Saw skimmington ride demonstrated in the The Mayor of Casterbridge, a 1978 TV mini-series by the effigies of a couple characters. Being ridden out on the rails was obviously very painful. Yet another horrible little, incredibly cruel and painful tool by the English and their cousins in early America to try to get people to act right.
Since it was a community way to express moral outrage at the actions of wife-beaters, it couldn't be all bad. Although to be tarred and feathered as well as ridden out on a rail is too much for almost any offense.