Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Search for Re: Stagecoaches

One of my new, potential nano ideas involves an Old West type setting, and I decided to research different modes of transportation.  This time, I'm looking into the romanticized stagecoach.  In particular, the model I'm most likely to visualize and emulate is the Concord, called an "imposing cradle on wheels" by Mark Twain.

The ideal for me is to have my main character, temporarily dubbed Walker, be able to ride as guard, not on the stagecoach, but on his own horse.  A horse which is to say a little different than the average horse.  Anyway, reading through The Expressmen, the only mention near what I wanted was this:

"To protect the stages carrying bullion from Comstock country--popular targets of robbers--Wells, Fargo put not only a shotgun guard on the box beside the driver, but another on the top of the coach and two more riding on horseback 50 yards to the rear."

Since my character is going to be under some mental duress, another tidbit from that book was interesting:

"Lacking a doctor to certify a traveler's madness, stage drivers and passengers alike kept a careful eye out for strange behavior.  When incipient delirium was detected in a passenger, he was sometimes forced to stay over at a stage station and, despite his protests, take his chances on the next coach.  Now and then such passengers wandered away from stations in a daze and disappeared.  Journalist Richardson referred to 'stage-craziness' as a recognized malady of the West."

Of course, my character isn't likely to be riding in the coach--although that might be fun due to the instant friction of passengers sleeping on the go while cramped inside coaches.  Anyway, I foresee some interaction between him and the passengers that does not go well, and it would be an interesting for Walker to be left behind at a home station.  Maybe his cool horse can even be taken.

Not to mention potential for trouble on en route, that is, running into robbers or the demonic equivalent of an Indian attack.  Or rather, instead of demonic, a zombie equivalent, since this is novel is set in the same world as Walker's unwritten prequel, a novel idea that was inspired by Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  After all, even though I am putting my original nano on the backburner, doesn't mean I have to put zombies (or their kin) there too.

Well that's it for today.  Stay tuned for more Old West research next week.

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