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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. The phrase "riding shotgun" was no teenage game to the men who guarded stagecoaches and trains the Western frontier. Armed with sawed-off, double-barreled shotguns and an occasional revolver, t 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. The phrase "riding shotgun" was no teenage game to the men who guarded stagecoaches and trains the Western frontier. Armed with sawed-off, double-barreled shotguns and an occasional revolver, these express messengers guarded valuable cargo through lawless terrain. They were tough, fighting men who risked their lives every time they climbed into the front boot of a Concord coach. Boessenecker introduces soon-to-be iconic personalities like "Chips" Hodgkins, an express rider known for his white mule and his ability to outrace his competitors, and Henry Johnson, the first Wells Fargo detective. Their lives weren't just one shootout after another--their encounters with desperadoes were won just as often with quick wits and memorized-by-heart knowledge of the land. The highway robbers also get their due. It wouldn't be a book about the Wild West without Black Bart, the most infamous stagecoach robber of all time, and Butch Cassidy's gang, America's most legendary train robbers. Through the Gold Rush and the early days of delivery with horses and saddlebags, to the heyday of stagecoaches and huge shipments of gold, and finally the rise of the railroad and the robbers who concocted unheard-of schemes to loot trains, Wells Fargo always had courageous men to protect its treasure. Their unforgettable bravery and ingenuity make this book a thrilling read.


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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. The phrase "riding shotgun" was no teenage game to the men who guarded stagecoaches and trains the Western frontier. Armed with sawed-off, double-barreled shotguns and an occasional revolver, t 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. The phrase "riding shotgun" was no teenage game to the men who guarded stagecoaches and trains the Western frontier. Armed with sawed-off, double-barreled shotguns and an occasional revolver, these express messengers guarded valuable cargo through lawless terrain. They were tough, fighting men who risked their lives every time they climbed into the front boot of a Concord coach. Boessenecker introduces soon-to-be iconic personalities like "Chips" Hodgkins, an express rider known for his white mule and his ability to outrace his competitors, and Henry Johnson, the first Wells Fargo detective. Their lives weren't just one shootout after another--their encounters with desperadoes were won just as often with quick wits and memorized-by-heart knowledge of the land. The highway robbers also get their due. It wouldn't be a book about the Wild West without Black Bart, the most infamous stagecoach robber of all time, and Butch Cassidy's gang, America's most legendary train robbers. Through the Gold Rush and the early days of delivery with horses and saddlebags, to the heyday of stagecoaches and huge shipments of gold, and finally the rise of the railroad and the robbers who concocted unheard-of schemes to loot trains, Wells Fargo always had courageous men to protect its treasure. Their unforgettable bravery and ingenuity make this book a thrilling read.

30 review for Shotguns and Stagecoaches: The Brave Men Who Rode for Wells Fargo in the Wild West

  1. 4 out of 5

    Juli

    Wells Fargo. Today the company is a financial institution offering the usual services....banking, loans, retirement accounts, investments, etc. But from 1852 to 1918, the company offered express services. Wells Fargo shipped mail, packages, valuables, money...even gold...all across the United States. In its heyday, Wells Fargo delivered goods faster than the United States Postal Service. Starting as a small company in the 1850s, by the time World War I ended Wells Fargo express services, the com Wells Fargo. Today the company is a financial institution offering the usual services....banking, loans, retirement accounts, investments, etc. But from 1852 to 1918, the company offered express services. Wells Fargo shipped mail, packages, valuables, money...even gold...all across the United States. In its heyday, Wells Fargo delivered goods faster than the United States Postal Service. Starting as a small company in the 1850s, by the time World War I ended Wells Fargo express services, the company had 10,000 offices all across the country. Shotguns and Stagecoaches tells the stories of 20 Wells Fargo messengers and detectives whose job required them to protect Wells Fargo assets from nefarious criminals and robbers. I loved reading the stories of these fascinating characters who protected the integrity of the company by making sure money and valuables entrusted to the company arrived at their final destination. The stories are well-written, interesting and amazing! The history of that era is so fascinating. I've read a lot about Old West history, but I still learned some new facts by reading this book. For instance, Wells Fargo express services ended in 1918 because the United States government required all mail/express services be consolidated into only one carrier -- the USPS -- due to World War I. Only the banking services offered by Wells Fargo survived WWI. I always wondered how Wells Fargo went from a Old West stagecoach delivery type service to the banking institution it is today. I also didn't realize that their express service still operated into the 1900s. So interesting! I find it fascinating that we have come so far in just 100 years....makes books like this one by John Boessenecker incredibly interesting! The United States might have much less history than other nations that are much older, but our history is definitely colorful. Not necessarily always good....but colorful. My husband loves tales from this era in history. He is fascinated about the wild and woolly days of the Old West and the Gold Rush era. I pre-ordered him a copy of this book immediately after I finished reading my review copy. I enjoyed this book....but he will absolutely love it. It will be a binge reading event I am sure. :) Anyone who enjoys US History or tales of the Old West will love this book. **I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from St. Martins Press via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

