The western frontier was often a dangerous and lawless place. When justice needed to be served, there wasn't always a Sheriff and Judge available...or willing.. Instead, there were honorable and righteous men and women who stepped in to dispatch swift justice. These groups were known as Vigilance Committees and they existed across the west.
Law & order was scarce on the frontier, citizens often formed these "Vigilance Committees" to keep an eye on the community, to deal with problems and crime. When a problem arose, the Silent Riders would mount up and discreetly spread the word to other members that help was needed. Using this approach, members could remain largely anonymous to the general public and not cause a panic. Here are examples of Virginia City Old West Crime.
On June 3, 1898, James Fleming Parker was hung at the Courthouse Plaza in Prescott, Arizona. The train robber was in the Yavapai County Jail when he shot and killed Assistant District Attorney Erasmus Lee Norris during an escape attempt, a crime that sent him to the scaffold.
You will find many, if not all Silent Riders wearing this iconic noose on their clothes as a pin or a pendant, this is certainly not an insensitive gesture, but a symbol of Wild West Vigilant Law.
Sometimes hangin' wasn't enough!
Preserving the past, Into the future
The posse and gallows are long gone now, but the memories of a not too distant past remain. The Silent Riders are an all volunteer living history group, passionately dedicated to promoting the history of Virginia City and the Comstock, to ours and future generations.
What We Do
The Silent Riders fulfill our mission of promoting the Comstock by attending community events, working with local businesses, and sharing our history on the streets & boardwalks of Historic Virginia City. Most days you'll find us in and around town, speaking with visitors as we stroll the town. We're easy to spot! Just look for Victorian era and Old West attire, the Silent Rider badge, the flowing Red Ribbon Challenge Coin or the signature symbol of frontier justice: The hangman's rope. As stewards of the past, we love to share Virginia City's unique and unexpected history. As ambassadors to the future, we love to pose for photos and make your time with us memorable.
Who We Are
The Silent Riders of old came from all backgrounds and walks of life, much the way our group is today. You'll find Victorian Gentleman, Gunfighters, Cowboys, Socialites, Lawmen, and Merchants in our group. Some members even choose to be Living Historians by portraying legendary figures who actually lived & worked on the Comstock. This is not Cosplay, Steampunk or Cowboy dress up time, Many members are ex Military, Police Force, Fire and other armed services. When Antifa came to town, The Silent Riders were at hand and ready. We are Virginia City! Who could have imagined the Silent Riders would grow to be what it is today?
Photography By Melody Hoover Photography and other contributors including :Shellie McMasters, Beth Ann Gable Matheus, Sherri McGee, Nick Agorastos , Cherie Palmer Garrison, Beth Breton Stephen Richards