A Montana legislator rode a horse about a half-mile over muddy roads to meet for about an hour Friday with the freemen.
The return of state Rep. Karl Ohs indicated a negotiated end to the freemen-FBI standoff was still being pursued. But Ohs said after the session that he was returning home and had no further visits scheduled.
Federal officials say shutting off power to the ranch also is an option. Workers were testing generators brought to keep electricity running to about three dozen neighboring homes in the rolling grain and cattle country near Jordan.
The generators, obtained by the FBI from Aggreko Inc., a generator rental company based in Louisiana, were trucked to two locations near the ranch where the freemen have been holed up for almost two months.
Ohs, wearing a yellow slicker and cowboy hat, entered the freemen compound in a cold drizzle about 2 p.m. He described his talks with the freemen as “frank and cordial,” but wouldn’t discuss specifics.
Asked about his forecast for the outcome, Ohs replied: “I’m always hopeful.” But he said he doesn’t know if or when he might return.
He said he rode on horseback because the thick gumbo mud has made rural roads virtually impassable to vehicles.
The FBI believes 18 people, three of them children, are at the ranch that the freemen call Justus Township.