Dorothy Johnson, author of The Hanging Tree and Indian Country, describes the great western experience of a number of nineteenth-century women of widely different situations and fates. Some were captured by Indians. Cynthia Ann Parker, assimilated to the Comanche tribe after being captured as a child, was later recaptured by U.S. soldiers who killed her Comanche husband and separated her forever from her sons. Pioneer Fanny Kelly spent five months as a captive of the Sioux; she went on to write a clearheaded book about her experiences. Some, like missionary Mary Richardson Walker and the independent Dr. Bethenia Owens-Adair, showed great dedication to their work. Some were adventurous. Molly Slade, fiercely loyal to her ruthless husband, once helped him escape a band of outlaws intent on killing him. The intrepid Isabella Bird reported on her solitary travels in the Wild West, while Army wife Elizabeth Custer rode out with her husband’s cavalry one spring. Others proved their grit as homesteaders. All these women, and more, figure unforgettably in Some Went West.
Virginia Scharff is an associate professor of history at the University of New Mexico and the author of Taking the Wheel: Women and the Coming of the Motor Age.
“By including a wealth of significant detail and drawing heavily on her heroines’ own stories, the author admirably re-creates the early West from a feminine viewpoint.”—New York Times Book Review
“The book’s strength is its . . . detail about daily life and the great diversity of kinds of people who inhabited the Far West.”—Library Journal