History Features

Wild Women of the West

Not all of them made their living as soiled doves.

women-of-the-wild-west

The great female shortage, that was one of the dominating, formative and frustrating facts of the early West.

In 1849, for example, only about 5,000 women were among the 50,000 Americans who went west. The shortage of women created a climate in which soiled doves like Big Nose Kate of Tombstone, Arizona, and Squirrel Tooth Alice of Dodge City, Kansas, bloomed in brilliant scarlet. But the climate enabled other ladies to flower in far more honorable hues. The Western frontier woman, being scarce and highly valued, could do things of which her Eastern sister could only dream.

 

Chris Enss is the author of numerous women of the West...

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