ND film’s original story covered by The Minot Daily News

Last weekend about 500 people attended a premiere of the North Dakota film “End of the Rope” at Oak Park in Minot, according to the film’s producer Daniel Bielinski. The Minot theater is one of seven theaters in the state to premiere the film.

“End of the Rope” is a film about the last lynching in North Dakota, when on Jan. 29, 1931, Charles Bannon, a farmhand who had confessed to murdering several months earlier six members of the Albert Haven family who lived north of Schafer in McKenzie County, was hanged by a lynch mob.

Through the reporting of the late Raymond C. Dobson, The Minot Daily News covered the story about the missing Haven family, and the following arrest and lynching of Bannon. Dobson also testified at the inquest following the lynching.

The film is based on the book, “End of the Rope. The True Story of North Dakota’s Last Lynching,” by the late Dennis E. Johnson of Watford City. Johnson researched the story for many years.

Dobson got involved in the news coverage of the case when he received a phone call from an unidentified person the night of the lynching. He said, in information about him on file at this newspaper, the person said “if he wanted a good story he ought to come over to McKenzie County right away.”

As the true newsman he was, Dobson, who had already been covering the story of the disappearance of the Haven family, headed to McKenzie County. He didn’t get there in time — Bannon was hanged from a bridge at Schafer, east of Watford City. Dobson continued to follow up and write about the case even at various times during his many years with The Minot Daily News. He held various positions during his several decades at The Minot Daily News, including publisher emeritus. He died in 1991 at age 88.

Newspaper writers like Dobson of The Minot Daily News cover and write many stories during their careers. These stories are archived in libraries and other locations for reference. Without newspaper coverage and archiving, much of the histories of communities, etc., would be lost.


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