A Chronology of STAGE WEST

TIMELINE: Saturday, July 10 – Wednesday, July 28, 1875


Four years before: Sam Harris leaves his wife Linda and son Timmy in Boston to prospect for gold in the West.[2]


Saturday, July 10, 1875:[1] Bret Maverick crosses the border into the Dakota Territory from Nebraska.[2]


Saturday, July 17, 1875:[1] Harris partners with Matson in Twin Bluffs and sets out for his gold strike in the Black Hills. They are tracked by Mart, Wes and Rip Fallon.[2]


Tuesday, July 20, 1875:[1] Harris and Matson reach the vicinity of the Harris Mine. Knowing the Fallons are tracking them, Harris begins leading them on a false circular trail away from his gold strike.[2]


Friday, July 22, 1875:[1] The Fallons confront Harris and Matson at their camp, some distance away from the Harris Mine. Harris raises his shotgun to defend himself and is mortally shot by Wes Fallon. Not knowing the location of the mine, Matson bargains with his life to take the Fallons to the Packsaddle Station where Harris was to meet his wife and bring her to the mine.[2]


Saturday, July 23, 1875:[1] Bret finds Harris, still clinging to life, some distance from the mine. Bret tries to remove the bullet from Harris' body, but fails. Grateful for what Bret has done for him, he tells Bret the story of the Fallons, and leads him to the gold strike.[2]


Sunday, July 24, 1875:[1] Bret realizes Harris' strike was only a limited pocket of free gold and explains to Harris that the mine has played out.[2]


Monday, July 26, 1875:[1] Knowing he is about to die, Harris gives Bret the gold nuggets he had unearthed and asks Bret to take them to his wife who is due to arrive at the Packsaddle Station in two days. Harris dies, and Bret buries him, and draws a map of the mine. He begins riding towards Packsaddle, but has to ride for his life after he is discovered carrying gold out of the Black Hills by an angry party of Sioux.[2]


Tuesday, July 27, 1875:[1] Bret kills two Sioux warriors as he continues to ride for his life.[2]


Wednesday, July 28, 1875:[1] Bret manages to evade the Sioux and crosses the Nebraska border. At the Packsaddle Station, the Fallons and Matson await the west-bound stage, but before it arrives, Matson is killed by Wes Fallon. Bret arrives at Packsaddle, meets Linda Harris and learns the Fallons' plan. Bret kills Wes Fallon in self-defense and turns Mart and Rip Fallon over to Sheriff Tibbs of Twin Bluffs.[2]


Shortly afterwards:[1] Bret and Simmons testify at Mart and Rip Fallon's trial. Mart is found guilty of involvement in the murders of Sam Harris and Matson and is sentenced to seven years in prison. Rip is found not guilty and returns home to operate the Fallon Ranch.[1]


01. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails

02. Maverick, Stage West (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.



"It'd be different if that mine belonged to you, but it don't. It belongs to the Indians. So none of us have got any right up here." This places the date some time before January of 1877, when the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie was revoked and the United States government took the Black Hills away from the Sioux. in 1875, after word got out of General George Armstrong Custer's gold discovery in the Black Hills a year earlier, the Army tried to keep gold seekers out of the territory. By 1876, with their hands full fighting the Sioux Wars, the Army tacitly allowed the miners swarming into the Black Hills to fend for themselves. But in 1875, efforts were still made to enforce the treaty. As such, 1875 is the most likely year the events of "Stage West" took place.


"It's worse than an oven." "Well, they got it just as hot out there." This exchange between Wes and Mart Fallon clues us in to the time of year. July is historically the hottest month in the northern Nebraska Panhandle, so the events of "Stage West" are likely set in July of 1875.


"You lousy butcher!" Rip Fallon's reaction to his brother Wes' killing Matson. With no other contextual clue as to the specific date of the story, we are commemorating the date of the death (July 28, 1984) of actor Jim Bannon, who portrayed Matson in "Stage West." This allows us to pin the date of Matson's death on July 28, 1875. The rest of the Chronology works back from there.

Saturday, July 10, 1875:[1] Bret Maverick watches the agency stage[2] heading west[1] along the Tomah Stage route.[2]

Saturday, July 23, 1875:[1] Rip, Mart and Wes Fallon sneak up behind Matson and Sam Harris in the Black Hills.[2]

Thursday, July 28, 1875:[1] Bret Maverick arrives at the Packsaddle Station along the Tomah Stage route in northern Nebraska.[2]

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