Women Gunslingers

Avanti Press, Inc.

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Inside: Happy hour is whenever we want it to be. Happy Birthday

Frontier Women
Elk Mountain, Wyoming • 1898
Two women wearing “barking irons” on their hips take a break from
a long, dusty day on the ranch to “bend an elbow.” Carbon County,
Wyoming, rich in coal and full of rugged beauty, saw its fair share
of lawlessness in the days of the Wild West, with cattle rustlers,
train robbers, and outlaws passing through. And while the exploits
of such colorful characters as Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane
became the stuff of dime novels, women of the Old West generally
toiled alongside their male counterparts in the effort to build a new
frontier society. Mary Jane Richardson (1841–1910), on whose
cattle ranch this photograph was taken, was the picture of hardy
self-reliance. By her 40s, she had constructed the first irrigation
ditch out of the Medicine Bow River; operated a toll bridge, saloon,
general store, and railroad “eating house;” raised three children;
and outlived her first two husbands.