The guns could have turned it into something worse. The exposure is what saved the day.
However, I'm not sure I understand this. He's using land he doesn't own in order to make money but refuses to pay anything? While others do pay? I see no reason why I should be on this guy's side.
They shouldnt be on this guys side he broke the law, and after several warnings over many years to keep his livestock fenced in and off goverment grazing land he refused to pay the equivalent of a parking ticket, and when the govt started rounding up his cattle for tresspassing he called his millitia buddies, and they created such a danger to the public cause of the risk of a shootout that officials for public safety reason had to back off its sad really.