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Taking his gun he went up town, to the house of a friend--Buz Craven. He borrowed Buz's rifle, without remark, and stood prepared for emergencies. Ater waiting some time, he went down to the butcher's shop which he kept, and saw Plummer frequently; but he always had somebody close beside him, so that, without endangering another man's life, Hank could not fire.


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Taking his gun he went up town, to the house of a friend--Buz Craven. He borrowed Buz's rifle, without remark, and stood prepared for emergencies. Ater waiting some time, he went down to the butcher's shop which he kept, and saw Plummer frequently; but he always had somebody close beside him, so that, without endangering another man's life, Hank could not fire.

30 review for The Vigilantes of Montana (Classics of the Old West)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I learned about the vigilantes while reading another book. I figured that since this one was written by someone that was actually there, it would be the best book on the subject to read. The author is obviously NOT a writer and you can tell. The stories all pretty much sound the same and the book has almost a scratched record feel to it. The posse forms... gets the bad guy... repeat. I plan on reading another book on the subject from an actual author that did the research and got stories from ot I learned about the vigilantes while reading another book. I figured that since this one was written by someone that was actually there, it would be the best book on the subject to read. The author is obviously NOT a writer and you can tell. The stories all pretty much sound the same and the book has almost a scratched record feel to it. The posse forms... gets the bad guy... repeat. I plan on reading another book on the subject from an actual author that did the research and got stories from other sources and actually knows how to write an interesting account. I gave the book 3 stars only because the subject is very interesting.... but the book itself is a little boring. I was ready to put it down and move on to another book before I finished, but I did finish it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rex Fuller

    Suppose your neighborhood or town fell into complete lawlessness: people held up and murdered on their way to work; shoppers at the mall gunned down in random squabbles; the only police actually leading and profiting from the violence; nowhere safe; no effective courts; witnesses slaughtered; juries intimidated; and absolutely no help on the way. How long would you and your neighbors wait to hunt down and kill off the threat? It’s hard for us to imagine this because law enforcement is still here Suppose your neighborhood or town fell into complete lawlessness: people held up and murdered on their way to work; shoppers at the mall gunned down in random squabbles; the only police actually leading and profiting from the violence; nowhere safe; no effective courts; witnesses slaughtered; juries intimidated; and absolutely no help on the way. How long would you and your neighbors wait to hunt down and kill off the threat? It’s hard for us to imagine this because law enforcement is still here and on our side. But if you really try to see what would happen if that was taken away, you can understand what brought the citizens of the gold mining towns of Montana in the 1860's to do what they did. Between December 21, 1863, and February 3, 1864, they captured and hanged twenty three “road agents” and murderers. The stories of who was involved and how the investigations played out appeared at the time in newspaper accounts by Thomas Dimsdale. He later published the collection of them as this book. The contemporaneous writing style is sometimes a little wearing. One example, “Six shot-guns constituted half a dozen weighty arguments against forcible attempts at departure, and the several minor and corroborative persuasions of a revolving class completed a clear case of ‘stand off,’ under all circumstances.” Translation: shotguns and revolvers stifled thoughts of escape. It wasn’t so much a matter of taking the law into their own hands as it was putting their own hands to the law to save the people, and in the final sense, the law as well.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lyle Dechant

    The Bible for Montana studies. Exhilarating and infuriating, moralizing and rabble-rousing, Dimsdale transforms the complexities of frontier life into a simplified vision of good and evil. It was a hit when first published in 1865 (serially, in the local newspaper) and continues to be so today. Dimsdale, the first collector of oral histories in MT, uses firsthand testimonials to narrate the rise and fall of Henry Plummer's fearsome robber band and the wave of vigilantism that ended their alleged The Bible for Montana studies. Exhilarating and infuriating, moralizing and rabble-rousing, Dimsdale transforms the complexities of frontier life into a simplified vision of good and evil. It was a hit when first published in 1865 (serially, in the local newspaper) and continues to be so today. Dimsdale, the first collector of oral histories in MT, uses firsthand testimonials to narrate the rise and fall of Henry Plummer's fearsome robber band and the wave of vigilantism that ended their alleged crime spree. But controversy swirls around these events, with some historians denying the secret robber band's very existence. One often gets the sense that Dimsdale thought of himself as the Virgil of the frontier, carefully and deliberately crafting his modern Aenead, peppered throughout with classical and Shakespearean allusions. Truthfully, no well edited version (one with a sound scholarly apparatus of footnotes, index, etc) of this book exists. The most recent, with a preface by R.E. Mather, attempts in a rather unprofessional manner to bias the reader by arguing only her own extreme postion on the matter, suppressing evidence to the contrary. The debate will continue, but it all begins with Dimsdale.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I couldn't finish this book. It has some interesting stories, but the writing is too dry.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jean Spang

    So hard to read. I love to read about the lives of the new settlers in the west. This book was very hard to read and comprehend. I would have enjoyed it more if it was written as stories and not legal cases.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jim Amos

