To continue on the theme of booze and how hard it would have been to find some during the time our mystery diarist was writing: I found the below at http://100megsfree3.com/mickmc/rich2.html, accessed 1/19/14.

“Prohibition began in 1920 and continued throughout the ’20s.  Officials (in Montana) knew they were fighting an uphill battle.

Not only would liquor come in by air, but also a ground route for rum-running stretched from Great Falls north to the Canadian line.  Dubbed Bootlegger Trail, a name still used, it allowed whiskey to flow illegally from Canada.

In addition, do-it-yourself violators were so numerous Phohibition agents could not keep up.  When they did bust a transgressor, the reception was chilly.

Just before Halloween in 1923, state prohibition officers entered the home of Mrs. Charles Wilbur (in Great Falls) armed with a search warrant.   As Gene Van Wert, a state officer, bent over to examine two gallons of moonshine liquor, she knocked him behind the ear with an ax, then clubbed a Wert aide in the head as well.

“Her skill at swinging the ax is not up to the standards set by woodsmen, for which fact the officers give thanks,” the Great Falls Tribune reported October 20th.   Mrs. Wilbur was disarmed, then arrested, then was released because she had several small children.

By March, 1924, a Tribune editorial bemoaned widespread violations of Prohibition laws, citing an estimate that half of Montana’s liquor violations were flatly ignored.

“The way in which boys and girls in their teens have become addicts of the ‘hip flask’ shocks the federal authorities,” the Tribune said.  Montana’s half-wet, half-dry status placed the state on a par with nearby Minnesota, North Dakota, Washington and Oregon in only half enforcing Prohibition laws…

By 1926, Montanans were fed up with the alcohol ban, passing a referendum that removed the state from the Prohibition enforcement business.  Federal agents would have to police liquor violations alone.”

Wow!  As regards the sentiment of Montanans then and now, the below photo about sums it up:

Image

So even if it was on the down-low, I’m about sure that there was beer at that card game on our diarist’s little ranch, that damp spring of 1922.

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