I recently read The Vigilante's Bride and was struck with curiousity after just reading the title. I had never before heard of a vigilante, and immediatly looked into it. I decided it would be a cool subject for our history post this week, so after quite a bit of searching here's what I've come up with.
A vigilante by definition is someone who takes the law into their own hands by punishing someone without any legal authority. In the 1800s groups of vigilantes were carrying out what's called "frontier justice" by holding trials of accused men and women for crimes such as theft, shootings, and rustling, and then promptly hanging the accused if they found them guilty. Although this was helpful to some in the 18th century, and perhaps to many seemed like justice, it was illegal and none of the accused received a fair and orderly trial.
Vigilantes did what they believed was right, as the authorites in the 18th century in Montana where this book takes place were scarce, crimes were common, and justice rarely was dispersed. I have, since reading this, often considered whether vigilantes were good or bad, and had to decide that it just depends on the situation.
It was really neat to read about the vigilante life style in The Vigilante's Bride. Though I wouldn't consider it informative, it did make me look into it and I did enjoy learning information about it. It was very cool to learn about the vigilantes and what they stood for and carried out, and I continue to ponder whether the vigilante's actions were right. What do you think? Were the Vigilante's actions justified? :-)
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