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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.

Buy link: Amazon –
Michal Scott Amazon Author Page –
Website –

25 comments to “Michal Scott: Will the Real Stagecoach Mary Please Stand Up? (Contest)”

  1. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · December 10th, 2021 at 10:05 am · Link

    Thanks as always for hosting me Delilah.

  2. Delilah
    · December 10th, 2021 at 10:06 am · Link

    This is the story I first read about Mary Fields and Gary Cooper’s (Yes, Sergeant York!) connection to Ms. Fields:

  3. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · December 10th, 2021 at 11:52 am · Link

    Thanks for sharing the link, Delilah! The post was great. I recognized Esther Rolle portraying Mary in picture #2. She is definitely closer in appearance to the real Mary.

  4. Colleen C.
    · December 10th, 2021 at 2:22 pm · Link

    Thanks for sharing… I always love learning about interesting tidbits like this! As for choosing someone’s story I wish Hollywood would share… I honestly do not know…

  5. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · December 10th, 2021 at 2:53 pm · Link

    Hi Colleen, glad to be of service. If you think of someone in the middle of the night, you can always come back and share then. : D Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Mary Preston
    · December 10th, 2021 at 6:02 pm · Link

    I had an ancestor who rode shotgun on the Cobb & Co coaches here in Australia.

    So many women have made advances in science etc, but very few have been recognised for their genius.

  7. Delores Stewart
    · December 10th, 2021 at 6:13 pm · Link

    Thanks, Anna, for another great insight into a valuable history story and a great woman. I was glad to hear about Stagecoach Mary. All the links showing how slanted the truth about history can be were so on point as well.

  8. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · December 10th, 2021 at 7:05 pm · Link

    How cool, Mary. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · December 10th, 2021 at 7:06 pm · Link

    Thanks for stopping by, Delores. It’s so true how history can be slanted to leave out the contributions of so many.

  10. Jennifer Beyer
    · December 10th, 2021 at 9:35 pm · Link

    I don’t know. Hollywood gets it wrong so often that I’m always hesitant to think a historical figure would be portrayed properly.

  11. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · December 10th, 2021 at 10:55 pm · Link

    Your observation isn’t far wrong, Jennifer. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Debra Guyette
    · December 11th, 2021 at 6:39 am · Link

    I think Rosalind Franklin deserves a movie.

  13. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · December 11th, 2021 at 7:23 am · Link

    Yes, Debra! I saw an off Broadway play about her. Watson and Crick couldn’t have achieved what they did without her research. Thanks for lifting her up.

  14. flchen1
    · December 11th, 2021 at 5:53 pm · Link

    I think Zheng Yi Shao’s story might make an interesting Hollywood tale–she’s a female pirate 🙂

  15. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · December 11th, 2021 at 7:27 pm · Link

    Fascinating, flchen1! Thanks for lifting up her name.

  16. bn100
    · December 11th, 2021 at 7:53 pm · Link

    Irena Sendler

  17. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · December 11th, 2021 at 7:56 pm · Link

    Yes! Some one who saved children during the Holocaust definitely needs a movie. Thanks for lifting her up.

  18. ButtonsMom2003
    · December 13th, 2021 at 1:59 am · Link

    I enjoyed reading this post. I really can’t think of anyone right now.

  19. Donna Barker
    · December 13th, 2021 at 10:59 am · Link

    Throwing an Indigenous (Canadian) in the mix: Edith Monture. Edith was the first Indigenous woman to become a registered nurse in Canada and to gain the right to vote in a Canadian federal election. She was also the first Indigenous woman from Canada to serve in the United States military. Edith broke barriers for Indigenous women in the armed forces and with regards to federal voting rights.

  20. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · December 13th, 2021 at 11:11 am · Link

    Hi ButtonsMom2003, That’s okay. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  21. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · December 13th, 2021 at 1:01 pm · Link

    Hi Donna, I love hearing about firsts. Thanks for putting Edith’s name out there.

  22. Alison Rush
    · December 22nd, 2021 at 8:13 am · Link

    Never heard this. Will have to find the story there should be more they censor to much of what we see and what were told.

  23. Jean White
    · December 22nd, 2021 at 8:54 am · Link

    Rose O’Neal Greenhow (aka Wild Rose) was a leader in Washington society, but was a secessionist and a Civil War Spy.

  24. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · December 22nd, 2021 at 11:25 am · Link

    Hi Alison, so true about things being censored. Thanks for stopping by.

  25. Anna Taylor Sweringen
    · December 22nd, 2021 at 11:25 am · Link

    Thanks for lifting her up, Jean.

Comments are closed.