Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors




Busy dance halls, exploding bottles, back room exchanges, and car chases: the Prohibition Era was doused with excitement. In rural Cache County, Utah, in the thick of prohibition years, a thirsty customer cautiously entered the rural residence of a known illegal brewer. The seller firmly shook his client’s hand and calmly took his order. When the customer ordered some simple beer, the brewer sent his son to fetch some bottles. The son, after heading upstairs, poked his head back down, and asked his father, “Dad…do you want me to get the beer out of the crock that the cat got drowned in or the other?” With a nervous laugh, and a side glance at the customer, the father suggested the clean beer. Like the rest of the nation, Cache County residents lived with and lived through this colorful era.

This paper explores the experiences of Cache Valley residents during the years of prohibition: what happened, citizens’ reactions, and the meaning prohibition held for these rural, nominally conservative individuals. With a large concentration of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), one might expect a fairly tranquil experience in the valley, but the reality was more complex than that. This paper compares Cache Valley citizens’ experiences moonshining, bootlegging, drinking, dancing, and outwitting law enforcement to the illicit activities throughout the State of Utah and the nation.


This work made publicly available electronically on January 3, 2011.

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Faculty Mentor

David Rich Lewis