Examines welfare, or 'relief' as it was termed, at the beginning of the twentieth century utilising Colorado county records to assess how rural areas balanced demands on their limited resources. Historians have heretofore focused on welfare in urban settings but Thomas Krainz provides the first account of public assistance in a rural area where locals had to prioritise recurring social issues (disabilities, widows and orphans, and so forth). Universal assistance was offered to the blind as well as injured or unemployed males, but aid for unwed mothers and indigent children often faltered. Contemporary historians who have discussed early twentieth-century relief developments have failed to explain transformations in the systems that occurred and what elements and events shaped policies during this period. Instead, their focus has mainly been to link Progressive Era programs with the later New Deal programs of the 1930s. Krainz examines each side of the welfare issue, the providers and the receivers, with a look at how both evolved over time to accommodate more demands and fewer resources.