After the great flood of 1844,
the Kaw were poorly housed, sick, and starving. Increasing
numbers of Kaws resorted to raiding the Santa Fe Trail caravans
or stealing from the settlements near the mouth of the Kansas
River, where, according to one observer, unscrupulous white men operated "whiskey shops
in their [the Kaw's] place, using every stratagem in their power to get the
Indians to drink."