Episode 135: Dollop: Stagecoach Mary

“Mary, relax!”
“‘Relax?’ I’ll relax on your face!'”


You should be scared of Stagecoach Mary, aka White Crow, but unlike another weapon-wielding beast of a woman in our Dollop library, Carry A Nation, your fear of Mary should just be the healthy kind. Like the respectful fear you have for a grizzly bear. Magnificent and powerful, and way cool, but you let that bear do what it wants to do, and for God’s sake, don’t poke it. (Also, Mary wasn’t saddled with an in-house relative who thought she was a weathervane, so there is that.)

She was a black cowboy, the only woman legally allowed to drink or enter saloons in her town, and she could right a wrecked stagecoach alone. Oh, yes, and she was the first black mail carrier in the United States, and only the second female mail carrier, when she started in 1895, at the age of 60. And she babysat Gary Cooper, and he claimed her as one of the influences on his becoming a virile Hollywood badass. Oh, yes, he did; here’s the Ebony magazine article.

What did you do yesterday? Yep, me neither.

Do you even lift, bro?
Do you even lift, bro?

black cowboys: Mary Fields at blackcowboys.com

Black Cowboys of the Old West: True, Sensational, and Little-Known Stories from History * Tricia Martineau Wagner

Shout out to the bishop of Montana, who fielded God-knows how many letters and telegrams about Mary, for his patience, and for having one of the most Dollop-y names so far in the Dollop:

Bishop Filbus N.E. Berwanger.

hold for applause

If I ever have a cat, that cat will be named Filbus Berwanger. I solemnly swear hereto.

Plus, she channeled the splendid Clifton’s cafeteria and Clifford Clinton, and failed twice at owing a restaurant, because she fed everyone, money to pay or no.

And yet another damn battle of the pants. Fellas, if a chick does your heavy lifting for you, shut up about what she’s wearing, and say thank you. Or shut up and lift the heavy yourself. Either or. Worry about your own damn pants.

(I’m wearing pants right now…or am I? insert dramatic yet sexy music sting)

Stargazer Mercantile: “Stagecoach Mary” Fields: The Richest Woman in Town

Mary’s profile at cascademontana.com

About that guy she punched for not paying her for his laundry: He’d ordered extra startch in his collars and cuffs and hadn’t coughed up the extra dough. No hard feelings, though, because, although Mary punched a tooth clean out of his head, it was a tooth that was bothering him. I guess a quick jaw alignment from Mary was better than a colonial crotch-face tooth pull any day. It was in my book.

Mary was played by Esther Rolle (perfect! Of course she was, Florida Evans wasn’t to be played with, no sir) in South by Northwest, which isn’t listed in the Internet Movie Database or Amazon. Must find, must watch. Help me, Rubes! She was also played by Dawnn Lewis from A Different World in The Cherokee Kid. It is either simply out of print or a collector’s item, because the prices are just wow.

Band names from this episode:

  • Bacon Steamboat
  • Hamboat
  • Mother Amadeus
  • Temperance Backfire (Dibs. DIBS. C’mon, Carla and the Temperance Backfire? Yasssss.)
  • Molasses Mary
  • Wagonflipper
  • Man-tana (21st century Village People, with more genderfluidity)
  • One-Punch Mary (think Mumford and Sons meets what Steve Martin‘s been up to with Edie Brickell–lots of awesome moody banjo with some angry harmonizing)
  • Bottomshooter–one-hit wonder, “Duel Cheat”

Cultural references from this episode:



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