Stay home and marry dull old Elmer Twaddle? Fat Chance! Shirley wants to travel west and prospect for gold. Meanwhile, short, broad, sexist Claude has the same dream. The two unlikely characters meet traveling west in this amusing prequel to Beats Me, Claude and If You Say So, Claude. Claude complains, ""It's plumb foolish for a woman to make this trip without her husband to take care of her. Why you'd be as helpless as a burro in a blizzard if we run into trouble."" ""No I won't,"" Shirley says. ""I got me a rifle and a quick wit, and I can't see what more I'd need."" And so she proves, saving Claude's life by frizzling a poisonous snake with hot stew. When Claude advises her to go back home and not ""try to do something a woman can't do,"" Shirley just smiles and replies, ""Fat chance, Claude."" Friendship blossoms into respect and true love. A zany introduction to a likable pair of Texas originals. Softly colored illustrations in pen and watercolor capture string-bean Shirley and tubby Claude. plus all the silliness and slapstick humor of the story.