Carry took the train to Wichita and spent the first day searching for an appropriate victim. She had not intended to make herself known just yet, but lost her composure in the Hotel Carey bar room.

A large, risqué painting of Cleopatra At Her Bath caught her eye. She marched up to the bartender and shook her quivering forefinger at him. “Young man,” she thundered, “what are you doing in this hellhole?”

“I’m sorry, madam,” replied the bartender, “but we do not serve ladies.”

“Serve me?” she screamed. “Do you think I’d drink your hellish poison?” Pointing to Cleopatra, she demanded, “Take down that filthy thing, and close this murder mill.”

With this she snatched a bottle from the bar and smashed it to the floor. Carry marched out of the bar room amidst incredulous stares of the many imbibers.

Returning to her room she withdrew a heavy wooden club and an iron bar from her suitcase and bound them into a formidable weapon.

In the morning she returned to the Hotel Carey, concealing her club and a supply of stones under the black cape that became her trademark. Without a word, she began her labors by demolishing Cleopatra At Her Bath. “Glory to God, peace on earth and goodwill to men,” she shouted as she flailed against mirrors, bottles, chairs, tables and sundry accessories. Whiskey flowed in rivers across the floor.

The hotel detective found Mrs. Nation beating furiously on the long, curving bar with a brass spittoon. “Madam,” he said sternly, “I must arrest you for defacing property.”

“Defacing?” she screamed. “I am destroying!”

Carry A. Nation – axe-wielding wild woman of the American Temperance Movement. 

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