Various mining-claim locators (defendants) were fined by the federal government (government) (plaintiff) for maintaining saloons on their mining claims within the Coeur d’Alene National Forest without a federal permit. The defendants appealed to the United States District Court for the District of Idaho. The defendants argued that the General Mining Law of 1872, 30 U.S.C. § 26, gave them the right to the exclusive enjoyment of their land for all purposes, including non-mining purposes. The defendants also claimed that constructing valuable buildings unrelated to mining was customary, and that hardship would result from the confiscation of their property rights. The government argued that the term “exclusive enjoyment” applied only to mining purposes.