When Native and M tis unrest escalated into the Northwest Rebellion of 1885, white settlers in southern Alberta's cattle country were terrified. Three major First Nations bordered their range, and war seemed certain. In anticipation, 114 men mustered to form the Rocky Mountain Rangers, a volunteer militia charged with ensuring the safety of the open range between the Rocky Mountains and the Cypress Hills. The Rangers were a motley crew, from ex-Mounties and ex-cons to retired, high-ranking military officials and working ranch hands. Membership qualifications were scant: ability to ride a horse, knowledge of the prairies, and preparedness to die. The Rangers were resolutely prepared to fight, as mounted cavalry, should the rebellion spread. This is their story, inextricably linked to the dissensions of the day, rife with skirmishes, corruption, jealousies, rumour, innuendo and gross media sensationalizing . . . all bound together with what author Gordon Tolton terms "a generous helping of gunpowder."