The Law: The Moonshine War

When he fires up a secret still, a moonshiner violates no fewer than eleven federal laws, including one that commands him to display a sign "disclosing his name and occupation." Even so, moonshiners are tougher to catch than Viet Cong guerrillas. They booby-trap stills, wire the woods with hidden buzzers, warn one another with trained dogs and walkie-talkies. Only the best-trained woodsmen among federal agents can track them, usually at night when both sides flit through the back hills armed to the teeth.

In 1958, Congress tried to give the feds a boost by passing a law that creates a presumption of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!