Mojave Desert - True Facts, Legends, & Lies

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Shoshone Bob

The screwbean mesquite -- properly prepared, these things will kill you

Shoshone Bob was a Shoshone Indian who lived out near Beatty east of Death Valley. He fermented a concoction of mesquite beans, bottled up a few jars and passed them around. The wild-eyed drunk that the aged soup produced was nothing compared to the delirium and illness it also caused. Yet, in times of prohibition any recipe that would give you a buzz and didn't kill you had a marketable potential. Bob's white friend Bill, had a buddy that was a State chemist. Bill mailed a sample to his pal and waited for an analysis. He was very careful not to include information that would tip off his friend's supervisor as to the nature of the elixir.

Weeks had passed, then months. Bill forgot about the analysis and got on about other things. Finally, one day there was a letter from the State. Bill opened it and read;


Your horse died of diabetes.

As retold from Harry Oliver's Desert Rat Scrapbook

More about the mesquite