It was around 1922 when my great Uncle went to Montana to find work in the mines there.
It was not like Arkansas, in Montana, he found out very soon. There were more horses in
town than cars. There were at least 8 saloons and poker palaces. There was only two jobs
you could find then; mining and cattle. Red started out in the mines around Butte but found
he had no love of deep, dark holes. So he hired on with a large cattle company near there.
The work was tiring, dirty, and long. No 8 hour days or 5 day weeks. It was 6 am to 7 pm
everyday except for Sunday. There was all kinds of work to be done and he was a roustabout.
He did all the dirty low end jobs because he didn't know anything about horses or cattle. But
after a while he got better jobs and better pay. Now, Red was a moonshiner back in Arkansas
as was his brother, Charlie, (my grandpa). So it wasn't long before he saw a real need for
some shine in them thar hills. He found two buddies that were willing to go into this adventure
with him, and they started with a 30 gallon still. After a couple of months they had to quit
their jobs so they could make shine all the time. Well, it became knowledge around the town of
Butte that they was doing this. It soon came to the attention of one of the local barroom owners,
that their sales was way down. They put 2 and 2 together and now something had to be done about
them boys and their stills.
So in the summer of 1923, the tavern owners got together with a posse of cattle regulators and
swooped down on my uncle and his band, and destroyed their 3 stills. Then one of the shiners
made a mistake of drawing his weapon on an old friend of his who had turned him in. He let
go a shot from his pistol, hitting his friend dead in the center of his chest. The man fell dead.
It turned out that this guy had LOTS of friends and they all drew their weapons and put over
80 holes into the shiner. When the smoke had cleared, the regulators suggested they hang the
other two. But instead, one of the tavern owners, befriended them and put them on the next
train headed somewhere else. Well, Red wound up back in Arkansas, and worked the stills with
my grandpa until he died. The other guy wound up in Oklahoma where he was hanged by some
town folk for trying to sell illegal alcohol in a dry county.