Stagecoach West is a comprehensive history of stagecoaching west of the Missouri. Starting with the evolution of overland passenger transportation, Moody moves on to paint a lively and informative picture of western stagecoaching, from its early short runs through its rise with the gold rush, its zenith of 1858-68, and beyond. Its story is one of grand rivalries, political chicanery, and gaudy publicity stunts, traders, fortune hunters, outlaws, courageous drivers, and indefatigable detectives. We meet colorful characters such as Charlie Parkhurst, a stagecoach driver who took an amazing secret to his death: "he" was actually a woman. Using contemporary accounts, illustrations, maps, and photographs to flesh out his narrative, Moody creates one of the most important accounts of transportation history to date.
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(5817mm x 3887mm x 18mm)
University of Nebraska Press
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
For the better part of his text, Moody employs a scholarly rather than colorful attack upon the birth, proliferation and demise of the stagecoach in the golden West. And gold is what it was all about. Greatest impetus to the setting up of stage lines between the Mississippi and California was the gold rush of '49, plus the annexing of the new territory taken by the States during the Mexican War. Miners wanted to get to those gold fields pronto. And once some gold was panned, they wanted their dust taken for safe deposit in a bank. Stageline millionaires were made overnight, and then the greatest plum of all was open to the growing industry: giant mail contracts from the government. Moody enjoys rehearsing the physical development of coaches and their adaptation to various terrains and jobs, but an enormous amount of his material is taken up with financing of the lines (perhaps because this was what was most widely recorded in newspapers). Famous drivers and infamous bandits are anecdotalized, as well as battles against the elements and Indians. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Ralph Moody
Ralph Moody is best known for his eight Little Britches books, which have delighted three generations of readers. Introducer Mark L. Gardner is the author of Brothers on the Santa Fe and Chihuahua Trails and Wagons for the Santa Fe Trade.