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Militia Man

Militia Man
47:59 | 1997

Categories: War, Politics

Calvin Greenup calls himself the Montana Coordinator for the North American Volunteer Militia. A striking, charismatic leader, he is threatening officials in the town of Hamilton, MT with death for trying to enforce the law. He claims to have followers in the thousands who are armed and angry and ready to assemble to help him overwhelm local law enforcement.

This film shows how one judge, Martha Bethel, a single mother of three children, finds the courage to do her job and speak out against the militia. A "People's Court," of which Greenup is secretary, threatens to bring Bethel to trial on charges of treason. A finding of guilty, a local newspaper reporter says, would subject Judge Bethel to hanging - punishment for refusing to dismiss two traffic tickets against a militia member.

Towns people rally. Militia men are arrested. Trials take place. Called to testify, Greenup threatens the court - judge, prosecutors, sheriff - with his opinion they should all be tried for treason, convicted and executed by firing squad. A number of militia men are found guilty on felony charges and are sentenced to six to ten years in prison. Greenup is still free but he has lost his family ranch to debts incurred in his battle with the state. Judge Bethel breaks easier. Then another militia man begins to create turmoil in another Hamilton court.

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