Beaver Bailey The Four-Fingered, Moonshine-Making, Pot-Growing Kentuckian Is Living The True American Dream

Mark Laita, a documentarian, offers an insightful and unparalleled perspective on the lifestyle of moonshiner Beaver Bailey through his interview series 'Soft White Underbelly'.

Beaver Bailey resides in the Appalachian mountains of Harlan County, Kentucky. He has a history of serving time in prison, evading the law, and losing his wife to cancer in 2011.

Bailey subsists entirely off of the land, hunting animals such as deer, bears, and turkeys solely for sustenance. He asserts that "You sleep better at night" in reference to avoiding prison. Despite the ban on alcohol sales in Harlan County, Bailey earns a living in the traditional manner of his ancestors, by distilling moonshine.


The father, who had a daughter born in jail, claims that he can survive for 2 to 3 years using only the resources from the land and his garden. Despite this, he faces obstacles. Not only did Bailey not complete 8th grade until he was 18, but his brother-in-law amputated his pinky finger during a wood-chopping accident.

One could argue that Beaver Bailey embodies the true American dream by cultivating marijuana, producing moonshine, and residing in an area without a hospital within two hours' distance.