Montana Historical Society Press

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MHS Press publishes regional books on the history and cultural resources of Montana. Book titles with asterisks (*) are available as ebooks from most major online ebook retailers.

Our award-winning quarterly, Montana The Magazine of Western History, contains articles on the history of Montana and the West. Search the magazine index for a more comprehensive catalog of articles. To purchase back issues, or for issues prior to Winter 2003, email tryan@mt.gov, call (406) 444-4708, or fill out and mail this form. Copies may be found at your local library or the MHS Research Center at mhslibrary@mt.gov.

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The Red Corner*

The Red Corner*

The Rise and Fall of Communism in Northeastern Montana

Created: Saturday, October 23, 1909

The Rise and Fall of Communism in Northeastern Montana
by Verlaine Stoner McDonald

The Red Corner chronicles the meteoric rise and decline of Communism on the prairies of northeastern Montana. During the 1920s and early 1930s, Sheridan County boasted a government largely run by Communists, a Communist camp for local youth, and an official newspaper of the Communist Party USA—the Producers News. By the mid-1930s, however, Communist influence in the region had waned, and area residents soon came to regard the county’s embrace of Communism as a shameful period in its history.

Through meticulous research in newspaper accounts, oral histories, FBI reports, and internal Communist Party files, author Verlaine Stoner McDonald reveals the colorful stories of such influential local Communists as newspaper editor and state senator Charles E. “Red Flag” Taylor and his comrade, county sheriff Rodney Salisbury, who was allegedly involved in graft, prostitution, and bootlegging. In so doing, she offers insights into how this remote part of the West came to be home to one of the nation’s most successful rural Communist organizations and how it eventually rejected radicalism and reconstituted itself as a typical farming community.

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