Charles Outland has tackled the history of transportation along the coast of California from its inception in 1861 to its termination upon completion of the railroad in 1901. The fascinating and precise tale which emerges from the author's extensive research reveals an adventurous, vital period of our past, long obscured by the romantic rhetoric of past writers. The various companies, routes, stations and participants involved are accurately outlined, having been rescued from dusty source materials previously neglected by such scholars as Bancroft, Guinn, Thompson and West, and the Conklings. Murders, hold-ups, accidents, and wild rides are remembered in the many anecdotes taken from contemporary sources. The separation of fact and fancy is well drawn, allowing the romance of coastal staging to be properly portrayed. Dust storms in the San Fernando Valley, rides through the surf at Rincon Point, fording the flooded rivers of the coastal valleys, and the conniving corruption of postal contractors are all exhibited in a clear and sometimes humorous light.
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