Man from Montana

Written by Gregory J. Lalire
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1913, Woodrow Russell Hart, aka Red Ranger, is writing an anthology about his life as a younger man. He wants to expose the dime novels written about his exploits, explaining how they were false and misleading. He writes how he, as a 14-year-old boy, along with his older brother Rufus, settle in a Montana gold mining town. Soon Rufus shoots a man in self-defense and runs away without getting caught.

Because of the rampant crime by highwaymen, a vigilante committee is formed to hang those who try to rob the miners of their gold. Because Rufus is known to associate with the highwaymen, he is on a list of possible outlaws. Hart continues trying to keep his brother from a hanging.

This novel shows the worst side of early Western justice: the vigilantes who take the law into their own hands. Vigilantes were popular in the West before sheriffs and judges arrived to provide the citizens with proper justice. In this story over twenty men are hanged for crimes many did not commit. The action is solidly paced, with an engaging story of the citizens living in early Western gold mining towns.