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New Yorker Edwin Purple, as editor Kenneth N. Owens points out, was not remarkable in what he did or how he wroteabout it (no literary brilliance here, but no purple prose either). Still, anyone interested in the Montana gold rush will delight inhis firsthand account of that exciting boom era. Purple sailed to California in 1850 in search of gold and then went to Salt LakeCity before venturing north to what would become Montana Territory. He set up a store in Bannack City in December 1862and stayed for a year before ill-health forced him to return home to New York. He never made it back to Montana, but he didwrite an account of his experiences there before dying of pneumonia at age 48 early in 1879. The account, Owens says, wasmost likely based on a journal he kept during his travels. That account breaks off (perhaps because of Purple’s ill health) inSeptember 1863, which will disappoint some readers, because that was just before the start of the now-controversial MontanaVigilante movement that resulted in the hanging of more than 20 men, including Sheriff Henry Plummer, in a month’s time. ButPurple does have some things to say about Plummer–Plummer was unremorseful when he came into Purple’s store aftershooting Jack Cleveland (called Jack Cunningham by Purple); Plummer “undoubtedly instigated the murder and death of[Undersheriff William] Dillingham”; and Plummer was “the spirit who ruled and directed this band [of road agents] through allthese scenes of bloodshed and robbery.” Owens says that Purple “substantiates the substance of the case against Plummer andhis associates first made in print by Thomas Dimsdale” and “makes still more tenuous the recent attempt by authors R.E.Mather and F.E. Boswell to strike, as it were, a historical plea bargain on behalf of Plummer….” (see Mather’s story onPlummer in the August 1993 Wild West and an earlier Plummer article in the June 1992 Wild West). Perhaps, but one canonly wish that Purple had been in better health in the fall of 1862 and had stayed on in Montana to shed more light on theextraordinary hanging spree soon to come.