Museum Minute: What The Deadwood StageCoach Stand For In History

Sep 13, 2019

In 1876, at the height of the Black Hills Gold Rush, a stagecoach route began between Cheyenne, Wyoming and Deadwood, South Dakota.  

According to records, manufacture was begun and completed in 1867. Originally used as a hotel coach in Littleton, New Hampshire. Date: 1867
Credit Gift of Olive and Glenn E. Nielson

 

The Buffalo Bill Museum has an Abbot Downing & Company stage coach that supposedly rode back and forth on this route. And Curator Jeremey Johnston said the stagecoach was definitely used during Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Shows portraying dramatic reenactments of Native Americans attacking the stagecoach.

According to promotional material from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Shows, the coach was attacked by Native Americans and abandoned alongside the trail. Buffalo Bill later purchased the coach for his reenactments. 

But Johnston said Native Americans attacking stage coaches was actually a pretty rare occurrence. 

“Most of the stage coach companies were smart enough that they didn’t want to run their equipment or employees through what they considered hostile environments,” he said.

Johnston said these attacks become an iconic image of the American West because it was created on a nightly basis in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.