Mary Fields was born a slave, but after the Emancipation Proclamation freed her, she took a job at a nunnery doing hard labor. Standing 6 feet tall and weighing 200 pounds, she was as strong as a man. She soon became the foreman, but one of the men took issue with taking orders from a black woman. He attacked her, and she shot him in self defense. When the bishop heard about the gunfight, she was fired.
At the age of 60, she applied for a job as a postal worker. She was the fastest applicant at hitching up her horses, and she got the job. She carried mail from Cascade, Montana to the surrounding families, fighting off wolves and thieves for almost 10 years. She delivered the mail with such regularity and reliability that she earned the nickname “Stagecoach Mary.” However, after 10 years she decided to settle down. The nuns helped her open a laundry business in Cascade.
Mary didn’t do much settling though. Once, when a man didn’t pay his bill, she punched him so hard she knocked out a tooth-at the age of 72. She said the satisfaction she received from this was worth more than the bill, so his debt was settled.
Mary lived in a time when the only women allowed in saloons were prostitutes. To circumvent this, she gained special permission from the Mayor of Cascade to enter and drink in the saloon. She could often be found there, drinking whisky and smoking cigars. She completely busted through all gender and racial stereotypes, and she lived a very free life. This woman was a total badass.