Wild, Wild, Western Women

(September 25, 2001)

You can read almost anytime about those brave men who tamed the West, but what about the women who tamed those western men? Here is a sampling of books, selected by Reader Advisor Susan Higgins, about those wild western women.

To order any of these titles, contact the library by email, mail or phone. You may also request these titles online through our OPAC. Happy Reading!

Belle Starr by Speer Morgan.
RC 14330, BR 3947.
This novel of the Old West covers the life of the famous bandit queen who lived hard, and loved often. Crusty, smart Belle moves through the Oklahoma Territory with a motley group of outlaws, robs a bank, terrorizes the area, and runs from Pinkerton agents. Contains strong language and explicit descriptions of sex.

Bittersweet by Nevada Barr.
RC 21718.
The story of two women in the Old West who are pioneers together. Rumors about their relationship force them to flee from a Pennsylvania town and take refuge in Nevada. Posing as a married couple, they become innkeepers along the stagecoach line when stagecoach executives refuse to lease the property to two women. Portrays interesting details about pioneer life and customs. Contains some descriptions of sex and some strong language.

Buffalo Girls by Larry McMurtry.
RC 31992.
It is the late 1800s and Calamity Jane, now drunk most of the time, reminisces by writing imaginary letters to her daughter Janey. When Buffalo Bill Cody appears on the scene, he convinces her and other legendary figures of the Old West to join him in forming his Wild West Show. They go to Europe to perform, but when they return home tragedy strikes, and Calamity Jane makes some startling confessions in her letters. Contains some strong language.

The Cherokee Trail by Louis L'Amour.
RC 17737.
Mary Breydon, a spirited widow from Virginia, travels to Colorado during the Civil War to run an isolated stage station. There she meets and challenges Flandrau, the former leader of the outlaw band that shot her husband, and who now hopes to run for governor.

Cowgirls by Teresa Jordan.
RC 20188.
Using passages from novels, diaries, and other historical materials, Jordan, who grew up on a Wyoming ranch, focuses on women of the West. She recalls their rounds of roping and branding, pitching hay, and rodeo riding. This book contains the histories of 28 women.

Doc Holliday's Woman by Jane Candia Coleman.
RC 45606.
Kate Elder is born to an aristocratic European family that follows Emperor Maximillian to Mexico and later settles in Kansas in 1865. As an orphaned teenager, Kate makes a living as best she can in the West. She and Doc Holliday develop an uneasy relationship that continues until Doc's death. Contains some strong language, violence, and descriptions of sex.

The Gentle Tamers: The Women of the Old, Wild West by Dee Brown.
RC 11160.
A gripping account of the feminine aspects of life and the women who rode beside their men and helped tame the West.

The Girl from Fort Wicked by Dee Brown.
RC 28842.
In this western, the heroine is one of nine daughters of a discouraged wagoner, who trades her for a barrel of flour. She becomes involved with young Captain Westcott, who takes an interest in her mainly because she knows where a missing payroll is hidden.

Pearl by Anne Leaton.
RC 23434.
The story of the legendary outlaw queen, Belle Starr, is interwoven with that of her spunky daughter, Pearl, who runs the most popular brothel in the Indian Territories. A western that celebrates feminine courage. Contains strong language and some descriptions of sex.

The Pride of Hannah Wade by Janet Dailey.
RC 21241, BR 6049.
Hannah Wade, the refined wife of a United States Cavalry officer, is captured, raped, and enslaved by a brutish Apache warrior during a raid on the New Mexico frontier in the 1870s. After her rescue a year later, Hannah is rejected by her husband and snubbed by her white women friends who find her unclean. Contains some strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex.

Ride the Dark Trail by Louis L'Amour.
RC 35030, BR 9568.
Widow Emily Talon is wearing down. Since the last worker on her Colorado ranch was killed, she has kept a 24 hour vigil against Jake Flanner and his men, who are conspiring to take over her ranch. Hearing of the woman's plight, drifter Logan Sackett discovers that, like him, Emily is a Tennessee Sackett. Vowing to help her until her wandering sons return, Logan is determined to teach Jake Flanner's men a lesson. The Sacketts, Book 18. Series Code SAC. Contains some strong language and violence.

Ride the River by Louis L'Amour.
RC 21601, BR 5522.
Fabulous Echo Sackett, aunt of the Sackett brothers and an exceptional woman for the 1840s, is called back to the Tennessee mountain country to claim the family inheritance. There she runs into a crew of greedy killers who aim to separate her from her legacy. They soon learn Echo is a dead shot with a rifle and has more courage than the law allows. The Sacketts, Book 5. Series Code SAC.

San Antone by Victor J. Banis.
RC 23847.
Joanna Harte and her family are forced to leave their antebellum southern plantation and resettle in the new state of Texas. Headstrong Joanna takes the development of the family fortune out of the hands of her self indulgent husband and soon becomes the richest, most powerful cattle rancher in the Southwest. Contains some strong language and explicit descriptions of sex.

Season of Yellow Leaf by Douglas C. Jones.
RC 20539.
Detailed saga of a white girl kidnapped by the Comanches in the American West of 1838. Morfydd, renamed " Chosen " by the tribe, begins to learn the Native American way of life and becomes one with them as the white man encroaches on their land. Comanche Indians Trilogy, Book 1. Series Code CIT.

True Grit by Charles Portis.
RC 44219.
Mattie Ross is only fourteen when a coward named Tom Chaney guns her Papa down in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Being the eldest of the family and a girl of true grit she seeks to avenge her father's death. Along the way she outsmarts the hard bitten men of the Wild West with her quick wit, her sharp tongue and her unflinching courage. Also available as a descriptive video, DV 121.

True Women by Janice Woods Windle.
RC 37814.
In this multigenerational fictionalized account of the lives of her maternal and paternal female ancestors, Windle tells the story of two dynastic family lines in Texas, the Kings and the Woodses. Euphemia Texas Ashby King could ride and shoot like any man, and she was there when Sam Houston's ragtag army routed Santa Anna at San Jacinto. Though she risked her plantation running the Yankee cotton blockade during the Civil War, Georgia Virginia Lawshe Woods still had to defend her family from a corrupt Yankee officer. Bettie Moss King survived wolves, storms, and the Ku Klux Klan. Contains strong language, violence, and some descriptions of sex.

Women of the West: An Anthology of Short Stories by Kathryn Ptacek.
RC 32882.
Stories about women of the old and the new West. An old woman recalls the massacre of her husband and nine children in Size of a Silver Dollar. In The White Woman, a woman gives up the prejudices of her childhood to study the Apache language on the reservations in the 1920s. Contains violence and some strong language.