Major Adams was reluctant to take on Willy Moran because of his drinking problem. This was not unsual. Some wagon trains, such as the Mormon trains, were run on strict religious principles, many of which forbade the drinking of alcohol unless under exceptional circumstances ( such as medicinal purposes). There were practical reasons too. Alcohol weighs heavy. With a journey of over 2,000 miles or more ahead of them which included deserts and mountains, weight was an all important factor. The wagon trails were strewn with articles that were off loaded when the going got tough. Alcohol also has physical effects, besides the obvious one of drunkeness!Even when taken in small amounts it dehydrates the body so that people drink more, something else that wagon train captains could not allow. Water was a valuable commodity, but again, due to it's weight, only so much could be carried at any one time. Drinking a lot of water was fine when the water barrels were full, but regular supplies could not be relied upon even outside of the desert areas. It was this habit of running 'dry' trains that probably gave rise to the expression of 'going on the wagon', meaning to stop drinking alcohol.