Boot & Spur, Arizona

As the stage crossed a ravine a voice cried ‘Halt!’ from some bushes and when the driver failed to comply several Winchester rifles spat. Eli ‘Bud’ Philpott fell from the stage with a bullet in his throat. Bob Paul, riding shotgun, gave the bushes both barrels of his sawed-off, accompanied by a similar verbal volley from his mouth. The horses bolted leaving poor Bud dead and mangled; the stage hurtled on with Bob Paul frantically trying to recover the reins that Bud had dropped. Seeing their loot escaping, the robbers loosed off shot after shot from their rifles and before the stage disappeared from sight, one of their bullets struck an outside passenger by the name of Peter Roering. I later heard tell he was a corpse by the time the stage reached Benson. Back in Cochise County in the 1880s, civilisation was still half-baked; society was raw and yet to be shaped. They were scary times, but Lordy! – if you were fearless they must have been exhilarating times to live through.

Copyright  Alice Starmore
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