  2. 5 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    I don't read nonfiction very often but this was definitely worth a read. The author has written a well researched book and even included many pictures from his personal collection of not only the hero's who rode for Wells Fargo, lawmen and stagecoach robbers. Fascinating chapters on the life of the characters I just mentioned and information on the robberies including some teenage girls who were riding in the stagecoaches when they were robbed. I enjoyed reading the chapter about the wild dog na I don't read nonfiction very often but this was definitely worth a read. The author has written a well researched book and even included many pictures from his personal collection of not only the hero's who rode for Wells Fargo, lawmen and stagecoach robbers. Fascinating chapters on the life of the characters I just mentioned and information on the robberies including some teenage girls who were riding in the stagecoaches when they were robbed. I enjoyed reading the chapter about the wild dog named Pony that the driver tamed. Pony became his pet but would never ride in his stagecoach he ran following his stagecoach up to 50 miles a day for 9 years. Fascinating western history for those who like a taste of the lawless and their capture. Pub Date 30 Oct 2018 I was given a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin's Press through NetGalley. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I don't often read history of the Old West, but Shotguns and Stagecoaches: The Brave Men Who Rode for Wells Fargo in the Wild West is a must read for those interested in American history. John Boessenecker has clearly done his research and has done a decent job of making the subject matter accessible to those that don't already have that much knowledge in the topic. I appreciated that the book was broken down by period of the comp I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I don't often read history of the Old West, but Shotguns and Stagecoaches: The Brave Men Who Rode for Wells Fargo in the Wild West is a must read for those interested in American history. John Boessenecker has clearly done his research and has done a decent job of making the subject matter accessible to those that don't already have that much knowledge in the topic. I appreciated that the book was broken down by period of the company, and it also includes many fascinating photos of the featured figures. I definitely recommend this if you're interested in the learning more about the American West.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Casey Wheeler

    This book is well written and researched. The author's writing style makes it an engaging and easy read. Each chapter in the book is devoted to an employee of Wells Fargo in the early days when they were transporting the mail and money or those who worked for the company and pursued those who robbed the company. Of particualr interest to me is the fact that the author included photos and drawings of not only the good guys, but also the bad guys. During the course of the book the author corrects This book is well written and researched. The author's writing style makes it an engaging and easy read. Each chapter in the book is devoted to an employee of Wells Fargo in the early days when they were transporting the mail and money or those who worked for the company and pursued those who robbed the company. Of particualr interest to me is the fact that the author included photos and drawings of not only the good guys, but also the bad guys. During the course of the book the author corrects some of the confusion on who exactly tracked down some of the robbers. I recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in the history of the american west and in particular those who put their lives on the line on an almost daily basis working for Wells Fargo.  I received a free Kindle copy of Shotguns and Stagecoaches by John Boessenecker courtesy of Net Galley  and St. Martin's Press, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. I requested this book as I am an avid reader of history of the american west.  This is the first book I have read by the author.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Temoc Sol

    A lot of vital and interesting information written in this book but in an extremely boring manner. Check out my full book review on my Booktube/authortube channel on YouTube.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bonnye Reed

