What was the preferred mode of Old West travel—stagecoach or train?
Folks took a train whenever they could, as it was faster and more comfortable. The Butterfield Overland Stage from Missouri to California took about 25 days, while the railroad from Nebraska to California took only four days.
Although the rails were smoother than the bumpy roads, those ribbons of steel didn’t go into a lot of out-of-the-way places. Stagecoaches were needed to reach those locales until the arrival of the horseless carriage in the 20th century.
Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian. His latest book is Wyatt Earp: Showdown at Tombstone. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org