Carol first became interested in the Vigilantes of Montana on a family road trip shortly before she entered eighth grade in Kalispell, MT. "You'll be studying Montana history," said her father. "We might as well see where history happened." After supper one night in Virginia City, she went for a walk and stepped inside the Hangman's Building. As she read the names on the beam where the Vigilantes hanged five men, she heard the ropes creak on the dry wood and felt a chill.
She left the building, but never forgot the experience.
48 years later, as she and her husband, Dick Buchanan, thought about retiring from their jobs near Seattle, she brought him home. He fell in love with Kalispell, and they moved here in 2001. She continued researching the Vigilantes to learn whether they were the "good guys" or the "bad guys." What she discovered turned into four historical novels and two classes in Montana's early history at FVCC: Montana's Vigilante History (2013 - 2018) and Becoming Montana (2021 -- ongoing).
The novels are the "Vigilante Quartet": God's Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana; the Devil in the Bottle: The Tragedy of "Jack" Slade; Gold Under Ice; and The Ghost at Beaverhead Rock. Together they have won Spur and Spur finalist awards from the Western Writers of America, and a "Spirit of Dorothy Johnson" award from the Whitefish Library Association.
Carol is currently working on her fifth novel, A Time of Trial.