The Stagecoach (Lucky Luke)

La Diligence ("The Stagecoach") is a Lucky Luke adventure written by Goscinny and illustrated by Morris. It is the 28th book in the series and was originally published in French in 1968.

The Stagecoach
Cover of the French edition
Date1968
SeriesLucky Luke
PublisherDargaud
Creative team
WritersGoscinny
Morris
ArtistsMorris
Original publication
Date of publication1968
LanguageFrench
Chronology
Preceded byThe Judge
Followed byThe Bounty Hunter

Synopsis

Due to an increasing rate of stagecoach holdups, Wells Fargo & Co. decides to organize and conduct a special trip with a load of gold from Denver to San Francisco, with Lucky Luke participating as an escort, to reboost the company's failing public image. Also, the company decides to demonstrate the safety of its transport by ensuring the transport of a cargo of gold between Denver and San Francisco. A large advertising campaign is organized around the event. Some passengers join the trip: a photographer, a professional player, a priest, a couple and a gold digger. As expected, the stagecoach becomes the target for various hold-up attempts, in addition to an Indian attack, an encounter with the bandit poet Black Bart, various on-board gambling sessions, and (as prescribed by the company) a continuous diet of potatoes and lard. In the end the gold not only arrives safely in San Francisco, but also the passengers have gained some new personal insights from that trip. Relationships within the couple have been reversed (the dominated man has become domineering due to winning a huge amount of money whilst gambling).

Characters

  • Hank Bully: Driver of the stage, the 'best whip in the west'.
  • Scat Thumbs: Poker player (and cheater).
  • Jeremiah Fallings: Photographer.
  • Digger Stubble: Gold digger.
  • Sinclair Rawlings: (Fake) reverend.
  • Annabella and Oliver Flimsy: A couple.
  • Claude Pushpull: Another poker player (and cheater); friend of Scat Thumbs.

Cultural references

  • The story was inspired by John Ford's 1939 film, Stagecoach. The poker player in the story, Cat Thumbs, was modelled after actor John Carradine who appeared in the film.
  • The character of Hank Bully, the coach driver, is a caricature of actor Wallace Beery. This character resurfaces in volume 54, La Fiancée de Lucky Luke.
  • Film director Alfred Hitchcock has a small cameo as a saloon bartender.


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