THE REAL way to become acquainted with the people of the Koyukuk is to visit the Wiseman roadhouse some evening at the end of supper time. You stop in the stormshed in front of the main entrance and stamp the snow from your feet. Then you open the door and enter a large room 'in which about a dozen men, dressed in overalls and wool, are seated on common cane chairs or are sprawling over the counter of what is apparently a store.
As your eyes wander around the room you notice about two thirds of the way down its fifty foot length an old-fashioned bar, a transposed relic of the saloon days. Behind this bar is the kitchen and pantry of the roadhouse, with a large black stove, several sinks, a carving table, a safe, dishes (clean and dirty), canned goods, and an amazing assortment of junk occupying entirely inadequate space.
In front of the bar, in the center of the room, the most conspicuous object is a long table capable of seating two dozen people. It is covered with blue and white oil-cloth. At the far end four or five places are occupied by men just finishing their meal. In the center are the bowls and dishes from which all serve themselves to what they want of the roast moose, moose stew, boiled potatoes, carrots, cabbage, bread, butter, cake, blueberries, and custard pudding.