"Riding Shotgun On The Overland Stage

A Poem by Chuck Mack
June 13, 2001

Written after visiting abandoned stage stations along the Overland Trail in Wyoming, June 2001

Young Jack Star was born of humble means.
He grew up on buffalo jerky and pinto beans.

He stood six-foot three weighed 200 pounds by the time he was 15 years old.
He grew up tough. He grew up bold.

When he turned 15 his Mama and his Papa said,
"Son you just gotta' go.
You are eatin' us outa' house and home,
And you done out grew your bed!"

His Papa says, "Son I know a man out west,
Who's trying to build a Stage Coach trail across the land.
Why don't you go on out there and give old Ben a hand.

So young Jack Star took his Papa's advice and took the first stage west.
Young Jack couldn't help but notice the feller sittin' up there alongside the driver on the seat.
Young Jack hollers up and asks, " Mr. what's your job?"
The man replies, "I'm the shotgun rider on this stage."
Young Jack thinks to himself that job must be the best.

After a few days travel young Jack meets the man he'd started out west to see,
Ben Holladay was his name!
Young Jack says, "Mr. Holladay a shotgun rider on your coach line I'd like to be."

Old Ben looks the young man up one side and down the other,
Then says with a grin,
"Young feller I think you can handle that job! You see that building over there?
That's my office, just high tail it over there and go right in.

Well they soon outfitted young Jack with a Winchester shotgun,
And two Colt 45's on his hip.
Then old Ben says, "Son crawl up on that there stage, this is your very first trip!"

Soon the name Jack Star was known far and wide.
When an outlaw even heard his name he went somewhere to hide!

It's been said that young Jack Star could out draw and out shoot anyone
But unlike most gunslingers young Jack never got ornery and mean.
He never took to senseless killing; he didn't think that was fun!

For as long as there was an Overland Trail
Young Jack road shotgun
Protecting passengers, cargo and mail!

With that we've come to the end of this tale!

Mr Mack also wrote "What Torture It Must Have Been"

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