The year is 1880 (just over thirty years after the California Gold Rush), and five passengers are riding the stagecoach from San Francisco to Sacramento. Along for the ride are two bank guards and a Wells Fargo lockbox with over $10,000 in gold.
The road is rough. The younger ladies seem to be taking the road poorly, but Mrs. Hannah Schuler, the widow of a wealthy Gold Rush prospector, seems to have as much dignity as if she were in her own parlour.
Out on the road, with not another soul in sight, the stagecoach stops. From above, the driver, Fred McDonald, shouts, "Bandit!"
The robber is wearing a large hat pulled over his eyes, and his face is covered with a handkerchief. He announces that he's Black Bart (the infamous thief who has successfully robbed over twenty stagecoaches in the last three years) and demands the bank guards hand over the lockbox and the passengers pass him any valuables or weapons.
One of the passengers, Dinah Deneuve, the mistress of a wealthy San Francisco businessman, announces that the robber must be a fake, since Black Bart is known to be a gentleman who steals only from the bank itself. The robber fires his revolver into the air and repeats his request.
Dinah Deneuve passes over a box full of jewellery. She offers the scoundrel her string of pearls, but notes with a moue that they're fakes. Black Bart passes on those but demands the other ladies' jewellery. Mrs. Schuler laughs at him outright. "Do you think I carry valuables on the same stagecoach as ten thousand dollars in gold coin? What kind of fool do you think I am?" The other ladies are more forthcoming. Mr. James Arbuthnot, a lawyer from San Francisco, passes over a medium-sized, wooden box. Black Bart opens the box, raises an eyebrow at Mr. Arbuthnot, and keeps the box.
Outside the stagecoach, Black Bart shoots the lock off the lockbox with a shotgun, checks the contents, and forces the guards to strap the box to the back of his horse...