Imagine this. Shut up in the car for three days with eight other people. (Imagine you have a relatively big car). Your car’s suspension is leather straps that make it sway, so the less hardy of you get seasick on occasion. Every now and again Indians or highwaymen attack. You travel around the clock and are only able to stop and get out every three hours or so for a quick break. And by the way, there’s no heat or air conditioning. In the three days, you will cover 300 miles. If you wanted to go from Cheyenne to Deadwood in 1880, this would have been your experience. Did your imagination include the part where the passengers might get testy during the trip?
Evidently, Wells Fargo had enough testy and inconsiderate passengers that they published rules of etiquette by which everyone on their stages was supposed to abide. We found these in the Deadwood Magazine. You might want to slightly modify these rules and post them in your car for your trip to Cheyenne.
1. Abstinence from liquor is requested, but if you must drink, share the bottle. To do otherwise makes you appear selfish and unneighborly.
2. If ladies are present, gentlemen are urged to forego smoking cigars and pipes as the odor of same is repugnant to the Gentle Sex. Chewing tobacco is permitted but spit WITH the wind, not against it.
3. Gentlemen must refrain from the use of rough language in the presence of ladies and children.
4. Buffalo robes are provided for your comfort during cold weather. Hogging robes will not be tolerated and the offender will be made to ride with the driver.
5. Don’t snore loudly while sleeping or use your fellow passenger’s shoulder for a pillow; he or she may not understand and friction may result.
6. Firearms may be kept on your person for use in emergencies. Do not fire them for pleasure or shoot at wild animals as the sound riles the horses.
7. In the event of runaway horses, remain calm. Leaping from the coach in panic will leave you injured, at the mercy of the elements, hostile Indians and hungry coyotes.
8. Forbidden topics of discussion are stagecoach robberies and Indian uprisings.
9. Gents guilty of unchivalrous behavior toward lady passengers will be put off the stage. It’s a long walk back. A word to the wise is sufficient.
Adams, Judith. Cheyenne, City of Blue Sky, (Windsor Publications: Northridge, CA) 1988.
Deadwood Magazine, 2001.