The Black Death roared through and whacked half the peasants. So the Lords just made the remaining half work twice as hard to get the same work done. When the serfs tried to go to court, the court decided that it "didn't have time for the affairs of peasants." The laws themselves were written in a dead language peasants didn't know. These were their only options: Work. Slave. Starve. What the hell were they supposed to do?
Then came the tax collector. Half as many peasants to tax just as much means this guy is going to to squeeze the peasants twice as hard. Takes a hard man to squeeze that hard. He comes to the Tylers' house, collecting so much money per head on everyone over fifteen. He wants to collect for Tyler's daughter. Tyler is out working. Mom tells the tax guy she's not fifteen yet. The tax guy says she is too, look at her. They argue. The tax collector says he knows how to tell how old she is, strips the daughter naked, and proceeds to assault her. Tyler hears his wife and daughter screaming, runs home, and smashes the tax guy's head in with a hammer. The neighbors cheer. There's your head tax, you son of a bitch. Enjoy it.
The neighbors are all as sick of it as he is. They gather together, and elect Tyler their leader. They are going to march on the capital. It's a freedom march. They are going to make the King meet with them. He can set them free. They do. He does. Then it all falls apart. They are back where they started.
Jean Froissart lived through it. He wrote it down the way the people who were there told him.