Theirs had been a traditional love story in the heartland. Randy Weaver grew up playing Little League in small-town Iowa. Later, he attended a few years of community college in Fort Dodge, where he spent nights cruising the streets in his Mustang with friends. He dropped out to join the Army and became a Green Beret. Vicki Weaver was raised on a farm and could sew, cook, knit — you name it. In high school, she was an A student, and an enthusiastic member of the Pleasant Valley Pixies 4-H. After they were married in 1971, Randy took a job at a John Deere tractor factory and Vicki worked as a secretary at Sears. They settled in Cedar Falls in a tidy, white and brick house on a pretty, tree-lined street. Soon they had three children: Sara, Sam, and Rachel. By all accounts, they were an attractive, gentle couple who looked out for their neighbors.
How, reporter Jess Walter would wonder after it was all over, had a couple of all-American kids ended up on a mountaintop in remotest Idaho, armed with guns and the belief that the U.S. government was going to kill them? And how had it come to pass that they were right?