• The Vigilantes of Montana

  • Popular Justice in the Rocky Mountains
  • By: Thomas J. Dimsdale
  • Narrated by: Steve Coulter
  • Length: 8 hrs and 50 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (95 ratings)

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The Vigilantes of Montana

By: Thomas J. Dimsdale
Narrated by: Steve Coulter
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Publisher's Summary

The classic Old West narrative of the chase, trial, capture, and execution of outlaw Henry Plummer and his road agent band.

In the gold rush era of Virginia City, Montana, crime was afoot and justice shaky. Lawlessness ran amok in the form of gamblers, saloonkeepers, miners, dance hall girls, and road agents - outlaws who ambushed travelers on the road for a chance to steal precious gold.

Of all the road agents, Henry Plummer was their king and elected sheriff. Plummer’s notorious road-agent band terrorized the highways until a group of ordinary citizens resolved to take the responsibility of social governance into their own hands. In the year 1863, these righteous, disgruntled men rose to form the Montana Vigilantes, a watch group that proclaimed judgment over the criminals. In less than a month, the Montana Vigilantes pursued, captured, tried, and hung Plummer’s road agents, including Plummer himself. Their acts of heroism, which consisted of hasty trials and quickly arranged executions, were also colored by controversy.

The Vigilantes of Montana is an electrifying tale of old-world Montana where villains ran astray, citizens exercised justice, and lines were blurred in a mining town too young for legitimate law enforcement. This true eyewitness account comes alive with elements of gold, greed, murder, nostalgia, and romance that will thrill any fan of American history.

©2014 Skyhorse Publishing (P)2014 Audible Inc.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about The Vigilantes of Montana

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Brutal violence in a lawless territory

I'm pretty familiar with the vigilantes' story and enjoyed time at Bannack State Park, it has the spirits in the wind much like the Custer Battlefield. There is something sickening about the mob violence in some of the story. One poor guy got lynched for murder while the victim was still alive. The shooting victim survived alright and the 'justification' for the hanging was that the bullet went into the rib cage. The vigilantes were out of their minds at times. Dimsdale's prose is antiquated English, hard to read but much easier to follow through the narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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Montana history at it's finest

As a primary source, this book is enormously valuable. Obviously the author, a contemporary and close associate of the Montana vigilantes, was biased in favor of them. Thus anything he said should be taken with a grain of salt. That being said, this book was a great source on early Montana history, mountain history, and the gritty realities of the frontier.

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointed

The description had so much potential. But the first two chapters were generalities and over written. When getting down to the story, it just seemed like a list of names and I couldn’t keep track of who was a gang member, victim, or vigilante. Not enough there to make the story narrative hold together. Didn’t finish the book.

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BORING

Slow and boring … I kept waiting for it to get good and it never did 🥱

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Amazing history. Amazingly written and narrated.

Great book. Definitely worth the time. Would absolutely advise anyone to listen to it.

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Rough justice on the margins of civilization.

Rough justice on the margins of civilization.

Dimsdale's 1866 history of the citizens of Alder Gulch (Montana territory) forming a "Vigilance Committee" and their attempts to thwart/capture the notorious Plummer gang in 1864is a fascinating look into life on the frontier as people try to create ordered society out of nothing.

Living beyond formal law and order, citizens take it upon themselves to structure a free settlement, elect judges, prosecutors, and committee members all for the purpose of ensuring that brigands and "road agents" can't continue to prey on them or other travelers. When captured, many are summarily hanged, but not without at least the semblance of a "trial." Sometimes these trials occur back in town where, with only the common law to guide them, juries hear evidence and render judgement. Sometimes, these trials are more immediate affairs occurring out beyond the tree line where the victim's friend/witness is with the posse when the bandit is captured and that's all the evidence necessary. More often than not, the verdict is guilty, and the sentence is hanging, but not always, and Dimsdale does recount a couple of instances of people being acquitted.

While the writing is not the strongest (a bit too Victorian-lite), what comes through is the quintessential "Americanness" of everyone involved. Despite Alder Gulch being just another mining town/camp, there's a real attempt to form an ordered settlement with the principles of open debate, rule of law, and even due process around every corner. The repeated tales of a road agent gunning someone down, the posse being formed and riding out, and later capturing the desperado begins to get repetitive, but by the same token, this is how these people lived and operated. Western cliches existed for a reason, and "The Vigilantes of Montana" shine a fine little light on a slice of it.

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Good listen

Im a huge fan of the Wild West especially Montana where I live. This book was really good. I kept going back to listen twice. I only do that with interesting books. The narrator was pleasant as well. I would definitely recommend.

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Good story bad writing

Story it was good, but it did not flow well.Author use the thesaurus way too much while writing this book. By using big words the book read more like a textbook not a story of the old West.

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just awful

droning voice, just blah, boring sound, is it possible to hear a voice on the chalkboard, yes, this guys voice