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Hanging the sheriff : a biography of Henry Plummer /
R.E. Mather and F.E. Boswell.
Salt Lake City : University of Utah Press, 1987.
vi, 226 p. ; 25 cm. --
0874803004 :
More Details
added author
Salt Lake City : University of Utah Press, 1987.
0874803004 :
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
Bibliography: p. [213]-217.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1987-12:
The assumption that Henry Plummer, the young sheriff of the gold mining town of Bannock, Montana, was actually a desperado leading a band of cutthroat highwaymen as a sideline has never before been seriously challenged, but Mather's book certainly forces a thoughtful reappraisal of the issue. Plummer left Maine in his 20th year to find his fortune in the California gold fields. By the time of his arrival in 1852, the search for precious metal led the argonauts seductively over the mountains to Nevada, Idaho, and Montana. Plummer's recognized leadership ability earned him a position as marshall of Nevada City, California. His response to the demands of enforcing peace, however, and his adoption of the code of the West that demanded a violent reaction to situations better managed by arbitration, soon earned him a six-month stay in San Quentin. Dogged by a reputation that discouraged any further career in law enforcement, Plummer in 1863 took passage on a riverboat at Fort Benton to return to the east. He met his future bride, returned to Bannock, ran for sheriff and won, and set in motion a chain of events that saw him hung by vigilantes on January 10, 1864. This fine biography illustrates the tragic deficiencies of vigilantism, explores the process by which mining towns instituted law and order, and provides an exciting, documented account of life in mid-19th-century western American mining camps. Though flawed by an organization that is neither topical nor chronological, the book will interest readers at all levels, from the general public through graduate students and faculty.-V.T. Avery, Northern Arizona University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 1987
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