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View Full Version : What Does This Expression Mean...[Run out of town on a rail]?


Jinx
02-25-2010, 10:35 PM
What does the expression "run out of town on a rail" mean?

RealityChuck
02-25-2010, 10:39 PM
Pretty much what it sounds like. In the 19th century, when the townspeople didn't particularly like someone (say, a petty swindler), they'd tie him to a wooden fence rail and carry him (hanging down from it) to the town limits, making it clear he wasn't allowed back again. Tar and feathers were optional.

Jinx
02-25-2010, 10:49 PM
Ah! Thanks...I was thinking someone was simply thrown on a train.

Colibri
02-25-2010, 10:56 PM
Tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail. (http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w16/rnw1964/tar_and_feather.jpg)

DrDeth
02-25-2010, 10:57 PM
There is a scene of this in "O Brother, Where art Thou?", perfect example.

Colibri
02-25-2010, 11:05 PM
Edited title to indicate subject.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

MPB in Salt Lake
02-25-2010, 11:18 PM
Tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail. (http://i172.photobucket.com/albums/w16/rnw1964/tar_and_feather.jpg)

I remember that this was the fate of the Duke and the Dolphin at the end of "The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn"

cochrane
02-26-2010, 08:27 AM
It was the subject of a famous Abraham Lincoln anecdote. A group of friends from Illinois was visiting the White House. One of them asked Lincoln how he enjoyed being President. Lincoln replied with a story of a man being tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail. When the man was asked how he liked it, he was quoted by Lincoln as saying "If it weren't for the honor of it, I'd just as soon walk."

ZipperJJ
02-26-2010, 09:57 AM
I remember that this was the fate of the Duke and the Dolphin at the end of "The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn"

That's the Duke and the Dauphin ;)

Johanna
02-26-2010, 11:23 AM
Not hanging from it, the picture shows him sitting astride it. (echoing the ball-crushing theme from another thread)

Malacandra
02-26-2010, 11:58 AM
Also from Mark Twain - in Tom Sawyer there were moves afoot to run Injun Joe out of town on a rail for grave-robbing, but it turned out that no-one was willing to take the lead, and so the idea was quietly dropped.

RealityChuck
02-26-2010, 12:52 PM
Not hanging from it, the picture shows him sitting astride it. (echoing the ball-crushing theme from another thread)I've had it done both ways.

It's a long story, and I don't want to talk about it.

MPB in Salt Lake
02-26-2010, 01:04 PM
That's the Duke and the Dauphin ;)

You do know that throughout the novel Huckleberry called him Dolphin, as he (a barely literate teen) wasn't sure what the title Dauphin really denoted...........