Josephine Doody (1853-1936) was a moonshiner, mountain lion hunter, and a McCarthyville, Montana dance hall girl. Known as the “Bootleg Lady of Glacier National Park,” she married one of the park’s first rangers and fur trappers, Dan Doody. A mountain in the park is named for him, and Lake Josephine might be named for her or a mule.
McCarthyville was a railroad boom town on the Great Northern Railway line at Marias Pass. The town attracted the usual low lifes who follow railroad builders. Life centered around Slippery Bill’s Saloon. According to historian Jack Holterman, the hospital’s doctor was so bad “you never knew how many men had died until the spring thaw.”
Doody pulled her rifle on the railway man in charge of the town and persuaded him to get the town under control. He did. Reportedly, Josephine was wanted for shooting a man, possibly in self defense, down in Colorado where the law was looking for her. She hid out in Dan’s cabin until the whole mess blew over.
The Great Northern built a siding on Josephine and Dan’s ranch so Jim and Louis Hill’s private car could stop. The Hill family loved the little woman with her great cooking, rough language and big earrings. Meanwhile, Dan was one of those rangers who did a little trapping and poaching within the confines of the park he was being paid to police.
Josephine operated several stills on that ranch; railroaders knew to stop their trains there and blow the whistle once for each quart of refreshment they needed.
John Fraley writes about Josephine in his book Wild River Pioneers. “She was an incredible woman who lived across the Middle Fork, in a remote area, at one point she didn’t see another woman for seven years, she was a bootlegger, that’s why she’s called the Bootleg Lady of Glacier Park,” Fraley said.