The Legend of Stagecoach Mary,

Also known as Mary Fields, Stagecoach Mary was one of the toughest ladies of the Old West.  Born as a slave on a Tennessee plantation in 1832, she gained her freedom after the Civil War and the resulting abolition of slavery.  After the Civil War Mary made her way west where she eventually settled in Cascade County, Montana.

In Montana Mary would gain a reputation as one of the toughest characters in the territory.  Unlike most women of the Victorian Era, Mary had a penchant for whiskey, cheap cigars, and brawling.  It was not uncommon for men to harass her because of her race or her gender.  Those who earned her disfavor did so at their own risk, as the six foot tall two hundred pound woman served up a mean knuckle sandwich.  According to her obituary in Great Falls Examiner “she broke more noses than any other woman in Central Montana”.

In Montana Mary made a living doing heavy labor for a Roman Catholic convent.  She did work such as carpentry, chopping wood, and stone work.  However it was her job of transporting supplies to the convent by wagon that would earn her the name “Stagecoach Mary”.  The job was certainly dangerous, as she braved fierce weather, bandits, robbers, and wild animals.  In one instance her wagon was attacked by wolves, causing the horses to panic and overturn the wagon.  Throughout the night Stagecoach Mary fought off several wolf attacks with a rifle, a ten gauge shotgun, and a pair of revolvers.  

Mary’s job with the convent ended when another hired hand complained it was not fair that she made more money than him to the townspeople and the local bishop. When the bishop dismissed his claims, he went to a local saloon, saying that it was not fair that he should have to work with a black woman (he said something much more obscene). In response, Mary shot him in the bum. The bishop fired Mary, and she was out of a job.

After a failed attempt at running a restaurant, Stagecoach Mary was hired to run freight for the US Postal Service. Today she holds the distinction of being the first African American postal employee. Despite delivering parcels to some of the most remote and rugged areas of Montana, Mary gained a reputation for always delivering on time regardless of the weather or terrain.

At the age of seventy, Stagecoach Mary retired from the parcel business and opened a laundry.  In one incident when a customer refused to pay, the 72 year old woman knocked out one of his teeth.  For the remainder of her life Mary settled down to peace and quiet, drinking whiskey and smoking cheap cigars.  She passed away in 1914 at the age of 82.

Not only did Hollywood ignore black cowboys, it plundered their real stories as material for some of its films.

The Lone Ranger, for example, is believed to have been inspired by Bass Reeves, a black lawman who used disguises, had a Native American sidekick and went through his whole career without being shot.

—  More on Hollywood’s omission of black cowboys in the Old West and interviews with black cowboys in their 80’s.. from Sarfraz Manzoor in BBC News.
Old West Insults
  • He made an ordinary fight look like a prayer meetin’.
  • He was mean enough to steal a coin off a dead man’s eyes.
  • He has teeth so crooked he could eat corn on the cob through a picket fence.
  • She’s so ugly, she could back a buzzard off a gut-wagon.
  • She’s so ugly, she’d make a freight train take a dirt road!
  • He’s as crazy as popcorn on a hot stove.
  • His knife’s so dull it wouldn’t cut hot butter.
  • He had a ten dollar Stetson on a five-cent head.
  • He’s as slow as molasses in January.

For more colorful insults, check out Old West Legends


“The Super Smash Corral” (Original Date: 7/11/15)

A Super Smash Western poster mash-up series.  Starring Samus, Fox and Falco, Megaman, and Mr. Game & Watch.  We might dip into this series again when time allows.


In the 19th Century, about 50 million bison were killed by the settlers either for their meat or fur, or as a sport. Sometimes, the settlers even wiped out thousands of herds so as to deprive the Native Americans of their meat and fur, or indirectly their livelihood. Due to this, the once enormous population of the bison reduced to a mere few hundred. The government and people of North America stepped forward to save the beast from becoming extinct. 

Today, there are about 200,000 bison in North America living in sanctuaries, preserves, and ranches.

How about that for a comeback.


Elfego Baca and the Frisco Shootout

In the 1880’s Elfego Baca was a deputy sheriff in Soccoro County, New Mexico and was determined to clean up the town of Reserve.  In 1884 a drunk cowboy named Charlie McCarty ambled down the streets of Reserve, shooting up the town, yelling, hooting, and causing a ruckus.  Baca arrested the drunk cowboy, much to the ire of his fellow cowboys.  The cowboys tried to jump Baca, but he deftly fended off the attack, wounding one cowboy in the knee and shooting the horse of another, the horse falling on the cowboy and killing him.

William McCarty was taken into custody and later held for trial.  A very large gang of cowboys attended the trial, all eyeing up Baca with obvious evil intent.  McCarty was fined $5 and released.  Immediately Baca hightailed it out of the courtroom, taking refuge in the house Geronimo Armijo.  Around 40 heavily armed cowboys surrounded the house and opened fire.  Over the next six hours the cowboys fired over 4,000 rounds, eventually disbursing when they ran out of ammunition.  Baca, however, remained unscathed as the house he was taking shelter in had a floor that was lower than ground level, allowing him to take cover.  During the shootout, Baca killed four cowboys and wounded eight others.

After the gunfight, the cowboys turned to the law the get back at Baca, claiming that he had murdered their four fellow comrades in cold blood.  However the townspeople produced the door of Armijo’s house, riddled with 400 bullet holes, proving Baca’s innocence.  Baca would later become sheriff, deputy marshal, and an attorney.  He died in 1945 at the age of 80.