A Bride Goes West


A Bride Goes West

New Edition

Nannie T. Alderson and
Helena Huntington Smith
Foreword by Jeanie Alderson
Drawings by J. O'H. Cosgrave II

Bison Classic Editions Series

290 pages
22 illustrations


June 2023


$21.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
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June 2023


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eBook (PDF)
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June 2023


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About the Book

Blizzards, droughts, predators, unpredictable markets, and a host of other calamities tell the history of the daily struggles of Western ranching, and perhaps no one has told the story better than Nannie T. Alderson, a transplanted southern woman who married a cowboy and found herself in eastern Montana trying to build a ranching business a one-hundred-mile horse-and-buggy ride from the nearest town. Unfamiliar with even the most basic household chores, she soon found herself washing, cooking, riding, cleaning, branding, and a host of other ranch activities for which her upbringing had not prepared her.

Although Nannie Alderson and her husband, Walt, would eventually move to Miles City, her story of the rigors of ranch life serves as the preeminent account of Montana ranch life and culture. This edition features a foreword from Nannie’s great-grandniece, Jeanie Alderson, who ranches in the same area.

Author Bio

Nannie T. Alderson was born in Union, Virginia (later West Virginia), in 1860 and grew up in a genteel southern family. In 1883 she married Walt Alderson, a cowboy she had met while visiting relatives in Kansas, and they moved to Montana to start a cattle ranch. Helena Huntington Smith was a journalist and contributor to the Saturday Evening Post, Reader’s Digest, and other magazines. Her books include We Pointed Them North: Recollections of a Cowpuncher and The War on Powder River. Jeanie Alderson is the great-grandniece of Nannie Alderson and is a fourth-generation rancher from Birney, Montana.


A Bride Goes West still has much to tell us about white women’s resilience and community during Montana’s pioneer era. [Alderson’s] narrative provides an alternative to overly romanticized male accounts of frontier life and calls attention to the overlooked stories and histories of the eastern region of the state.”—Randi Lynn Tanglen, coeditor of Teaching Western American Literature

“After reading, as a very young woman, the Western American classic A Bride Goes West, what a great pleasure in my later years to hear Nannie Alderson’s voice again in this new edition and to reflect on the many changes that have occurred in the West since Nannie’s time, the time of my first reading, and the present.”—Mary Clearman Blew, author of All but the Waltz: A Memoir of Five Generations in the Life of a Montana Family

“Among hundreds of books written by and about range men, there are hardly a dozen valid ones concerning women. I pick A Bride Goes West . . . as [one of] the two best books pertaining to ranch life by women with a woman’s point of view dominating.”—J. Frank Dobie

“A charming vignette of ranching life in Montana during the mid-1880s.”—Choice

Table of Contents

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII

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