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Mainstream Media Erred About the 'Mountain Men' Kidnapping (satire)

After researching the Abducted and Abducted II movies which were filmed in Vancouver and in Squamish in 1986 and 1994, I read about the manhunt that began in July 1984 that inspired this non-exploitational exploitation movie series.

What precipitated the manhunt was the shooting of a kidnapping of a Olympic biathlon champion Keri Swenson and the murder of one of the searchers, Alan Goldstein. When it ended in December 1984, the capture of the men, a father Don Nichols and his son Dan Nichols, was completed without the firing of a single shot.

According to news reports at the time of the kidnapping, Goldstein was shot dead by Don Nichols due to the deceased carrying a gun. Around the same time, Dan Nichol critically wounded Ms Swenson.

Over the intervening years, an authorized biography was filmed by NBC in 1987.

Now the son is in news again with a timeline beginning in 2011 when he was busted at an outdoor concert in the camping area. Since then he managed to get bail and was on the lam for three months before turning himself in, according to the sheriff whose officers arrested him.

However, the US Marshals who detained Nichol dispute this claim, stating that "old-fashioned police work" contributed to his arrest. While the sheriff is using dispatcher tapes to back up his claim that Nichol turned himself in, only phone records would verify his claim but would be irrelevant because of the arrest.

IMO it is likely the US Marshals want to quash the police chief's spin, which paints Nichol as cooperative and willing to turn himself in. On the other hand, the US Marshals' spin makes me suspect Nichol might have been uncooperative and willing to avoid capture. Besides, getting busted in a Walmart parking implies a third possibility, his arrest was due to a tip off by Walmart who could request their name not be associated with a known criminal.

My motive for posting in my blog about this old crime is to point out that the articles repeats the error that the mainstream media made in 1984 when the son and his father were dubbed "mountain men".

By doing so without deriding the term or at least explaining how it came about, the local paper of Bozeman in southwest Montana is perpetuating the "mountain men" meme without just cause because neither men were actually mountain men.

Instead, they are the rural Montana version of homeless men. However, homelessness in Montana doesn't sell in the mainstream media. Indeed, Ms Swenson's father stated that the two men were anything but mountain men because they left her for dead after she got shot.

It is the opinion of anonymous to another paper in nearby Livingston that Dan Nichols is a murderer by accountability, in addition to being a burglar, common thief, kidnapper, and now drug dealer for a medical marijuana dispensary that the DEA wants closed for running an illegal marijuana grow-op enterprise.

However, in the case of the enterprise, the arrest of the Flor family contributed to the early demise of the father, Richard in August 2012, a mere four months after sentencing.

Pleading for a suspended sentence for Richard Flor, his daughter Kristin stated that jail time would only damage his health. So she asked for leniency, offering to care for her father who deteriorate rapidly since being arrested the previous year.


‘Mountain men’ kidnap-murder captured world’s attention - Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

More related stories in Bozeman Daily Chronicle:
  • Aug 25, 2011 - Younger “mountain man” pleads not guilty to drug and six other charges:
  • Mar 22, 2012 - Younger “mountain man” on the lam again:
  • Apr 19, 2012 - Federal warrant issued for 1980s 'mountain man':
  • May 23, 2012 - Marshals: 'Mountain man' didn't turn self in:

Infamous Dan Nichols - Montana Pioneer:

Kari Swenson - Wikipedia:

A Made-for-Television Movie Brings Biathlete Kari Swenson Face-to-Face with Her Past - People March 16, 1987 Vol. 27 No. 11:,,20095839,00.html

Montana man sentenced to 4 years in federal prison for growing at least 1,000 marijuana plants - ICE.GOV :

Miles City medical marijuana family sentenced:


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