Ride out of town on a rail

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11 comments on this post.
  1. The Problem(s) with Olympic Video Games « Buzzmunkeysmunkeycage Blog:

    […] in the American frontier days, a classic punishment was to banish someone from a town by literally “riding them out of town […]

  2. Final Fantasy XIII’s endgame disconnect [mild spoilers] – GameWit - The Press Democrat - Santa Rosa, CA - Archive:

    […] before you get out your pitchforks, torches, tar and feathers and, erm, rail, hear me out. I almost finished “Final Fantasy XIII.” I ground through the game’s […]

  3. Edris Divincenzo:

    George Clooney is sooooo gorgeous.If you ever read this. Marry Me.

  4. James Briano:

    Don’t forget the Duke and King in Huckleberry Finn:

    I see they had the king and the duke astraddle of a rail—that is, I knowed it was the king and the duke, though they was all over tar and feathers, and didn’t look like nothing in the world that was human—just looked like a couple of monstrous big soldier-plumes.

  5. Robert:

    Did you ever get an answer on this? I was researching myself after watching again and even though it is loosely based in the odessey it does also have a lot if biblical references. AND stokes being out in a plank not a log may be referencing mathew 7:5
    You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. A verse regarding judging others. Fits nicely.

  6. momule:

    The esteemed Word Detective sure took a lot of words to merely say that he does not know. Poor performance indeed for someone who professes to be a quasi-expert. For shame !!!

  7. George Clooney:

    Edris Divincenco I will marry you!!

  8. Mr. Mike Styer:

    The term “run you out of town on a rail” was ALSO used in the Christmas classic “It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946) by Mr. Potter when he is talking to George Bailey (the scene where George asks Potter for an $8,000 loan) :)

  9. Madeline:

    You did a great job of giving the information needed. I myself landed here after having literally – and I am using that correctly – just finished watching Oh Brother just a moment before.
    I remembered clapping my hands the first time I watched the movie for the witty visual use of that old phrase regarding a rail. I thought it was great that like so many things in the movie, they didn’t feel the need to dumb things down by having some character explain it to the audience.

    I did wonder however if that was how it was done or did it involve a train as well.
    You answered that.
    And if someone reading this also caught the comment someone made about allusions to planks in the bible. I strongly believe that was not the case.
    That was a “railroad tie” or “rail” still use today in making the tracks for trains. Again the true reference to running out on a rail.

  10. Trevor:

    My grandfather explained to me in the 1970’s that typically, cheaters, scoundrels, and scofflaws, that were deemed a nuisance to society were generally apprehended by unknown persons (in the middle of the night if possible) tied up, and tossed into an open boxcar that might be either on a local siding or even passing through at the moment. Before being abandoned to the destination of the freight, the subject was told not to return if he knew what was good for him, and by the time he untied himself, woke up, or whatever, was in another location hopefully having received and understood the message that had befallen him, hence; Rode out of town on a rail.

  11. zivBnd:

    Slightly OT, but being tarred and feathered was almost never fatal in and of itself. They would pour warm to moderately hot pine tar on you then cover you in coarse feathers. Most weren’t even burned though all were humiliated. Being ridden out of town on a rail was much more painful, apparently.

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