Tom et al, I posted this a couple years back in the remote living forum, and Hippie tracked down the link. Here it is again, figured you might enjoy it <grin>.
Many years ago, a couple of bad guys from the big city decided to do a jetboat trip from Circle, up the Yukon into Canada, and up the Fortymile River to the bridge on the Taylor Hwy. They drove from Fbks up to Circle and launched their boat, and had a friend drive their pickup back with a schedule to meet them on the Taylor Hwy.
It was a time when the river people were still living in the country, but many were at various fish camps and some were off to town buying supplies. Anyway, whether planned or not, the two guys in the jetboat decided to stop in at every vacant cabin and steal whatever they thought was of value, mostly chainsaws, generators, guns, small outboards, and tools. They managed to get away with this without being caught, but one bushrat who returned from a trip to town to find his chainsaw and genny and other belongings gone was not going to just sit idly by. He motored back upstream from the mouth of the Kandik toward Eagle, stopping in at neighbors camps and cabins asking if they too had been ripped off. They had. Someone somewhere along the way mentioned they'd seen a jetboat with a couple of guys dressed in camo clothing stop in at various places, and that this boat had continued up past Eagle.
I won't mention the bushrat's name who was out to recover his and everyone elses belongings (not me), but this guy had a reputation for being a hard-drinking and hard-fighting man back in his city days, and not one to be messed with. Gentle as a lamb and kind if he knew and liked you, not someone you really wanted to meet if it was otherwise. He continued motoring up into Canada and found that the river rats living along the river in Canada had also been ripped off, and that someone had seen a heavily loaded jetboat head up the mouth of the Fortymile. Our hero pursued, bumming gas off his riverine neighbors for the cause. It was the latter half of July and it was light all night long. About 40 long miles up the Fortymile River, after busting a prop and having to put on a spare, only ten miles from the bridge on the Taylor at about 3am he saw a jetboat moored along a gravel bar, a tent set up, no people visible. He motored close to the boat to see if he could see inside and sure enough it was completely littered with saws, gennys, tools etc. He kept motoring by so as not to wake or stir the thieves, went a mile farther and cut the motor and drifted back down to the jetboat and quietly and furtively tied alongside and loaded all the stolen goods in his boat. By that time it was nearing 6am. He tied his boat off on shore and untied the jetboat and pushed it out into the current. He took his riot shotgun, went to the tent, and yelled for the occupants to "get the hell out of there" pronto, and to come out unarmed.
The two men pleaded for mercy after seeing that their boat was no longer there and watching our pissed-off samaritan's finger twitch on the trigger of that big twelve gauge. The men explained that they were stationed at Ft Wainwright in Fbks and that an army buddy was going to meet them at the bridge and that this friend and others more combat oriented would "come looking" for them if they didn't show up. I suppose this was the final straw for our unduly deputized bushrat, and at this point he ordered the men to strip naked, which they did, and he tossed their clothes and boots into the tent and proceeded to light a match to the nylon. The men exclaimed that they had their pistols in there...and the bushrat recovered the pistols first and then lit the tent on fire. He held the naked men at bay while the tent burned, untied his now-loaded boat and told them they'd better hoof it to the bridge before the mosquitoes ate them alive. He considered not physically harming the men the greatest mercy he could ever give, for he sincerely wanted to do much more. In truth, the long journey in pursuit of the thieves had somewhat calmed his initial outrage and desire for physical revenge.
So it was that our bushrat traveled back down the river system like Santa Claus asking every river person to come look and see what might be theirs from the bounty in his jon boat. He recovered everything, including weapons, and got it all back to the right people. It was at a mid-winter trapper gathering that I first heard his story, and I didn't doubt it one bit. The only thing that surprised me was that he didn't actually hurt anyone. No word was ever heard again of the thieves...though stories did float around among some placer miners dredging the Forytmile of two naked men stumbling up the river near the bridge. The jetboat was found by someone else and then brought up to the bridge on the Taylor, where it was then found out it was stolen from a Fairbanks residence, trailer and all...these same guys just backed up to the trailer late one evening and drove off with it. One assumes the thieves made it back to civilization, but really couldn't call the authorities and tell them they'd been robbed at gunpoint.
Well...one of those bush stories that sound better around a woodstove or campfire and a bottle of aged whiskey. I will say that I personally don't think that violence is the right or proper way to deal with thieves...but I understand how people get riled over having their stuff stolen. I've always loved the frontier justice aspect of the above story though...just one of many from this neck of the woods. And lest everyone bash the military on this...their are bad apples among us all no matter what group or line of work. That's the story as I heard it though and no sense sugar coating it.