Slade Hijinx

“Concerning the early history of Laporte in its palmy staging days, the Rocky Mountain News has the following.

‘The Indians were not the only source of annoyance in the early days. The Overland Stage Company’s employees were in many cases more care¬ fully guarded against. They were a drunken, carousing set in the main, and absolutely careless of the rights or feelings of the settlers. The great desperado, Slade, who was for a time superintendent of this division, and was later hung in Montana by a vigilance committee on general principles, exhausted his ingenuity in devising new breadths and depths of deviltry. In his commonest transactions with others, Slade always kept his hand laid back in a light, easy fashion on the handle of his revolver. One of his most facetious tricks was to cock a revolver in a stranger’s face and walk him into the nearest saloon to set up the drinks to a crowd. He did not treat the passengers over the line any better. 

“One pitch-dark night the stage was started from Laporte with Slade and a lot of employees aboard in the convulsions of a ‘booze,’ and one un¬ fortunate passenger. Six wild mustangs were brought out and hitched to the stage, requiring a hostler to each until the driver gathered up his lines. When they were thrown loose the coach dashed off like a limited whirlwind, the wild, drunken Jehu, in mad delight, keeping up a constant crack, crack, with his ‘ snake ’ whip. The stage traveled for a time on the two off wheels, then lurched over and traveled on the other two by way of variety. The passenger had a dim suspicion that this was the wild West, but never having seen anything of the kind before, and, being in a sort of tremor, was unable to decide clearly. Slade and his gang whooped and yelled like demons. Fortunately the passenger had taken the precaution before starting to se¬ cure an outside seat. The only way in which he was enabled to prevent the complete wreck of stage, necks and everything valuable was finally by an earnest threat that he would report the whole affair to the company. Slade and some of his men went on a tear on another occasion, when they paid the Laporte grocer a visit, threw pickles, cheese, vinegar, sugar and coal-oil in a heap on the floor, rolled the grocer in the mess, and then hauled him up on the Laramie plains, and dumped him out, to find his way home to the best of his ability. It was only a specimen of the horse-play in which they frequently indulged.”