Riding shotgun: Difference between revisions

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[[File:Indians Attacking a Stage-Coach BAH-p243.png|thumb|right|200px|Riding shotgun. The driver is holding the whip with the shotgun messenger on his left.]]
'''Riding shotgun''' was used to describe the guard who rode alongside a [[stagecoach]] driver, ready to use his [[shotgun]] to ward off bandits or hostile [[Native Americans in the United States|Native Americans]]. In modern use, it refers to the practice of sitting alongside the [[driver (person)|driver]] in a moving [[vehicle]]. The phrase has been used to mean giving actual or figurative support or aid to someone in a situation.<ref>{{cite web|work=dictionary.reference.com|url=http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/shotgun|title= Define Shotgun at Dictionary.com|publisher =Dictionary.com|accessdate=11 February 11, 2013}}</ref> The coining of this phrase dates to 1905 at latest.<ref name=phrases/>
== Etymology ==
{{quote|Wyatt and Morgan Earp were in the service of The Express Company. They went often as guards-- "riding shotgun," it was called-- when the stage bore unusual treasure.<ref>{{cite web|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=rwg3AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA349&dq=%22riding+shotgun%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjC7NSYjJXaAhXG2VMKHUmfDZYQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=%22riding%20shotgun%22&f=false|title=The Sunset Trail|last=Lewis|first=Alfred Henry|accessdate=30 March 2018}}</ref>}}
It was later used in print and especially film depiction of stagecoaches and wagons in the [[Old West]] in danger of being robbed or attacked by [[bandit]]s. A special armed employee of the express service using the stage for transportation of bullion or cash would sit beside the driver, carrying a short [[shotgun]] (or alternatively a [[rifle]]),[https://books.google.com/books?id=QILdMe7lYXgC&lpg=PP1&dq=.gov%3Ariding%20shotgun%20wild%20west%20stagecoach&pg=PR6#v=onepage&q=shotgun&f=false] to provide an armed response in case of threat to the cargo, which was usually a strongbox.<ref>{{Cite book|title=The Old West in Fact and Film: History Versus Hollywood|last=Agnew|first=Jeremy|publisher=McFarland|year=2012|isbn=0786468882|location=Jefferson, North Carolina|pages=17}}</ref> Absence of an armed person in that position often signaled that the stage was not carrying a strongbox, but only passengers.<ref name=phrases>{{cite web|url=http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/riding-shotgun.html|title=Riding shotgun|work=phrases.org.uk|accessdate=1 May 1, 2010}}</ref>
== Historical examples ==
=== Tombstone, Arizona Territory ===
On the evening of March 15, 1881, a Kinnear & Company [[stagecoach]] carrying US$26,000 in [[silver bullion]] ({{inflation|US|26000|1881|r=-3|fmt=eq}}) was en route from the boom town of [[Tombstone, Arizona|Tombstone]], [[Arizona Territory]] to [[Benson, Arizona]], the nearest freight terminal.<ref>{{Cite book | last1=O'Neal | first1=Bill | title=Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters | year=1979 | publisher=University of Oklahoma Press | location=Norman, OK | isbn=978-0-8061-2335-6 | url=https://books.google.com/books?id=5KLrfdOrI78C&pg=PA180&lpg=PA180 |accessdate=14 April 14, 2011}}</ref>{{rp|180|date=November 2012}} [[Robert H. Paul|Bob Paul]], who had run for [[Pima County, Arizona|Pima County]] Sheriff and was contesting the election he lost due to [[ballot-stuffing]], was temporarily working once again as the Wells Fargo shotgun messenger. He had taken the reins and driver's seat in Contention City because the usual driver, a well-known and popular man named Eli "Budd" Philpot, was ill. Philpot was riding shotgun.
