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Incident at Big Sky: The True Story of Sheriff Johnny France and the Capture of the Mountain Men Hardcover – May 17, 1986

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 285 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (May 17, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393023346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393023343
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,122,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Beneath some of Montana's grandest mountain peaks lurked a preditor. Caught in the crosshairs of Don Nichols twisted logic was Kari Swenson. The idea of a mountain bride, stolen from a remote wooded trail. Most amazing is how the Nichols' not only managed to elude the persistance of Johnny France, but stayed one step ahead certain death in the Montana winter of 1984 with just the packs on thier backs. You wont be able to put this one down!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was attracted to this book after seeing sherriff Johnny France in the excellent movie "Buck". Buck is of course a fascinating movie and character, and Johnny France turns out to be also. Critisized by some who know him as, what, a bit of a self promoter... but then so was Wyatt Earp. True American western hero-type character and a fun read. -- and for 17 cents, what can you say.
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Format: Hardcover
Do others find it harder to write very positive reviews than very negative ones? It's hard for me to describe how much, and why, I liked this book. Expected practically nothing except average first-hand true crime story of moderate interest. What I got was like a movie playing out showing each exciting step of the chase to capture two really messed-up mountain thugs. The flavor of the area, the remoteness of the forest, all the hard living conditions, came through so clearly. There was not a lot of 'back-patting' from the sheriff who cleared the case. He distributes credit to many agencies and individuals without sugar-coating the difficulties of cross jurisdictional searches. While there isn't much word from the victim, my understanding is that the young lady did not want to dwell on what happened to her. Thus the real interest in this story is, 'How do lawmen catch experienced woodsmen who actually live in the woods for long periods of time?' That is more than answered. Don't miss out on this one, I found it unique.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Kari Swenson was abducted by a mountain man father/son team as she hiked alone on an isolated trail in the thickness of the country growth at Big Sky, Montana, as she trained for the Olympics event she meant to win. They treated her abusively in the rough mountain way as she pleaded to be released. The old man, Don Nichols, asked his son, "Shall we keep her?" Danny nodded, with "Yeah, let's keep her."

This drama played out for five months while the first rescuer was killed on Moonlight Creek in the wild forest, so close to Big Sky. "Remembering a tragedy is always painful." The long manhunt and eventual capture of the kidnappers ended peaceably due to the expertise of Sheriff Johnny France. This "drama of the confrontation between the Sheriff and the fugitives is as exciting as any fiction" and it is "a tale of high adventure in real life."

At the first trial in Virginia City where cowboys drink coffee and other liquids at Bettie's Cafe, Danny was not found guilty of murder because his father was the one who shot Al Goldstein. The district judge is described as a crusty old Southerner who 'ran a tight court' who felt that the younger man should have been found guilty as well because the murder had occurred during the course of the original felony. But the jury of rural Montana didn't see it that way. Dan got the maximum sentence to be served at the hardrock prison at Deerlodge.

A new trial ended with Don Nichols receiving guilty on both counts, murder and kidnapping and also got the maximum sentence under law. He must serve 42 years before any chance of parole. For a man his age, that is equivalent to the death sentence.

Life goes on at the Mountain Range with hot dry summers and fiercely cold winters.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On a Montana fishing trip this year, a good friend had a copy of this book. It's a fascinating account of the kidnapping of Kari Swenson, an aspiring Olympic Biathelete, her rescue and the subsequent search and capture of her kidnappers. Having fished and hiked in this Montana area, it captures the rugged determination of the men who searched for and eventually captured her kidnappers.
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By A Customer on June 23, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In contrast to the other reader, I've known Johnny France since *my* childhood LOL. This is a gripping crime story that also gives a native's glimpse into a community and a way of life that's rapidly changing. Read this as much for a taste of western Montana as it once was as much as for the murder story.
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By A Customer on June 22, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've know Johnny France since he was a young man. Without his dogged determination, these two killers might not have ever been captured. Don Nichols is still in prison and most likely will never get paroled. This book tells fascinating tale almost too strange to believe in these modern times. Great reading!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It actually started off a little to disturbing for me, if you are into true crime, then you may like it. I had to give it away, and I work in LE !!
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