Early Dodge City owed its very existence to the railroad. And it was important that those riding the rails followed strict rules of conduct.
Most of the etiquette rules for train passengers revolved around women. In 19th century thinking, women needed to be protected and required special treatment.
Lavatories were at first only available for women; men had to either hold it until they arrived at a station or they had to use the open platforms at the end of each car. They had to careful not to go into the wind.
Women were to dress unpretentiously in a non-garish manner. Lightweight clothes that were easy to move around in were preferred. Accessories for ladies included dark leather gloves, a straw bonnet and a "traveling corset" which was less restrictive than the usual corset. And women were expected to pack light. For an overnight trip a carpet bag would suffice.
Feared as a target for robbery, women were to travel with little money on their person. If they had a male escort, he was expected to be in charge of the cash and be the one who checked a woman in and out of hotels.
Though gentlemen had to give unremitting attention to any lady they escorted, the women didn't initiate conversation or pester their escorts with questions. And they were to sit quietly and not fidget. To occupy her time, a woman brought something such as book or needlework.
Considerate gentlemen offered to carry a bag, raise a window or lend an arm to an unescorted woman or child, but a lady was expected to accept or decline politely without doing or saying anything that could be misinterpreted as an advancement.
And gentlemen always assisted ladies in boarding and getting off the rail car.
When dealing with an obtrusive stranger, a woman was to: "lower [her] veil and turn from him, either looking from the window or reading." But on the other hand, a woman was to never "return rudeness with rudeness."
In an awkward or embarrassing situation, a woman was to seek assistance from a gentleman. Once the situation was resolved, the women was to thank him and he would leave as strangers of opposite genders were not to get too friendly or intimate. Women traveling alone usually attempted to sit next to another woman or near an elderly gentleman, to whom it was okay for her to converse.
Ladies, and sometimes the men accompanying them, rode in "ladies cars" while gentlemen not in the company of women rode in "smoking cars."
At first women weren't allowed in smoking cars, so men could be more jovial and relaxed in a smoking car. Initially the smoking was ornate and classy, but gradually it became the car for less "respectable" passengers, including African Americans of both genders.
In addition to gender and race, cars were often segregated by ethnicity and by how much a passenger was willing to pay.
In general, profanity was not allowed, especially in the presence of ladies. It was taboo to be late for the train, so riders were expected to instruct the hotel staff to wake them on time.
Travelers were not to show disgust towards their food. If they could not bring themselves to eat something, they were to be as quiet and unobtrusive about it as possible.
If a person gets jostled and is offered an apology, they were to coldly accept the apology.
Etiquette is still very important on any public conveyance, but today's manners revolve less around gender. Today's etiquette involves "equal opportunity" for everyone regardless of sex, race, ethnicity or the cost of the seat.