    GNab Shotguns and Stagecoaches: The Brave Men Who Rode for Wells Fargo in the Wild West is an intensely detailed and rich history following the transformation of transportation with the gold strikes in California in 1849, as stagecoach routes followed the Pony Express across the wide staked plains of the U.S. bringing faster, safer travel and the transfer of currency and gold across the west. Wells Fargo (and Butterfield) took weeks- often months - off of the trip west for travelers, and provide GNab Shotguns and Stagecoaches: The Brave Men Who Rode for Wells Fargo in the Wild West is an intensely detailed and rich history following the transformation of transportation with the gold strikes in California in 1849, as stagecoach routes followed the Pony Express across the wide staked plains of the U.S. bringing faster, safer travel and the transfer of currency and gold across the west. Wells Fargo (and Butterfield) took weeks- often months - off of the trip west for travelers, and provided a less treacherous journey for both persons and cargo. Wells Fargo and the men 'riding shotgun' took a bit of the 'wild' out of the west. I found this history both enriching and educational. I will look for more histories by John Boessenecker. This is a book I will add to my research shelf. Thank you. I received a free electronic copy of this history of Wells Fargo from Netgalley, John Boessenecker and St. Martin's Press, Thomas Dunn Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. pub date Oct 30, 2018 St. Martin's Press, Thomas Dunn Books

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn McBride

    This was an entertaining look at the history, and men, peppering the Wells-Fargo company. I hadn't realized that stagecoaches were so dangerous before I started reading this book, or that the roots of police and detectives were so unstable. Very little job security there! This book would be a treat for any Western writer or armchair historian. This was an entertaining look at the history, and men, peppering the Wells-Fargo company. I hadn't realized that stagecoaches were so dangerous before I started reading this book, or that the roots of police and detectives were so unstable. Very little job security there! This book would be a treat for any Western writer or armchair historian.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    3.5 stars. There's lots of interesting information and stories in here (yes, there were plenty of wild holdups and shootouts in the Old West; they were just a lot more chaotic and messy than the more formally staged confrontations of the movies); it's just a bit slower-paced owing to each chapter being a separate entity, each a biography of a different man. 3.5 stars. There's lots of interesting information and stories in here (yes, there were plenty of wild holdups and shootouts in the Old West; they were just a lot more chaotic and messy than the more formally staged confrontations of the movies); it's just a bit slower-paced owing to each chapter being a separate entity, each a biography of a different man.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Connie Carpenter

    I love reading about the Wild West and all the adventures that go along with it. This book is a great one to read. The author has done great and careful research. The way that he presents the information is captivating. I loved hearing about the true stories and what they went through to transport the money. I am a huge fan of people's history. This is a great read for anyone that is interested in the Wild West or People's History. I enjoyed this book Many thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher St. I love reading about the Wild West and all the adventures that go along with it. This book is a great one to read. The author has done great and careful research. The way that he presents the information is captivating. I loved hearing about the true stories and what they went through to transport the money. I am a huge fan of people's history. This is a great read for anyone that is interested in the Wild West or People's History. I enjoyed this book Many thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher St. Martin's Press for allowing me to read this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    One of the remarkable aspects to reading a book like this one is the way that it serves as a counterpoint to other reading that I have done on the same subject.  For example, I recently read a book that was a corporate sponsored history by Wells Fargo that made it seem as if the company was going better in the post Norwest-acquisition in recovering and appreciating its history, but this book makes it clear that was not the case, not when it came to the morals and ethics of the honest and hard-wo One of the remarkable aspects to reading a book like this one is the way that it serves as a counterpoint to other reading that I have done on the same subject.  For example, I recently read a book that was a corporate sponsored history by Wells Fargo that made it seem as if the company was going better in the post Norwest-acquisition in recovering and appreciating its history, but this book makes it clear that was not the case, not when it came to the morals and ethics of the honest and hard-working (and often hard-drinking, sadly) men who rode shotgun on express stagecoaches, and not when it comes to an appreciation of history, where Wells Fargo's historical understanding of itself has faced massive budget cuts and efforts at whitewashing its history to avoid paying attention to the importance of guns and firepower to the protection of economic interests during the developmental phase of the Wild West.  What is a mild and implicit hostility towards corporate thievery and dishonor throughout most of the book becomes very pointed at the end, which is well worth reading for anyone with any interest in Wells Fargo or the economic growth of the West. This book of a bit more than 300 pages is divided into three parts and 20 chapters.  The first part of the book contains four biographical sketches of some noted Wells Fargo messengers during the Gold Rush era:  Pilsbury "Chips" Hodgkins, Henry Johnson, Henry C. Ward, and Daniel C. Gay.  After that, the author writes about ten messengers who worked during the violent stage robbery era of the Old West (some of whom ended up dying in service or due to accidents):  "Shotgun Jimmy" Brown, Steve Venard, John X. Beidler, Eugene Blair, James B. Hume, Andy Hall, Harry N. Morse, Mike Tovey, Buck Montgomery, and Billy Hendricks.  After that the third book discusses six messengers who worked for Wells Fargo during the train robbery era, namely Aaron Y. Ross, John N. Thacker, J. Ernest Smith, Charles F. Charles, Jeff Milton, and David Trousdale.  After having discussed various dramatic lives and tales of mostly forgotten men, the author then closes the book with a look at how Wells Fargo squandered their legacy and good name in the attempt to bundle services together for profit without caring for the well-being of customers. Some of the stories in this book are particularly poignant, with tales of how alcoholism drove families apart, and how people who had worked diligently and well faced old age in reduced circumstances, how difficult it was for a good and honest man to win an election for sheriff in much of the West and the way that the law tended to skew in favor of the thieves in charge of the railroad, while proving light in dealing with thieves of stagecoaches and trains at the same time.  The author also does a good job at pointing out the thin line between justice in the courts and the omnipresent threat of vigilante justice, pointing out that sometimes it was felt that justice was impossible to get apart from a lynchman's mob, a reminder to our own age that when the justice system fails, there is a great deal of pressure placed on people to put justice in their own hands, which can prove very dangerous for those who run afoul of community norms.  For the most part, though, this book mainly delivers on two goals the author had near and dear to his heart, praising some neglected and unjustly forgotten messengers for Wells Fargo while roasting the contemporary company for its ethical failures.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Socraticgadfly

