I read the 2018 book “Shotguns and Stagecoaches: The Brave Men Who Rode for Wells Fargo in the Wild West” by John Boessenecker (American historian and author, a lawyer specializing in trust and estate litigation, and a former police officer, is considered one of the leading authorities on crime and law enforcement in the Old West). It is published by Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martins Press, New York. It has an embossed dust cover designed by Rob Grom (skateboarder, artist).
Advertized as: “The true stories of the Wild West heroes who guarded the iconic Wells Fargo stagecoaches and trains, battling colorful thieves, vicious highwaymen, and robbers armed with explosives.” John tells the stories in three parts: The Gold Rush Era, The Stage Robbery Era, and The Train Robbery Era.
He tells the tale of how Wells Fargo got started and the men that worked for them. Each chapter introduces us to new characters, some guarding the valuables on board the stagecoaches or train, and some trying to get rich quickly by robbing these easy targets.
There was a lot of money, even by today’s standards, to be had at times, coming from the California, and surrounding areas, Gold Rush.
Each of these chapters is like a short story that introduces a new hero to follow and usually several outlaws. If they get away with the crime, it’s not over, Wells Fargo detectives will hunt them down.
The author tells wonderful stories, I felt like I was watching a TV show or a movie during these absolutely true-life adventures. He profiles 20 men that escorted stages, protected train cars, or were detectives for Well Fargo. These stories are so good, and realistic, you really start to care for the men and worry about their outcome.
I loved this book and can see myself reading it again one day. John Boessenecker loves this history and it really shows here. The last chapter deals with how Wells Fargo changed in the modern days and became “the criminals” instead of “the good guys”. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.