In the old west, the only means of public transportation was the stagecoach. Stage stops were as common on the western plains as bus stops are today.
Journeys by stage were long, dusty and uncomfortable. Coaches were cramped, loaded down with heavy merchandise and luggage and passengers jammed in like sardines—as many as twelve to fifteen at a time. Crowded conditions such as these required rules.
Here, taken directly from the 1877 Omaha Herald, are Wells Fargo’s Rules for Riding the Stagecoach:
v Abstinence from liquor is requested, but if you must drink, share the bottle. To do otherwise makes you appear selfish and unneighborly.
v 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.
v Gentlemen must refrain from the use of rough language in the presence of ladies and children.
v 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.
v 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.
v 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.
v In the event of a runaway horse, remain calm. Leaping from the coach in panic will leave you injured, at the mercy of the elements, hostile Indians and hungry wolves.
v Forbidden topics of discussion are stagecoach robberies and Indian uprisings.
v 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.
v Don’t ask how far to the next station until you get there. (LOL you just know that one was for the kids!)