Great Stagecoach Robberies of the Old Westby R. Michael Wilson
Stagecoach robbers evolved as a consequence of the discovery of gold or silver, or some other mineral treasure, and a town would "spring forth from the earth" overnight. Roads were soon built and stage lines began operating. A "pitching Betsy" would take out bullion and dust and bring in payrolls, always through country that was rough and isolated. The temptation
Stagecoach robbers evolved as a consequence of the discovery of gold or silver, or some other mineral treasure, and a town would "spring forth from the earth" overnight. Roads were soon built and stage lines began operating. A "pitching Betsy" would take out bullion and dust and bring in payrolls, always through country that was rough and isolated. The temptation to get rich quickly was too great for some, and the demand, "Hold! Throw out that treasure box!" was heard all too often in the Old West. Most robberies were never solved, but many robbers were caught, indicted, tried, convicted, and sentenced. This book includes a collection of 15-20 of the most thrilling stagecoach robberies from 1875-1905.
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- First Edition
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- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)
Read an Excerpt
Stagecoach drivers were known by many sobriquets, including Knight or Knight of the Lash, Whip, Sagebrush Navigator, or Jehu, the last being reserved for a driver who drove at a very fast pace, sometimes seeming reckless to his passengers; but no stage driver kept his job for long if his recklessness endangered his passengers. Drivers were a hardy lot representing a cross section of the nation's citizens. Many chewed, smoked, or cussed mercilessly, but others were kind and gentle, especially with the ladies who rode on their coaches. The stagecoach driver was captain of his vessel. He commanded all who boarded and was often admired, usually respected, and always appreciated. Not every man could handle the ribbons of a four-up or six-up through any weather on every type of frontier road, so the stagecoach driver was quite a peculiar person even by western standards. Many times it was only the iron will and bravado of the driver which brought the coach through bad weather, across swollen rivers, over treacherous roads, with poor stock, while surviving attacks by highwaymen or Indians. One of the most notable Jehus in Nevada was "Baldy" Green. After Green was robbed on June 10, 1868 Virginia City's Territorial Enterprise observed, "Baldy Green is exceedingly unlucky, as the road agents appear to have singled him out as their special man to halt and plunder, and they always come at him with shotguns."
Meet the Author
R. Michael Wilson has been researching the Old West for fifteen years, following a quarter century as a law enforcement officer. His particular interest is crime, and none are more thrilling than stagecoach robberies. He has published one book on the subject in Arizona, and four more on other aspects of crime on the frontier. His research philosophy is "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.Previous self-published titles:Drenched in Blood, Rigid in Death; the true story of the Wickenburg massacre, 132 pages, PB, illustrated, notes, bibliography, index; 2000. A detailed criminal investigation of this controversial "massacre." This event was featured in a vignette during the 2004 season of "Wild West Tech" on the History Channel and in a vignette on the Unsolved Mysteries series [poor historical accuracy]. Author has sold over 600 books.Tragic Jack; the true story of Arizona pioneer John William Swilling, 82 pages, PB, illustrated, bibliography, index; 2001. Details the life of the man who named Phoenix, Arizona and captured Indian chief Mangas Colorados; falsely accused of a stagecoach robbery Swilling died in the Yuma jail only weeks before the guilty party was arrested. Sold over 250 copies. Book is being reissued by Globe Fall 2006.Encyclopedia of Stagecoach Robbery in Arizona, 230 pages, HB, illustrated, bibliography, index; 2003. This work details every stagecoach robbery in Arizona; Sold over 200 copies.Crime & Punishment in Early Arizona, 266 pages, PB, bibliography, index; 2004. This work details every recorded lynching and every legal hanging in Arizona, a history of two prisons and an alphabetical listing of prisoners at each. The prisoner lists provide the names, dates of commitment, crimes, sentences, and counties; 135 copies sold.
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