3 December 2007
DIMSDALE, Thomas J. (d. 1866). The Vigilantes of Montana, or Popular Justice in the Rocky Mountains. Being an Impartial Narrative of the Chase, Trial, Capture and Execution of Henry Plummer's Road Agent Band... Virginia City, Mont.: Montana Post Press, D.W. Tilton, 1866.
8o (170 x 121 mm). 4-page advertisement at end. (Title and last leaf with sections renewed at gutter and corner.) Original printed yellow wrappers, advertisements printed on inner wrappers (spine and portion of front wrapper renewed with loss of some text); quarter morocco folding case.
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST BOOK PRINTED IN MONTANA, called by Charles Dickens "the most interesting book I ever read" (quoted in Edward Eberstadt, The William Robertson Coe Collection of Western Americana, 1948, p. 55). Dimsdale's book concludes with this summation of the vigilante state: "Leave us the power of the people, as a last resort; and where governments break down, the citizens will save the State. No man need be ashamed of his connection with the Virginia Vigilantes" (p. 227). "Perhaps no book excells [sic] Dimsdale's in presenting the picture of the lawless conditions that characterized the mining camps of the Rocky Mountain Country. The author was editor of the Virginia City Montana Post and a participant in the extraordinary campaign against lawlessness...Exceedingly rare" (Adams). "Not only the first, but textually the most important, book ever printed in Montana" (Howes). Adams Six Guns 596; Graff 1086; Howes D-345 ("b"); Montana Imprints 2; Streeter sale IV:2221; Streeter Americana Beginnings 72. SCARCE IN WRAPPERS.
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