“THROW DOWN THAT STRONGBOX!”

CROWDED AND CRAMPED

  — CROWDED AND CRAMPED — “Throw out that Express box!” the masked gunman ordered the stagecoach driver and then ordered the passengers out. Robberies were among the risks associated with stagecoach travel in the Old West. 

Holdups were common and usually carried out by a masked, lone road agent.

Although there were occasions of violence, passengers usually walked away uninjured; but they were stripped of their valuables.

“THROW DOWN THAT STRONGBOX!”

“THE LYNCHING OF OUTLAW DOC”

TOM HODGES, AKA, TOM BELL

— FIRST-EVER STAGECOACH ROBBERY — On a fall afternoon in 1856, members of a sheriff’s posse and a group of citizen vigilantes lynched a man considered thought to be the first outlaw to rob a stagecoach in the United States.

Tom Bell—born Thomas J. Hodges around 1832 in Rome, Tennessee—gave up without a fight while sitting on horseback along the quiet banks of the meandering Merced River near Firebaugh’s Ferry in […]

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A ONE-WAY TICKET TO RIDE

Guns drawn, two masked men boarded a Southern Pacific passenger train at Dryden, Texas, while it was taking on water, but had no way of knowing they were holding a one-way ticket to ride.

A few minutes past midnight on March 13, 1912, Ben Kilpatrick and Ole Hobek forced the engineer of Train #9 to proceed to an iron bridge east of Baxter’s Curve near Sanderson, and stop the train. […]

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STAGECOACH TRAVEL NO PICNIC

Stagecoach Memories

“Don’t imagine for a moment you are going on a picnic. Expect annoyance, discomfort, and some hardships. If you are disappointed, thank heaven,” advised the 1877 issue of the Omaha Herald.

The newspaper distributed handy “Hints for Plains Travelers” journeying by stagecoach.

Before the railway system was established, 19th century Americans had few options for traveling long distances. Coaches, according to historians, date back as far as the 13th century Europe.

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