Vigilante Days & Ways

by Nathaniel P. Langford

foreword by Dave Walter

published by Farcountry Press

  • Riders in the night... impromptu "trials"... corpses dangling from cottonwood trees and makeshift scaffolds...

    First published in 1890, Vigilante Days & Ways breathes life into Montana's early history. Author Nathaniel Langford, paints a vivid and lively image of a wild, lawless frontier during Montana's gold rush.

    A vigilante himself, Langford profiles the rise and fall of outlaw and sheriff Henry Plummer. He reveals early Montana as a prospector's dream flooded with hopefuls seeking gold and vast riches. As ambition and greed spiraled into bloodshed, vigilante citizens banded together to exact their own justice.

    A true account from the Montana Territory, Vigilante Days & Ways plunges readers into the majesty and danger of the pioneer era. Langford lets us ride with vigilantes on the trail of outlaws, hanging on for wild chases and swift justice at the end of a rope.

    This is the Old West as it truly way—where the line between hero and villain may be slimmer than you think.

350 pages, 6 x 9, 1 illustrations, index, 20 softcovers per case

ISBN 10: 1560370386
ISBN 13: 9781560370383

January 1996


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Vigilante Days & Ways

Vigilante Days & Ways align=

Nathaniel P. Langford align= 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.

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