Near [[Edward Landers Drew#Biography|Drew's Station]], just outside [[Contention City, Arizona|Contention City]], a man stepped into the road and commanded them to "Hold!" Three Cowboys attempted to rob the stage. Paul, in the driver's seat, fired his [[shotgun]] and emptied his [[revolver]] at the robbers, wounding a Cowboy later identified as Bill Leonard in the groin. Philpot, riding shotgun, and passenger Peter Roerig, riding in the rear [[rumble seat|dickey seat]], were both shot and killed.<ref>{{cite web|title=Tombstone, AZ|url=http://silverstateghosttowns.com/tombstone-az.html|accessdate=17 May 17, 2011}}</ref> The horses spooked and Paul wasn't able to bring the stage under control for almost a mile, leaving the robbers with nothing. Paul, who normally rode shotgun, later said he thought the first shot killing Philpot had been meant for him.<ref name="robbery">{{cite web|url=http://law.jrank.org/pages/2653/Wyatt-Earp-Trial-1881-Mysterious-Stage-Coach-Robbery.html|title= Wyatt Earp Trial: 1881—A Mysterious Stage Coach Robbery—Clanton, Holliday, Told, Leonard, Doc, and Ike| accessdate=8 February 8, 2011}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=http://historyraider.com/ |title=History Raiders |accessdate=11 February 11, 2011 |url-status=dead |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20110208143417/http://historyraider.com/ |archivedate=February 8 February, 2011 |df=dmy-all }}</ref>
When [[Wyatt Earp]] first arrived in Tombstone in December 1879, he initially took a job as a stagecoach [[shotgun messenger]] for [[Wells Fargo]], guarding shipments of silver bullion. When Wyatt Earp was appointed Pima County Deputy Sheriff on July 27, 1881, his brother [[Morgan Earp]] took over his job.<ref name=wgbh>{{cite AV media |url=https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/transcript/wyatt-transcript/ |title=WGBH American Experience: Wyatt Earp, Complete Program Transcript |date = January 25, 2010 |season=22 |number=2}}</ref>
=== Historical weapon ===
When [[Wells, Fargo & Co.]] began regular stagecoach service from [[Tipton, Missouri]] to [[San Francisco]], [[California]] in 1858, they issued shotguns to its drivers and guards for defense along the perilous 2,800 mile route.<ref name="pmo">{{cite magazine | last = Jones | first = Spencer | title = Revival Of The Coach Gun | magazine = Popular Mechanics | date = June 1, 2004-06-01 | url = http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoors/sports/1277346.html?page=1 | accessdate = 2007-03-March 18, 2007 | url-status = dead | archiveurl = https://web.archive.org/web/20070930024328/http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoors/sports/1277346.html?page=1 | archivedate = 30 September 30, 2007 | df = dmy-all }}</ref> The guard was called a [[shotgun messenger]] and they were issued a [[Coach gun]], typically a 10-gauge or 12-gauge, short, double-barreled shotgun.<ref name="Peacemakers">{{cite book |last=Wilson |first=RL | title=The Peacemakers: Arms and Adventure in the American West |year= 1992|publisher= NAL|location=New York |isbn=978-0-7858-1892-2 |pages=121, 197, 244}}</ref>
== Modern usage ==
More recently, the term has been applied to a [[game]], usually played by groups of friends to determine who rides beside the driver in a car. Typically, this involves claiming the right to ride shotgun by being the first person to call out "shotgun". The [[game]] creates an environment that is fair by forgetting and leaving out most [[seniority]] except for that moms and significant others automatically get shotgun, and this meanwhile leaves out any conflicts that may have previously occurred when deciding who gets to ride shotgun.<ref>{{Cite web|url=https://www.shotgunrules.com/|title=Official Rules for Calling Shotgun {{!}} Riding Shotgun {{!}} Shotgun Rules|website=www.shotgunrules.com|language=en-US|access-date=2017-10-October 25, 2017}}</ref> Therefore, it is best played and seen mainly within friend groups because of the lack of seniority, and it is when most people enjoy participating in games. Also, the front passenger seat is typically most wanted because of the small perks it contains like more leg room and easier access to the radio and air controls of the car. Calling shotgun does not apply to bi-directional trips; shotgun must be called before each journey when within sight of the vehicle.
== See also ==
== Further reading ==
*[http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2158/whats-the-origin-of-riding-shotgun What's the origin of "riding shotgun"?]
*[http://www.shotgunrules.com/ Rules of shotgun], Shotgunrules.com, Retrieved 27 March 27, 2015.
*[http://www.aewa.org/Library/shotgun.html The Shotgun Rules, version 1.1] by the Airborne Early Warning Association, Retrieved 27 March 27, 2015.
*[http://www.thebestschools.org/features/rules-of-shotgun/ Rules of shotgun]'': The 25 Universal Rules of Order for Riding Shotgun'' By David A. Tomar, Retrieved 27 March 27, 2015.
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