The fourth-largest state in the Union and one of the most sparsely populated, Montana attained statehood in 1889 after 25 years as a U.S. territory and about 50 years of white settlement before that. Its sparseness and remoteness contributed to the prevalence of outlaws, both before and after statehood.

Police and Punishment

Early law enforcement was handled by federal marshals, private security forces (especially in mining settlements during and after the gold rush), town marshals, constables, and night watchmen. Formal police departments, modeled after the city police departments elsewhere in ...

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