riding shotgun (now 1921)

Sam Clements SClements at NEO.RR.COM
Fri Apr 16 23:31:26 UTC 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: "Baker, John" <JMB at STRADLEY.COM>

>         As Sam Clements previously noted, the earliest use of "riding
shotgun" seems to be in the 1939 movie Stagecoach, a use found by C.K.
Dexter Haven, an administrator at the Straight Dope Message Board.
Stagecoach was based on the 1937 short story Stage to Lordsburg, by Ernest
Haycox.  <

Well, I got some good news and I got some bad news.

27 March, 1921 _Washington Post_  "Magazine of Fiction" (a supplement?)  A
story entitled "The Fighting Fool" by Dane Coolidge.

Chapter I, column 1--

"Lum Martin!" shouted McMonagle, owner of the Cow Ranch saloon, waving his
finger in front of Benson's face, "that's the man--Lum Martin!  He's ridin'
shotgun for Wells Fargo--or was until last week--and he's over in my saloon
right now, playin' solitaire!"

So, it looks as if those pesky fiction writers are still in the lead for
creating the term.  You just have to think like them and use _ridin'_ rather
than _riding_.  But I still won't be surprised when the term turns up in the
normal course of a newspaper article in the late 1800's.

Sam Clements

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