Untold Story of the Montana Freemen

By Pat Shannan

With the passing of Leroy Schweitzer last month in Colorado’s super-max federal prison in Florence, questions loom as his family awaits the results of a private autopsy. Over halfway through a 22-year sentence, Schweitzer had been a model prisoner and had never harmed anyone to be put there in the first place. Why was he still under lockdown 24 hours a day, seven days a week, next to such notorious killers as mob hit men and alleged “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski?

Memories are stirred when looking back on these events. The few of us privy to the Freemen’s side of the story, compared to the millions deluded by media propaganda, knew that Attorney General Janet Reno had unfairly targeted these people. More importantly, we knew why.

Nothing like the disparaging media portrayal of “armed and dangerous,” the Montana Freemen were businessmen and ranchers, some even millionaires and one the mayor of Cascade. They embodied true Americanism by demanding government adherence to constitutional law and had little patience with the large majority of Americans that willingly endure the inconveniences of government interference in their lives. The ensuing 81-day siege at the 960-acre Clark Ranch in central Montana was provoked by an unwarranted sneak attack by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and not a frontal assault by these law-abiding citizens who had never swung a punch or been accused of shooting anyone.


Following years of in-depth legal research, Schweitzer and Dan Petersen, both referred to as “leaders” (mistakenly, because the Freemen were never an organized group), began to educate others locally. Soon, however, many students came, from several states. Their legal instruction included the fraud committed against American citizens by the Federal Reserve System, and more importantly, how to counter it.

But the Freemen went beyond merely pointing out this evil. In their anger, they engaged in the same practice of creating funds in an effort to call attention to the crimes of the Fed and, perhaps, bring it down.

They did this by suing federal judges and others while securing what they believed to be “perfected liens” that they converted into certified bank drafts, which were then used to pay off government debt, mainly farm foreclosures and Internal Revenue Service liens.

Feeling the heat, the FBI attacked on March 25, 1996. Agents and their paid informant lured Schweitzer and Petersen into a phony copy machine purchase, then stun-gunned and beat them into submission. Twenty-two other men and women went into seclusion at the Clark Ranch outside of Jordan in central Montana. It was then the media propaganda blitz began, driving the Freeman to fear being jailed or killed. On June 13, 1996 they finally agreed to walk out of the ranch into awaiting handcuffs, lengthy court hearings and jail. Only Petersen and Russ Landers remain incarcerated to this day.

In 1996, during this writer’s first visit to Jordan, Montana, the Freemen showed the evidence of 38 instances where Schweitzer had signed drafts, drawn from funds created from unchallenged summary judgments, and not only paid off liens but received in many cases five-figure government refunds for overpayment. The bank drafts were obviously “money,” at least as legitimate as the thin air creations by the Fed.

That’s why the federal government considered these men dangerous—not because they might have owned guns and not because they were a physical threat to anyone. It was the Freemen’s knowledge—and their passing it on to others—that created the Fed’s fear of exposure of its fraudulent system.

Considering the current outrage at the inflation caused by the Fed’s creation of trillions of dollars of credit money for the ultra-wealthy, it is fair to assume that the Freemen may have arrived on the scene just a little too early.

Pat Shannan

Pat Shannan is an AFP contributing editor and the author of several best-selling videos and books.

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7 Comments on Untold Story of the Montana Freemen

  1. I don’t really have anything to say about all this. I just want to make sure that I’m included on TheList™ of trouble makers who have read the Constitution.
  2. I met LeRoy and went to his school in Montana twice and stayed out the house one time. The guy answering the phones was a plant by the feds. I was the first to raise the alarm when LeRoy was taken and tried calling and I don’t remember if it was no answer or disconnected. I called the DoJ’s office and found out. I kept a website for several years and the DoJ attorney actually wanted me to take it down and you can guess what the answer was. They were on to something but the thing of threatening the judges for their corruption is probably not a good move. May LeRoy Rest in peace as he fought the good fight, which very few will.


  3. As a student of the law who had made the trip twice to Montana to participate in Leroy’s teachings, I had never been more impressed with an individual as I was with Leroy and the team up there. The knowledge and conviction they had was something American is missing today.

    I spent quite a bit of time in Colorado with Russ Landers and Dana Dudley who contributed to our law club there before the events transpired. I later spent a year in prison myself fighting for truth and law in Colorado and subsequently, over time, lost many contacts and resources. I eventually wrote a book on my experiences which I hope will help inform America of many important lessons we need to learn.

    I’d love to find copies of good quality videos of Leroy’s classes and would be willing to pay for them. The sound quality on the ones on YouTube is not very good and isn’t always clear. If you can help, or would like info on the book ONE FREEMANS WAR IN THE SECOND AMERICAN REVOLUTION, contact me here.

    Thank you.

  4. “Agents and their paid informant lured Schweitzer and Petersen into a phony copy machine purchase,” means the PURCHASE was phony not the machines. Duh.

    Schweitzer et al. began to include after their signatures on all of the court filings the words “of Freeman Character,” which was a term used by the American colonists of the 1700s in their arguments against the British tyranny.

    Art can get an autographed copy of THE MONTANA FREEMEN – The Untold Story from Oceana Management Co., Suite 134, 4290 Bells Ferry Road, Kennesaw, Georgia [30144] for only $20, S&H included.

    Another little known tidbit is that in December of the following year, the courthouse where so many of those documents had been filed, mysteriously burned to the ground—taking all that Freemen evidence with it.

  5. As usual, Pat has a few of his facts mixed up. LeRoy and Dan went with the FBI plant, Tim Healy was his name if memory serves, and several other agents pretending to be there to assist in building a new radio tower on top of the lookout hill. Nobody really knows why they went out with none of us as backup; but they did, even though almost everyone on the ranch voiced our concerns that it was a trap.

    There was nothing phony about the commercial grade copy machines (two, not one) that were bought with drafts or warrants from either LeRoy, Dan, Rod or Dale. I don’t remember those details, as they occurred shortly before my sons and I arrived there about a week before the attack. Both sales were consummated, as literally hundreds of others involving local electric company, IRS and various State taxing authorities.

    Also, Richard Clark is still locked up, along with Dan Petersen and Russell Dean Landers.

    Oh, here’s a tidbit you’ve probably never heard before. In preparing our own case from jail, we put two separate packages in the mail, each containing a bond in the form of a UCC-3 partial assignment from one of Rod’s liens, in the amount of one trillion dollars. We prepared and sent the second package because the first one was intercepted by FBI agents or U.S. Marshals and physically taken to the wrong court, then later returned to LeRoy WITHOUT the one trillion dollar bond! The second package suffered a similar fate. Now the punch line: If you’ll recall William Jefferson Clinton announced shortly thereafter that his administration had surprisingly located TWO TRILLION DOLLARS that he proceeded to use in paying down the federal debt. Not many folks knew about the source of those funds. I did because I was there. LeRoy was like a brother to me. I was deeply saddened when I heard we’d lost him.

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