Friday April 18, 2014
photo: Will Grigg
War came to the Western Range that April, a conflict pitting the forces of order and respectability against a restive band of extremists accused of cheating the government of what it was due. The prohibitively stronger side consisted of regulatory agencies allied with powerful non-governmental organizations determined to control the land and expel small private interests who made productive use of it. The unyielding demands of the political elite were met with the unflinching defiance of rural ranchers, leading to talk of a “range war.”
Eventually the ranchers exhausted the patience of the government, which deployed dozens of heavily armed Regulators to the county under orders to put down the rebellion. This would mean arresting – or shooting – anybody who resisted. Rather than submitting, the rebels – with the support of the county sheriff and the aid of several veterans of the most recent war – mobilized to confront the threat. Citizens coalesced into a militia and rode out on horseback to confront the invaders at their staging area.
To the consternation of the government and the respectable media, the rebels held their ground, forcing the Regulators to retreat.