Shotguns and stagecoaches : the brave men who rode for Wells Fargo in the Wild West
- John Boessenecker.
- New York : Thomas Dunne Books ; St. Martin's Press, 
- First edition.
Where to find it
- Call Number
- HE5903.W5 B64 2018
The true stories of the Wild West heroes who guarded the iconic Wells Fargo stagecoaches and trains, battling colorful thieves, vicious highwaymen, and robbers armed with explosives.
The phrase "riding shotgun" was no teenage game to the men who guarded stagecoaches and trains the Western frontier. Armed with sawed-off, double-barreled shotguns and an occasional revolver, these express messengers guarded valuable cargo through lawless terrain. They were tough, fighting men who risked their lives every time they climbed into the front boot of a Concord coach.
Boessenecker introduces soon-to-be iconic personalities like "Chips" Hodgkins, an express rider known for his white mule and his ability to outrace his competitors, and Henry Johnson, the first Wells Fargo detective. Their lives weren't just one shootout after another--their encounters with desperadoes were won just as often with quick wits and memorized-by-heart knowledge of the land.
The highway robbers also get their due. It wouldn't be a book about the Wild West without Black Bart, the most infamous stagecoach robber of all time, and Butch Cassidy's gang, America's most legendary train robbers.
Through the Gold Rush and the early days of delivery with horses and saddlebags, to the heyday of stagecoaches and huge shipments of gold, and finally the rise of the railroad and the robbers who concocted unheard-of schemes to loot trains, Wells Fargo always had courageous men to protect its treasure. Their unforgettable bravery and ingenuity make this book a thrilling read.
- Introduction p. XI
- Part 1 The Gold Rush Era
- 1 Wells Fargo's Pioneer Messenger: 'Pilsbury "Chips" Hodgkins p. 3
- 2 The First Wells Fargo Detective p. 15
- 3 From First Stage Driver to Shotgun Messenger p. 31
- 4 Twelve-Gauge Justice p. 45
- Part 2 The Stage Robbery Era
- 5 From Pony Express to Wells Fargo p. 59
- 6 The Rifleman p. 76
- 7 A Shotgun Messenger in Old Montana p. 92
- 8 "Honest Faithful & Brave" p. 103
- 9 Chief Special Officer p. 116
- 10 Riverman, Expressman p. 136
- 11 The Man Who Captured Black Bart p. 148
- 12 True Grit p. 161
- 13 Vigilante Vengeance p. 178
- 14 Double-Barreled Death p. 197
- Part 3 The Train Robbery Era
- 15 "I Ain't Afraid of Any Man" p. 211
- 16 Train Robbers' Nemesis p. 229
- 17 "Die, Damn You!" p. 245
- 18 Shotguns and Dynamite p. 257
- 19 "Send a Coffin and a Doctor" p. 269
- 20 Fighting Wages p. 286
- Epilogue: A Legacy Squandered p. 301
- Acknowledgments p. 309
- Notes p. 311
- Index p. 333