his experiences in the upper Missouri country at the beginning of the
gold rush. A young man at the outset of the Civil War, Thompson
the Union cause but realized that military life was not for him.
to the frontier, he headed west aboard a steamboat from St. Louis in
arriving at Fort Benton, in what would later become Montana Territory.
brief - he returned east after only two and a half years. But in that
he hunted for gold, ran a Bannack mercantile business, traveled to the
Pacific Coast and back, served in Montana's first territorial
and became a speculator in mining properties.
Thompson also formed
with controversial sheriff Henry Plummer. Thompson knew the sheriff
but he early stated his dark suspicions about the gold camp lawman.
from his intimate knowledge of the circumstances and players involved,
Thompson vividly describes one of the deadliest incident's of vigilante
justice in U.S. history.
tenderfoot, Frank Thompson
recalls his days on the mining frontier with clarity and insight,
him an unmatched eyewitness for Montana's formative era..
Gold Rush, the Vigilantes, and the Birth of Montana Territory
Francis M. Thompson
Society Press, 2004.