Vigilante Days & Ways
by Nathaniel P. Langford
foreword by Dave Walter
published by Farcountry Press
produced by Sweetgrass Books
- Riders in the night... impromptu "trials"... corpses dangling from cottonwood trees and makeshift scaffolds... When the outlaws called themselves "Innocents," and their leader masqueraded as sheriff...
Before formal law enforcement arrived on Montana's gold frontier, a few good men tried to restore order themselves. They succeeded for a time, but then went too far. Here is one insider's version of the story.
Langford's Vigilante's Days & Ways was first published in 1890. This edition features a vigilante oath and signatures from the Montana Historical Society.
350 pages, 6" x 9", 1 illustrations, index, 20 softcovers per case
ISBN 10: 1560370386
ISBN 13: 9781560370383
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|Vigilante Days & Ways|
Nathaniel Pitt Langford (1832-1911) was an explorer, businessman, bureaucrat, vigilante and historian from Saint Paul, Minnesota who played an important role in the early years of the Montana gold fields, territorial government and the creation of Yellowstone National Park. Langford was born in Upstate New York and moved to Saint Paul in 1854. He worked as a banker and was involved with the investment of the Saint Anthony Park neighborhood.
On June 16, 1862, Langford, as a member and officer of the Northern Overland Expedition, left Saint Paul to establish a wagon road to the Salmon River mine regions of the Rocky Mountains via Fort Benton. The expedition ended up at the Grasshopper Creek gold fields in the area soon to be named Bannack, Montana. There Langford and his fellow businessmen established freight companies, a saw mill and other businesses. In 1864, shortly after the Montana Territory was established, Langford was appointed Collector of Internal Revenue and National Bank Examiner, positions he held for five years in the Montana Territorial government.
Langford was a member of the 1870 Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition which explored portions of the region that would become the Yellowstone National Park. After his participation in the Washburn expedition, Langford was appointed as the first superintendent of the park. He soon got the nickname National Park Langford because of his initials N.P. There was no money available to offer him a salary for this new position, so he had to make his living elsewhere. This left Langford with little time to run the park, and he entered it only twice during his five years as superintendent.
Langford was also part of the vigilante movement, the infamous Montana Vigilantes, who dealt with lawlessness in Virginia City and Bannack, Montana during 1863-64. In 1890, Langford wrote Vigilante Days and Ways to chronicle the era of pioneer justice in the American Old West.
Biography and photo adapted from Wikipedia, under the Creative Commons License.