The Petticoat Party series opens with a disaster: Not long after the Brown family--Mama, Papa, Amelia, and Phoebe--leave by wagon train for Oregon, all but three of the men are killed in a buffalo stampede; the survivors are badly injured. Led by the formidable Miss Simpson, the women decide to press on to their destination. But the Oregon Trail is a difficult trek (readers know this part: hostile Indians, rugged terrain, rough river crossing, food and water shortages, the ominous badlands) that has defeated many an able-bodied male. These women take charge of their lives and face the hazardous passage with courage and determination; by the book's end they have reached the halfway point in their journey and resolve to finish the last 1,400 miles to Oregon completely on their own. Phoebe, a smart and spunky narrator, wisely sees through the male heroics that nearly killed them all. A good adventure tale by Karr (In The Kaiser's Clutch, p. 1430, etc.) and a real consciousness-raiser to boot.