Atalanta of Greek mythology was a swift-footed huntress who, unwilling to be tethered down by marriage, only agreed to marry he who could outrun her in a footrace—but those whom she overtook in the race, she killed. But Melanion, who was "so peerless in love of toil," knew he could not beat her by speed alone, and he finally bested her by using her own temptation against her. Three golden apples were her undoing, and she was left with no choice but to admit defeat and marry the cunning prince.
The Atalanta of the Prohibition era was just as fast as—if indeed not faster—than the huntress of myth. She was a notorious, armored rumrunner, and her encounters with the Coast Guard during the "Rum War at Sea" are a curious event of the time which that service came of age.
With the passage of the Volstead Act on 16 January 1920, the United States officially became a dry nation, but the demand for alcohol only increased. Foreign distilleries were more than happy to fill that need, and soon a flotilla of private vessels began surreptitiously smuggling in alcohol from Canada, Great Britain, and points beyond.