    Excellent book on the history of some of Wells Fargo's top express messengers, including dismissing many urban legends. (Among these is that the term "riding shotgun" was used for the express messengers at the time they were riding next to the driver of a stagecoach; Boessenecker shows the term only came into use in the 20th century. Boessenecker clearly knows his stuff. He moves from the express riders on stages to express messengers guarding Wells Fargo cars on trains. He also looks at some of Excellent book on the history of some of Wells Fargo's top express messengers, including dismissing many urban legends. (Among these is that the term "riding shotgun" was used for the express messengers at the time they were riding next to the driver of a stagecoach; Boessenecker shows the term only came into use in the 20th century. Boessenecker clearly knows his stuff. He moves from the express riders on stages to express messengers guarding Wells Fargo cars on trains. He also looks at some of the company's detectives. The last chapter, "A Legacy Squandered," is also worth it. Boessenecker notes that Wells Fargo had been in banking as well as express shipping from its early days, but left the shipping business after Woodrow Wilson forcibly consolidated all express companies during WWI. (Another stupidity of his.) So, they were just a banking company after that. And primarily California. Then, in the 1990s and beyond, a spate of mergers — starting with that with Norwest in 1998 — led the company to both get greedy in its banking practices, as we all know, and to also abandon its history. I had no idea it has a dozen museums. Nor that it has removed authentic firearms from them, or stopped investing in maintaining much of that history. Boessenecker also notes that the greed — and the failure to thoroughly address it — also cuts against the company's early history. Anyway, this is a great book all around.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Neil

    I enjoyed reading this book. It looks at various men who worked for Wells Fargo, be it as "messengers" (guards) on either the stagecoaches or trains or as detectives. It was an interesting look at the various lives of these brave men who were willing to risk their own lives (and even give up their own lives) to guard essentially the property and wealth of others. The chapters have brief bios about each of the men to give some kind of background before sharing fascinating anecdotes about their ti I enjoyed reading this book. It looks at various men who worked for Wells Fargo, be it as "messengers" (guards) on either the stagecoaches or trains or as detectives. It was an interesting look at the various lives of these brave men who were willing to risk their own lives (and even give up their own lives) to guard essentially the property and wealth of others. The chapters have brief bios about each of the men to give some kind of background before sharing fascinating anecdotes about their time working for their employers. The author also gives background information on other people in each chapter as needed. I felt the author did an excellent job at balancing giving enough background information about each employee and telling various stories about their respective lives and various employers. Many of the men worked for more than one company at various times of their lives, before and after their time at Wells Fargo. It was a dangerous job, as one never knew the odds that might be facing them with each respective robbery attempt. Definitely not a job for the faint-of-heart! It provides an interesting look into elements of the Old West with which I was not familiar. It also talks about how some of the Wells Fargo men even saved some criminals from being lynched and/or worked to exonerate former criminals wrongfully accused. I had no idea of the various events that occurred in the various territories or especially in California (such as some "skirmishes" occurring between Union and Confederate troops/supporters, or the number of stage coach robberies, for example), so it was enlightening to learn about how much crazier the Old West was than I realized. I felt the final chapter by the author was pretty powerful, as it talks about how the modern corporate suits have squandered the 100+ years of legacy and goodwill formerly built up by the company, how the corporate suits ruined the company's good name (the jab at the suits being modern-day "nineteenth century robber barons" was pretty pointed and dead-on, in my opinion). It was a fun book; it was an enjoyable book. I felt it was well-written; it moved at a fast pace and held my interesting throughout. I did not want to put it down and was surprised when I finished it. I am glad that I took a chance to read this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Olson

