"No one traveled this road. No roadagents, no marauders."
Wild Bill Hickok with two Navy Colts in his famed handles-forward rig, with Bowie Knife, Mendota, IL, 1869
Public DomainWild Bill Hickok with two Navy Colts in his famed handles-forward rig, with Bowie Knife, Mendota, IL, 1869

A post-apocalyptic world is almost impossible to imagine. In many ways, McCarthy's vision is founded in the knowable past, a time considered less civilised than the present.

A roadagent is one example; this 19th century term from the American west referred to a highwayman, a bandit on horseback who held up and robbed stagecoaches and vehicles on the road. McCarthy's ominous roadagents, however, hold none of the romance and glamour of those folk heroes of the Old West, like Wild Bill Hickok, Texas Jack and Buffalo Bill.