The Manson Family was a desert commune and cult active in California in the late 1960s, led by Charles Manson. The group consisted of approximately 100 of his followers who lived an unconventional lifestyle with habitual use of hallucinogenic drugs. Most of the group members were young women from middle-class backgrounds, many of whom were radicalized by Manson's teachings and drawn by hippie culture and communal living.
Manson was released from prison for petty crimes in 1967, and the Family moved to San Francisco and later to a deserted ranch in the San Fernando Valley. According to group member Susan Atkins, the Family believed that Manson was a manifestation of Jesus and that his prophecies were reliable concerning an imminent, apocalyptic race war. They gained international notoriety after the murder of actress Sharon Tate and four others on August 9, 1969. The murders were committed by Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel. Linda Kasabian was also present, but did not take part. Group members were also responsible for a number of other murders, assaults, petty crimes, and thefts.