    A great collection of stories of Wells Fargo Messengers. what stands out most to me was the robbery of an San Antonio train in which messenger David Trousdale was assigned to. It was March 12,1912, here we have two of members of the notorious Butch Cassidy`s Wild Bunch Gang: Ben Kilpatrick and Ole Beck, who were in the process of rounding up the train crew and passengers. Mr. Trousdale manages to club Kilpatrick in the head 3 times, taking the bandits Winchester and shooting Beck square in the f A great collection of stories of Wells Fargo Messengers. what stands out most to me was the robbery of an San Antonio train in which messenger David Trousdale was assigned to. It was March 12,1912, here we have two of members of the notorious Butch Cassidy`s Wild Bunch Gang: Ben Kilpatrick and Ole Beck, who were in the process of rounding up the train crew and passengers. Mr. Trousdale manages to club Kilpatrick in the head 3 times, taking the bandits Winchester and shooting Beck square in the forehead. Luckly for all on the train the out come could have be different, fore nitroglycerin was found on Kilpatrick and 6 sticks of dynamite plus caps were found on Beck...David Tronsdale was now a national hero. The author also points out how Wells Fargo was looked at as heros in the west to villians in the modern age. By 1905 the banking division of Wells Fargo split from the transportation side. Come 1980 Wells Fargo bought Crocker National Bank and First Interstate Bank. The banks culture changed from one of "looking out for you" to "Looking out for themselves" when they merged with Norwest Corporation of Minneapolis. Norwest CEO andd upper management took over and pushed tools of cross selling and hard sell approaches in opening new accounts. The CEO`s moto was "Eight Is Great" meaning just one account why not eight instead, so employees were committing fraud in opening new accounts in customers name with out their knowledge. Have no fear, congress stepped in and tried to save Wells Fargo from themselves, only time will tell?

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cozy Cat Reviews

    I requested this book as I am fascinated by our history of the American West and it is a new research subject for me for enjoyment. I had not read this author previously and was pleased to receive it as requested for review. Thank you with gratitude to the author for your most exemplary work, to the publisher for sharing the book and to Net Galley for approving my request. This is a book to savor and absorb. The author has created such a fun read here that I found as a reader I was drawn into th I requested this book as I am fascinated by our history of the American West and it is a new research subject for me for enjoyment. I had not read this author previously and was pleased to receive it as requested for review. Thank you with gratitude to the author for your most exemplary work, to the publisher for sharing the book and to Net Galley for approving my request. This is a book to savor and absorb. The author has created such a fun read here that I found as a reader I was drawn into the stories and the history. That is the mark of a great historical writer when the reader is engaged. Here is the history of the brave people that were employees of Wells Fargo when they were transporting the mail and money across the wild west in rough territories in all kinds of harsh conditions. The author has also included those brave men that pursued the robbers. which often meant tracking them through heat,, desert and equally rough condition that were life threatening. There are drawings, photos here that bring their stories to vivid life for the reader. I was thrilled to put a face to the story and see both the good and bad guys photographs. I recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in the history of the american west . This is exemplary body of work and a joy to read. I will post a review on Net Galley, Good reads and Amazon in the hope that more people will find and read this great book. .

