McNeil Island might look like just another wooded island along Washington State's Puget Sound. That first impression would be wrong. McNeil was home to territorial, federal, and state prison systems, and its inmate roster included mobsters, politicians, infamous killers, and bank robbers. But, alongside the inmates and the wire that contained them was a thriving community. The original pioneer residents and, later, the families of essential prison staff lived their daily lives as normally as possible while anchored by prison activities.