    Reading this book is like learning that Santa Claus isn't real: the cowboys and original settlers of the American west, as depicted by these witness testimonies, were a bunch of drunk, gun-toting, bigoted, criminal morons. I love the language that the author uses - back then the English language was more akin to Shakespeare than the lazy colloquialisms and slang and shorthand we use today. It's like reading the script of HBO's Deadwood. It's a real pleasure in some ways. But it does drag on as a Reading this book is like learning that Santa Claus isn't real: the cowboys and original settlers of the American west, as depicted by these witness testimonies, were a bunch of drunk, gun-toting, bigoted, criminal morons. I love the language that the author uses - back then the English language was more akin to Shakespeare than the lazy colloquialisms and slang and shorthand we use today. It's like reading the script of HBO's Deadwood. It's a real pleasure in some ways. But it does drag on as a book detailing one outlaw after another without much narrative depth or attempt to draw any more than a rough sketch of each character and as such I can only justify giving it 3 stars. But what is hard to read are the stories of white cowboys getting drunk and shooting randomly into Native American settlements and murdering women & children as they slept. I can well believe such stories, as can I believe the stories of idiots with guns who sought retribution for some petty wrong by murdering a neighbor and either blowing their own foot off or killing innocent bystanders by accident. As far as I can tell that part of American life hasn't changed one bit. Some of the stories might be embellished, and the narrator might not be the most reliable historian, but you can't deny that this version of events seems a lot more likely than the romanticized, white-washed version of the early west that we often see in literature and film. As a nation we have a lot to be embarrassed and ashamed of and I'm glad Mr Dimsdale thought to record the undoing of some of these darker, more pathetic characters so that we might learn from their idiocy. One thing is clear - the idea of the gunslinger outlaw or the responsible gun owner who can be trusted to carry a deadly tool even when he's drunk or angry is a total myth. We knew this back in the 1860's and we should know it now.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    The majority of this book is about the winter of 1863-1864 in the Montana territory. It describes the illegal activity going on and the reason vigilante groups came into being. It is extremely interesting but it is difficult to read. It was written in the 1800's so the sentence structure and words used are not like we write or talk now. The author also has a very dry wit which contributes to a challenging read but if you can skip over the parts that are difficult to understand, it is well worth The majority of this book is about the winter of 1863-1864 in the Montana territory. It describes the illegal activity going on and the reason vigilante groups came into being. It is extremely interesting but it is difficult to read. It was written in the 1800's so the sentence structure and words used are not like we write or talk now. The author also has a very dry wit which contributes to a challenging read but if you can skip over the parts that are difficult to understand, it is well worth the effort. Below is a sample of the text from the chapter describing the Capture and Execution of Jake Silvie: "The candidate was placed in the center of a circle formed of desperadoes; one or two revolvers at full cock were presented at his head, and he was then informed that his taking the obligation was to be a purely voluntary act on his part; for that he was at perfect liberty to refuse to do so; only, in that case, that his brains would be blown out without any further ceremony. Though not a man of any education, Silvie could not afford to lose his brains, having only one set, and he therefore consented to proceed..."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    The stories contained in "Vigilantes of Montana" sound as if they were written in Hollywood. The author published it in serial fashion in the Montana Post while the Vigilantes were still alive, and you can see that in his writing. The writer is biased and perhaps a little scared of the men who hung so many people, but it is a good account of the Vigilantes from their side and the ways he tries to set aside the moral ambiguity of vigilante justice. While journaling the events, he also provides a The stories contained in "Vigilantes of Montana" sound as if they were written in Hollywood. The author published it in serial fashion in the Montana Post while the Vigilantes were still alive, and you can see that in his writing. The writer is biased and perhaps a little scared of the men who hung so many people, but it is a good account of the Vigilantes from their side and the ways he tries to set aside the moral ambiguity of vigilante justice. While journaling the events, he also provides a good look at western life, mob mentality, racism, and political leanings of early Montana settlers. This book accurately defines 'wild west."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    After visiting Virginia City, Montana and taking a tour I decided to learn more. So I checked this book out from the Library. It was very interesting, especially since I had been there. I found the material very interesting, but the writing style wanting. Overall though, it was a good read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christie

    This is a classic read if you are interested in in studying vigilantism, its origins, and stories of old west Montana. The book is challenging to read because the original text was written in the 1860s. But the subject matter is interesting if you enjoy Montana history.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jay E Beard

    Facts The details are in the research in this well explained narrative, of life in the western territory much can be related today with the criminal element crossing the US southern border, perhaps it's high time for t vigilantes to ride again.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Richard Caniglia

    OK for an anecdotal defense of community justice, but prose was hard to wade through. Best for the historian and those with prurient imaginations in need of grist.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tom Claycomb

    Interesting history but difficult reading The author obviously did a lot of research. But his style of writing, perhaps common at the time made this difficult reading.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paul Zimmerman

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Justice

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pat Schakelvoort

  18. 5 out of 5

    David Williams

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bill Shue

  20. 4 out of 5

    Skorch

  21. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Pratt

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bauer

  23. 5 out of 5

    SenseSeeker

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elida Jones

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Kemp

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chuck Wallace

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gary

  28. 5 out of 5

    Wayne Taylor

  29. 4 out of 5

    Allen Rizzi

  30. 4 out of 5

    Randal Bennett

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