  15. 4 out of 5

    Phoebe

    Boessenecker loves his subject matter and his rather breathless descriptions of shootouts and holdups make this crystal clear. He offers an illuminating book on the colorful history of an American institution whose recent shenanigans make the company a sad shade of its early greatness. The Gold Rush and subsequent settling of the West changed everything, including methods of transport. As the foreword says, in all of recorded history mankind has needed to transfer money and goods from one place Boessenecker loves his subject matter and his rather breathless descriptions of shootouts and holdups make this crystal clear. He offers an illuminating book on the colorful history of an American institution whose recent shenanigans make the company a sad shade of its early greatness. The Gold Rush and subsequent settling of the West changed everything, including methods of transport. As the foreword says, in all of recorded history mankind has needed to transfer money and goods from one place to another--safety is the challenge. There was no security in the West, and it was desperately needed as gold and silver had to be shipped out of mining camps, and Wells Fargo provided a way to do this. Stagecoaches and trains were sitting ducks for bandits who developed strategies for holdups and later, train robberies, that worked, except for the presence of the shotgun messengers, few at first and later employed in the hundreds, who guarded the pony boxes and strongboxes carrying thousands of dollars and gold dust and bullion. This book is a fascinating history of early law enforcement techniques and the rough beginnings of the armored transportation industry and celebrates the good guys, mostly forgotten now, who took on the challenge. Equally interesting are the descriptions of the robbers and their escapades. A worthy addition to western history nonfiction.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    This is a well written book, chock full of tales of Wells Fargo drivers, station agents, etc. I had no idea that in its prime Wells Fargo was basically a freight company (think old West version of UPS or FedEx) and passenger services was a very small part of the business. It was informative and interesting but... I would recommend reading it over a period of time. Set it aside and read something else then come back to it rather than trying to go start to finish. Reason being that after a few cha This is a well written book, chock full of tales of Wells Fargo drivers, station agents, etc. I had no idea that in its prime Wells Fargo was basically a freight company (think old West version of UPS or FedEx) and passenger services was a very small part of the business. It was informative and interesting but... I would recommend reading it over a period of time. Set it aside and read something else then come back to it rather than trying to go start to finish. Reason being that after a few chapters many of the stories, while interesting and far from dull, tend to blur together. At least they did for me. I ended up reading about half way through before getting kind of burned out and putting it down for a few months - according to my stats I began a year ago (Yikes!). I finished it a few months back but neglected to do a review at the time. So while I would definitely recommend this book to any fans of Old West history I have to add the caveat: Pace yourself. Don't try to read it all at once. ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a free digital copy of this title in exchange for an honest review (sorry it took so long).

  17. 4 out of 5

    patrick Lorelli

    This is a fascinating book about a part of the old west you only really saw in moves or read about in old western novels. Riding shotgun, here the author really explains the term and the men who rode shotgun for the Wells Fargo express. Delivering gold mostly but there were other items. Most of the men were also detectives in that they would search or track for the man or men that would rob the stage. From the first chapter when the author takes you through the life of “Chips” Hodgkin’s who woul This is a fascinating book about a part of the old west you only really saw in moves or read about in old western novels. Riding shotgun, here the author really explains the term and the men who rode shotgun for the Wells Fargo express. Delivering gold mostly but there were other items. Most of the men were also detectives in that they would search or track for the man or men that would rob the stage. From the first chapter when the author takes you through the life of “Chips” Hodgkin’s who would work for them for 25 years and even be acknowledged for his time and for all he did for the company by the owners, to the first detective Henry Johnson, each chapter tells a story of the true west and of men that not only had to fight the ones that stole from Wells Fargo but sometimes from the towns or camps as well. I found this book to be very well researched and by breaking it down by chapter for each person made for an entertaining read. A very good book. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Hill

