Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Tips for Stagecoach Travelers, 1877

Scenes from The Big Valley, "Last Stage to Salt Flats", Season 2, Episode 12
Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Long, and Lee Majors

Tips For Stagecoach Travelers

The best seat inside a stage is the one next to the driver.  Even if you have a tendency to sea-sickness when riding backwards you’ll get over it and will get less jolts and jostling.  Don’t let any “sly elph” trade you his mid-seat.

In cold weather don’t ride with tight-fitting boots, shoes, or gloves.  When the driver asks you to get off and walk do so without grumbling, he won’t request it unless absolutely necessary.  If the team runs away...sit still and take your chances.  If you jump, nine out of ten times you will get hurt.  In very cold weather abstain entirely from liquor when on the road, because you will freeze twice as quickly when under its influence.

Don’t growl at the food received at the station...stage companies usually provide the best they can get.

Don’t keep the stage waiting.  Don’t smoke a strong pipe inside the coach.  Spit on the leeward side.  If you have anything to drink in a bottle pass it around.  Procure your stimulants before starting, as “ranch” (stage depot) whiskey is not “Nectar.”

Don’t lean or lop over neighbors when sleeping.  Take small change to pay expenses.  Never shoot on the road, as the noise might frighten the horses.  Don’t discuss politics or religion.

Don’t point out where murders have been committed, especially if there are woman passengers.

Don’t lag at the washbasin.  Don’t grease your hair, because travel is dusty.  Don’t imagine for a moment that you are going on a picnic.  Expect annoyances, discomfort, and some hardships.

                                    ---- Omaha Herald, 1877

Courtesy of the El Dorado Historical Museum, Placerville, California