ask-the-marshallCan you tell me why stagecoaches are always painted red with yellow wheels and frames in the movies and on TV shows?

Steven Crosby

Via the Internet

Stagecoaches came in a variety of colors, including red and yellow. The wagons that hauled freight over the Santa Fe Trail before the arrival of the railroads were also painted in bright colors. Red and yellow were used in the Technicolor Westerns because they showed up well on film.

Superbly crafted Concord coaches cost about $1,400, weighed about 2,500 pounds and were eight and one-half feet in height and length, and five feet wide. Scenic views or “U.S. Mail” were painted on their doors. The oval-shaped Concord had three upholstered benches on the inside that could seat nine passengers and nine more could fit on the top. The body of the coach rested on two ox-hide leather straps, called thoroughbraces, that acted as shock absorbers. They rocked along like ships in a storm, and passengers were frequently sick the entire journey.

Marshall Trimble
is Arizona’s official historian.

His books include The Arizona Trilogy and Law of the Gun.

If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall,

PO Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at

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