THE GENTLE TAMERS: Women of the Old Wild West by Dee Brown

THE GENTLE TAMERS: Women of the Old Wild West

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Take the sub-title rather than the title for your guide, as ""The Gentle Tamers"" seems to this reader a misnomer for the tales of some 25 women who crossed the Western trails or settled there in the old and not-so-old days. Actually, the imprint left by these women is slight; and where fame has accumulated as in the case of Carrie Nation, the saloon-smashing prowess could hardly be termed ""gentle"". One whose mark was considerable was the charming Whitman, wife of the missionary, who went with her husband to Oregon in 1836. Her diary might well have been more amply quoted as it is a delight. The author gives more space to Josephine Meeker, captured by Ute Indians in 1879 at the White River (Colorado) massacre; and to Frances Grummond, who wrote an excellent book her own experiences in the four months spent in 1866 at Fort Phil Kearney on the Bozeman Trail, and whose husband died in the Fetterman massacre. Elizabeth Custer, widow of the somewhat tarnished ""hero"" of the Little Big Horn; Lotta Crabtree, the actress, and a wide variety of other figures- prostitutes, actresses, wives of gold-seekers, settlers and soldiers make up the roster. Sacagewea, the squaw who helped guide Lewis and Clark, Jessie Fremont, wife of the explorer, and others who seem of greater significance, are not, included. Although the material is well presented and the result of honest research, the book seems unmotivated and something of a hodgepodge, and those familiar with the historical record will find it disappointing. Possibly its market is more for the uninitiated, for high school students seeking Western data, and certainly for women rather than men. Maybe it will lead to further reading.

Pub Date: March 4th, 1958
ISBN: 0803250258
Publisher: Putnam