The train Mary Jane Chilton had boarded, typical of trains of the period, had two passenger coaches: a ladies' car and a smoker. Only women and women accompanied by gentlemen rode in the ladies' car, while in the smoker rode all manner of men traveling alone, some of whom were smoking and drinking. In the oncoming darkness, Mary Jane Chilton feared the smoker and the men there who were strangers to her. Yet as she tried to enter the ladies' car, the brakeman blocked her way; the conductor seconded his actions: “that car was not for niggers.” Rather than go into the smoker, Mary Jane Chilton sat down on the steps of the ladies' car until the conductor, as she describes, bodily moved her to the train platform in front of a crowd of cheering bystanders, and the train pulled out of the station. Mary Jane Chilton, her fifteen-year-old daughter, and her eight-year-old nephew were left to walk to Carondelet, Missouri.