A Hard End for a Vigilante Leader

james williams true west
James Williams

James Williams gained a certain amount of success and notoriety when he led the Montana Vigilantes in 1864. The group hanged 21 men in just one month, cracking down on criminal activity in the territory. It was all downhill from there.  He married in 1866 (and had seven children) but found the union unhappy.  In the 1870s, he lost his ranch and belongings to debt collectors.  And after he recovered, the deadly winter of 1887 killed off his herd.  Distraught, he wandered into his pasture one cold night and committed suicide by overdosing on laudanum.

Related Posts

  • Johnny D. Boggs’s Hard Winter has all the impact of that deadly winter of 1886-87…

  • painting of arab warrior by bob boze bell

    Historian Stuart Rosebrook argues the birthplace of the cowboy is in the Atlas Mountains of…

  • Research is a treasure hunt, and author Nancy J. Taniguchi found a big, shiny nugget…