    Take a ride back to the wild west! Jump on a stagecoach and gear up for the adventure of a lifetime. This book was amazing in so many ways. We know about the background of the detectives, the pony express riders, and the men who risked their lives to transfer gold dust, bullion and so much more across the plains. With the gold rush in California, there was a more urgent need for bonded men who could safeguard the money and gold dust being transferred, but that did not keep desperadoes from trying Take a ride back to the wild west! Jump on a stagecoach and gear up for the adventure of a lifetime. This book was amazing in so many ways. We know about the background of the detectives, the pony express riders, and the men who risked their lives to transfer gold dust, bullion and so much more across the plains. With the gold rush in California, there was a more urgent need for bonded men who could safeguard the money and gold dust being transferred, but that did not keep desperadoes from trying to get rob the stagecoaches. That is where the detectives would pop in, and track down the men that were responsible for the robberies. We know the stories, but we don't know the men. Now we do. John Boessenecker does a great job in bringing these legendary figures to life, and bringing their stories to a much broader public. I absolutely loved the book, and getting to read about several places that were familiar. Mount Shasta, Klamath Falls, and so much more - old stomping grounds for me. Great history, and well done!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    It took me a while to become really interested in the book, but once I got past the introduction I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was interesting reading about some of the highlights of several Wells Fargo messengers, detectives, etc. Their stories were sometimes funny, sometimes inspiring, and sometimes sad. The photos really helped bring the accounts to life. The author's regard for the subject really comes through, as well as his feelings about Wells Fargo's more recent dealings. It's clear that h It took me a while to become really interested in the book, but once I got past the introduction I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was interesting reading about some of the highlights of several Wells Fargo messengers, detectives, etc. Their stories were sometimes funny, sometimes inspiring, and sometimes sad. The photos really helped bring the accounts to life. The author's regard for the subject really comes through, as well as his feelings about Wells Fargo's more recent dealings. It's clear that he has done a lot of research and worked to get the details right. I enjoyed the book and would be interested in reading more of the authors work. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cain S.

    This history of Wells Fargo's security personnel is equal parts Western and biopic. It has all the ingredients of great cinema: love, loss, redemption, and a whole lot of violence set in the wild, wild, West. It is also interesting as a compendium of examples of many a man's heroic loyalty to causes smaller and less mystical than national sovereignty or family honour: safeguarding items ensuring whose safeguarding was their vocation. Its many stories demonstrate it is not great causes that rouse This history of Wells Fargo's security personnel is equal parts Western and biopic. It has all the ingredients of great cinema: love, loss, redemption, and a whole lot of violence set in the wild, wild, West. It is also interesting as a compendium of examples of many a man's heroic loyalty to causes smaller and less mystical than national sovereignty or family honour: safeguarding items ensuring whose safeguarding was their vocation. Its many stories demonstrate it is not great causes that rouse brave men to action but brave men who're predisposed to indiscriminately render any available cause great by their actions.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    A very engaging book. Each chapter details a different agent who rode for Wells Fargo in the 19th century. The author provides a brisk narrative and debunks some western myths along the way. This book would be of interest to anyone interested in history and the West in general, as well as a person studying law enforcement and outlaws on the western frontier.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    A well written history of the Wells Fargo express agency. This was different part of Wells Fargo that is sadly no longer in existence. He delves into the history of the individual express agents and the detectives that made the company great. He also skims over the problems that have beset the bank part since 1996 and reminds us that once a company forgets its history it forgets who they are.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    A well researched and well written account of the shotgun messengers and investigators who worked for Wells Fargo in the Old West. These men were brave, colorful and legendary in their own time and deserve a place in the history of the Old West. A must read for anyone with an interest in the history of the Old West and for those who simply like well told stories.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Burns

    Good read, Interesting about how the Wells Fargo started, and the men who stopped the bank robbers. I really appreciated, at the end, how the author referenced the Wells Fargo scandals, instead of just omitting them. If you love the history of the Old West, you will like this.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dale Bentz

    The book is well written and comprehensive. However, each chapter reads a bit like the previous one, I.e , only the names have changed. This likely could not be avoided as criminals were criminals and messengers were messengers throughout the Old West.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Robert Van buhler iii

    The true story of the unsung messengers and yehus that made money and document transfers possible in the Wild West. I highly recommend this step into the past by one of our best western authors and historians.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Shotguns and Stagecoaches: The Brave Men Who Rode for Wells Fargo in the Wild West is an interesting read. I give it four stars.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bill Pace

    Good history but seems not to have much in depth research

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marina

    The narrator had some Nevada/Ne-vah-da pronunciation issues that I couldn't overcome. Besides, the stories were hard to follow in audio. The narrator had some Nevada/Ne-vah-da pronunciation issues that I couldn't overcome. Besides, the stories were hard to follow in audio.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mike Keever

    It was good.

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