During stagecoach holdups, did outlaws catch the coach on a dead run, while shooting the armed guard, driver and passengers?



Michael J. Graves
Belen, New Mexico

That’s Hollywood stuff. The best and most common way to rob a stagecoach was for the outlaws to wait beside the road on a steep slope. With the coach moving at a slow pace, a highwayman could easily step out in front and point a shotgun at the driver. His accomplice in the brush had his weapon trained on the man sitting beside the driver. The legendary Black Bart used this method (as a solo act).

Most people in the Old West were not crack shots, and even the best had trouble accurately firing off the back of a charging horse. If they were shooting at a moving target, the chances are slim that they’d hit anything.

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