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Archive for December 10th, 2021

Michal Scott: Will the Real Stagecoach Mary Please Stand Up? (Contest)
Friday, December 10th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Donna Barker!

When I was a kid I used to watch an old game show called To Tell The Truth. The curtain came up on three contestants who would claim, “My name is …” The host Bud Collyer would read a mini-bio on the person then a panel of celebrities asked a series of questions to discern which of the contestants was telling the truth. At the end of the round, the panelists stated who their guess was. Collyer then turned to the contestants and asked, “Will the real…  please stand up?” This old game show question came to me as I crafted today’s post about Stagecoach Mary Fields.


Mary Fields was a former slave who became the first African American woman to work for the postal service. She was awarded two Star Route mail contracts. These were contracts given to a private carrier to deliver mail for the post office in rural and sparsely populated areas. Despite her nickname, Mary carried the mail with a horse and wagon from 1885 to 1903. She is believed to have been born in 1832 which means she would have been fifty-three when her first contract was granted.

I first learned of Mary in William Loren Katz’s Black People Who Made the Old West. Born in slavery in Tennessee, she made her way West to Montana with her former master’s daughter who’d become an Ursuline nun. Mary worked in the school the Ursulines founded for Native American women. She was six feet tall, dressed, drank, cussed, and handled a gun like a man.

In a 1959 Ebony magazine article, actor Gary Cooper wrote this about her, “Born a slave somewhere in Tennessee, Mary lived to become one of the freest souls ever to draw a breath, or a .38.”

Episode five of the Weird Wonderful Women Youtube channel is dedicated to her. You can view it here: Another realistic depiction is shared in this stage presentation:

Imagine my shock when I saw a picture of Zazie Beetz, the actress who portrayed Mary in the Netflix film The Harder They Fall. Check out this side-by-side comparison created for this op-ed in the Curvy Fashionista,, and you’ll understand why that old To Tell The Truth question, “Will the real Stagecoach Mary please stand up?,” came to be the title of my post.

But why should Hollywood’s depiction of Mary be any more realistic than those of other Western women? Does anyone believe Doris Day was chosen to play Calamity Jane because she resembled the real Martha Jane Cannary? Or Betty Hutton because she looked anything like Annie Oakley? Zazie Beetz and Stagecoach Mary are in good company. I’m just grateful Mary is being featured at all. Maybe it will send viewers to learn more about her so the real Stagecoach Mary can not only stand up but stand out.

So for a chance at a $10 Amazon gift card, share in the comments about a woman whose story you wish Hollywood would tell.

“The Patience of Unanswered Prayer” by Michal Scott,
inside Cowboys

Cowboys: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology

A feisty businesswoman about to become the next victim of Post-Civil War revenge receives rescue from an unexpected source…

Excerpt from “The Patience of Unanswered Prayer”…

The cock of a gun hammer turned them both in the same direction. Radcliffe aimed at her and fired. The shot burned its way into her shoulder, knocking her to the ground onto her back.

A second shot shattered the night silence. Through pain-drenched tears she saw Flyte whirl, stumble backwards and collapse with a splash into the creek.

Eleanor lay spent, her shoulder warmed by her blood, her chest no longer tight with fear. Above, the moon shone through a black canopy of leaves. The smell of creek water, crisp and clean, filled her lungs. She’d never imagined where she would die, but a place of beauty like this was as good as any.

Radcliffe’s grin loomed over her.

She stared into the barrel of his gun then closed her eyes as surrender seeped through her.

Father into thy hands I commit my spirit.

 A peace descended upon her mind, the peace that passeth all understanding spoken of in the Bible. Although feeling peaceful at this moment made no sense.

 Neither did the screaming, cursing and snarling that rent the air.

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