Not much is known about Wallace during this time period. It appears that he wed Marian (another reference to the Robin Hood story) Braidfoot around 1297. Legend has it the pair had a daughter.
Scotland was suffering under the stern rule of Edward - as had the Jews whom he expelled from England in 1290. English garrisons manned the great fortress castles. His tax collectors, led by Cressingham, were bleeding the people dry. The nobles were not united. The common man had had enough. Scotland needed a hero to lead the people in their struggle for freedom.
Scottish resistance began in 1297, but nothing substantial occurred until May of that year. Wallace killed Haselrig, the English sheriff (again, a reference to the Robin Hood legend) of Lanark. Although the facts are not clear, it appears Haselrig had killed Marian Braidfoot. Wallace took his revenge, but he did not act quickly. He wisely waited for the English to think the Scots had been terrified into submission.
When he thought the English had become sufficiently complacent, Wallace gathered his band of rebels at Cartland. They entered Lanark at night. The English had left the town walls unguarded. Wallace and his men had easy access to the apartment where Haselrig was sleeping. Using his famous five-foot long, two-handed sword, Wallace killed the sheriff of Lanark by splitting his skull to the collar bone. Resistance against the English had begun in full force. The band of rebels killed not just the sheriff but 240 others.