Thursday, September 15, 2011

More "Saloons of the Old West"

True to my word for a change, here's some more words on the subject book:

Chapter 4's heading is Walnut, Glass and Brass, and it discusses the interior decoration of the saloons with descriptions and photos of some of the large wooden bars and mirrors that the owners put up to entice the "red noses." They were quite a contrast to the dreary exteriors of many of the buildings in the old west.  

Chapter 5 explains the bartenders, and talks about some of the characters, good and bad, who mixed the drinks good and bad, and tells of one of the females punching out a heavyweight boxer.

Chapter 6 - Painting One's Nose discusses the customers, the various types of drinkers up until Prohibition sets in. The cowboys, miners, those passing through towns, salesmen, politicians, their drinking habits and attitudes.

Chapter 7 reviews the concoctions drunk by the miners, cowboys, easterners, and everyone else and how much. Some of the drinks were laced with turpentine, gun powder, chili peppers, fusil oil, and what have you. Anything that was handy was added, good or not. The "firewater" was terrible, but was made that way to show the Indians it wasn't plain, old water and the seller would light it up to demonstrate that it wasn't water.

Chapter 8 goes on about the sleeping arrangements and the food provided in the saloons. From the downright nasty-tasting starters to the luxurious offerings of the gold strike days, even a short bit on the Harvey Girls and also the Free Lunch days.

Chapter 9 covers the uses of the saloons for preaching and funerals. It describes some of the history and early preachers of the west - the fire and brimstone types to the more normal preachers who drank and ones who didn't, the con artists who used religion to buy his poke and sleeping accommodations, and the saloon as a funeral parlor - A pretty funny chapter.

Chapter 10 reviews the meteing out of justice by the judges and juries in the old west. Some of the sentences handed down were humorous and some (most, it seems) deadly. As an example, in Montana a man was hung after he was killed by the hometowners as being "dangerous."

More in a later post after I catch up on reading.


  1. I like the terms for "whiskey" in the West: forty-rod, valley tan, etc. Many of those concoctions were true "rotgut."

  2. The "concoctions" would certainly make for interesting reading. The endless inventive human mind. At work destroying itself. :)

  3. Some of them caused premature deaths for sure.