Ken Burns Classroom

The Good Bootlegger

Ken Burns Film: Prohibition

Collections: Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930)

Subject: US History

Grade Level: 7-12

Video Run Time: 6:09

Short biographical “introduction” to Roy Olmstead, a Seattle police officer turned bootlegger. As Olmstead became one of the West Coast’s more successful suppliers of alcohol, he ordered his lieutenants not to use guns to ensure delivery of liquor, and instead relied on the corruption of other public officials to ensure he would not be caught. Olmstead’s customers knew they were receiving the best-quality merchandise from him.