900 Miles on the Butterfield Trail
“A. C… gives us a fine mix of past and present to appeal to scholar
and lay reader alike.” —Robert M. Utley
“A. C. Greene, writing in his colorful style, has brought the old trail
to vivid life. Thank you, A.C.” —Dee Brown
“Greene has sensitively compiled a refreshing… survey of the longest
stagecoach line in world history. His own recent travels… bring forth
an exciting companion to anyone wishing to visit famous stations and
stops along this vanished bastion of Americana.” —Library
“Remember, boys, nothing on God’s earth must stop the United States
mail!” —–John Butterfield’s instruction to his drivers
Short as the life of the Southern Overland Mail turned out to be—less
than three years in its span—the saga of the Butterfield Trail remains a
romantic high point in the westward movement, forming familiar elements
in historical plots, functioning as a vibrant backdrop against which
mythic adventures, western thrillers, movie serials, and television
spectacles have raced. A. C. Greene offers a history and guide to
retrace that historic and romantic Trail.
Today, more than a century and a third after the first Butterfield
coaches rolled, we are hard put to imagine how awesome, how fearful the
actual passage along the trail was.
In 1858 Waterman Lily Ormsby, Jr., gave the first account of traveling
on the Butterfield Overland Mail coach as a reporter for the New York
Herald on a trip from Missouri to San Francisco. In the 1930s Roscoe P.
and Margaret B. Conkling drove the route again in their 1930 Buick and
published three volumes of their research. Now A. C. and Judy Greene
have made a 1990s version of the ride in their own “celerity wagon” a
Lincoln Mark VII.
This is the first book in more than 55 years to trace the actual
Butterfield Trail through the heart of the Southwest. Incorporating
newly-found documents, and changes in the landscape and its history, it
is an updated story of the Butterfield operation and the people and
events that have occurred along the route.
Winner, T. R. Fehrenbach Award; Finalist for Best Western Contemporary
Nonfiction from Western Writers of America.