Stagecoaches Only Went Short Distances In Cold Weather

Down the Draw


“It must have been awfully cold riding across the country in a stagecoach.”
That’s true, but Jon Mixon, who’s done considerable stagecoach research, said, “Stagecoaches were for traveling short distances.”
The fact was that if weather was “freezing,” passengers didn’t travel very far or didn’t travel at all, he added.
Stagecoach passengers usually only rode to a relatively close destination “This would be a matter of hours or perhaps just a day,” Mixon said.
“With few exceptions, the stagecoach itself and the horses were deemed more valuable than the passengers,” according to Mixon.
The stagecoach would not travel far in subzero temperatures if it indeed traveled at all that day. “The weather could cause the horses to overexert themselves and die,” Mixon said.
Dead horses do not make a successful business. “Fewer horses meant that travel was going to take longer,” Mixon pointed out.
If the weather was too cold for the horses, the stagecoach didn’t travel. “If it did, the passengers probably regretted that they took that coach on that day,” Mixon said.
The Old West was not known for its racial progressiveness, Mixon emphasized. “If a racial minority took a stagecoach, they would have to sit on the roof of the stagecoach,” he said.
Blankets were available as were buffalo hides “However traveling outside in inclement weather is always going to be unpleasant, regardless hos ‘bundled up’ you are,” Mixon recognized.
While heaters were employed for short distances, fire dangers made them likely used for wealthier or more vulnerable passengers.
Additionally, carrying fuel for heaters reduced the amounts of cargo and passengers that could be taken. “There was always a weight limit for the stagecoach as well as for the horses,” Mixon said.


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