax payments; rioting broke out in several counties. In May 1771, Governor William Tryon led militia forces against the Regulators and defeated them handily at Alamance Creek.
Most of the rebels were pardoned, but seven of the leaders were hanged. The movement did not survive, but tensions between east and west remained.
A somewhat different form of "Regulator movement" existed at roughly the same time in South Carolina.