On May 10, 1849 Macready was at the Astor Opera House when the rivalry came to a head. Nativists in the audience began to harass and threaten the aristocratic Macready's fans. The stage was showered with rotten fruit and soon the disorder spread to the street. There E.Z.C. Judson, a.k.a. Ned Buntline, a famous writer and one of the founders of the Know-Nothing Party, inflamed a crowd of as many as 15,000 people. They shouted, "Down with the English hog!" Macready fled the scene while the New York State Militia fielded infantry and cavalry to break up the unruly mob. As the soldiers charged the crowd they were showered with bricks and many were injured. The soldiers pulled back and when they renewed their assault fired on the crowd, killing as many as twenty rioters. Dozens of rioters were arrested and ten stood to trial (Judson sentenced to a year in prison).
Macready hid out in the Boston home of George William Curtis, who had an outstanding career as the editor of magazines such as Harpers Weekly. Macready never performed again in America. Despite having his reputation tarnished by the riot Forrest continued acting. He went on to have an exceptionally notorious divorce in the 1850s, losing five appeals to the initial decision of the court in favor of his wife. Forest was enormously successful on the stage but lived a lonely, bitter life.