Love Lessons from the Old West

LoveLessonsLove Lessons Learned by Women of the Old West provides insight into possible motives for why frontier men and women fell in love. Some of the chapters in this new title, due to be released in February 2014, will bring a smile to your heart and other chapters will break it into pieces. As one California prospector noted in his diary in 1855, “I’d endure just about anything to settle down with a good woman. She don’t have to love me, least not at first. I only want a chance to show her I could be the finest blanket companion in the country.”

High Country Women

Women have played an important—though often hidden— role in shaping the history of Yosemite National Park. High Country Women reveals the contributions made by these strong and independent pioneers, such as:

  • Clare Hodges, who seized her opportunity to be the nation’s first woman park ranger.
  • Jessie Fremont, who campaigned for protecting Yosemite from developers.
  • Florence Hutchings, who spent every moment exploring Yosemite’s backcountry, and who had a mountain and lake named after her.
  • Sally Dutcher and Elizabeth Pershing, who in 1875 and 1876 were the first women to climb Half Dome.
  • Lynn Hill and Beth Rodden, who in recent decades became legendary climbers in Yosemite.
  • Ta-bu-ce (Maggie Howard), a Paiute who lived humbly in the traditional manner and taught Yosemite visitors her tribe’s customs.

Meet these remarkable women and more like them, both historic and contemporary, in High Country Women: Pioneers of Yosemite National Park.

“Chris Enss breathes life back into the women who were so integral to the shaping and preservation of the greater Yosemite area.” Kristen Olsen, CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY MEMBER

“High Country Women does an exemplary job of highlighting some of the incredible women that added to the rich fabric of Yosemite’s history.” Beth Rodden, RENOWNED ROCK CLIMBER

Bedside Book of Bad Girls

Award-winning author Chris Enss goes behind the lipstick and petticoats to reveal the real women who outran the law and upended gender stereotypes across America’s Heartland in her latest book Bedside Book of Bad Girls: Outlaw Women of the Midwest.

Readers will meet Flora Mundis, expert horse thief and jail breaker; murderess Elizabeth Reed, the first and only woman hanged in Illinois; Belle Black and Jennie Freeman, who shot their way through hold ups and alongside the men of the Wyatt-Black Gang; and Anne Cook, bootlegger and madam, who killed her own daughter in cold blood.

Illustrated with historical photographs, Bedside Book of Bad Girls: Outlaw Women of the Midwest uncovers the true lives long veiled by the glamour of dime novels and sensational tabloid accounts. Cozy up (if you dare) with these women, both sensuous and sinister, as they rampage across the Midwest.

Object: Matrimony

Desperate to strike it rich or eager for free land, men went into the frontier West alone and sacrificed many creature comforts. Only after they arrived at their destinations did some of them realize how much they missed female companionship.

One way for men living on the frontier to meet women was through subscriptions to heart-and-hand clubs. The men received newspapers with information about women with whom they could correspond—sometimes with photographs. Eventually a man might convince a woman to join him in the West, and in matrimony.

Complete with historic photographs and actual advertisements from both women seeking husbands and men seeking brides, Object Matrimony includes stories of courageous mail order brides and their exploits as well as stories of the marriage brokers, the mercenary matchmakers looking to profit off of the miners and settlers. Some of these stories end happily ever after; others reveal desperate situations that robbed the brides of their youth and sometimes their lives.

The Doctor Wore Petticoats


These four discouraging words of admonition often greeted female physicians looking for jobs in the frontier-era West. Despite the dire need for medical help, it seemed most trappers, miners, and emigrants would rather suffer and die than be treated by a female doctor. Nevertheless dozens of highly trained women headed West, where they endured hardship and prejudice as they set broken limbs, performed operations, delivered generations of babies–and solidified a place for women in the medical field.
Susan La Flesche, the youngest daughter of an Omaha Indian Chief, felt called to medicine when at the age of twelve she saw a woman die because a government-paid doctor was too busy hunting prairie chickens to help. Destitute divorcee Bethenia Owens Adair traded in laundry work for a successful medical practice. Flora Hayward Stanford, the first female doctor in Deadwood, was known to patch up gunfight victims and to treat the likes of Buffalo Bill Cody and Calamity Jane. With a determination and strength of spirit that resonates even today, these incredible women and seven others profiled in The Doctor Wore Petticoats are sure to inspire.

Pistol Packin’ Madams

The picture of the early American West would not be complete without a fashionably dressed madam standing at the top of the saloon stairs surveying the activity below. More than just casual observers, these tough-talking and whip-smart women often had a pistol hidden in the folds of their skirts, ready to take on cowboys, ranchers, lawmen–any man who dared to cause trouble on the premises or to threaten their livelihood.
In a time when most women were dependent on husbands and fathers, madams–the women who owned, managed, and maintained brothels–took fate into their own hands, using feminine wiles and an abundance of sheer grit to make a living on the hard edge of the frontier West.
Pistol Packin’ Madams examines the stories of these resourceful, oft-maligned women, whose combined adventures offer a colorful portrait of the early days of the West.

How the West Was Worn

Did you know that pioneer women sewed lead in their hems to keep their dresses from billowing on the trail? Or that hatless men had to wear bonnets to protect their eyes from the scorching sun?
From old familiar Levi’s to the short-lived “instant dress elevator,” How the West Was Worn examines the sometimes bizarre, often beautiful, and highly inventive clothing of the Old West. You’ll learn how a cowboy’s home state determined the way he wore his pants and hat, as well as how to distinguish one Indian tribe from another by their moccasins. Meet John B. Stetson, leading maker of cowboy hats; Adah Menken, whose flesh-colored nylon costume left an audience gaping at her underwear; and Amelia Jenks Bloomer, the promoter of – you guessed it – the bloomer.

Hearts West

WANTED: A girl who will love, honest, true and not sour;a nice little cooing dove, and willing to work in flour.

Desperate to strike it rich during the Gold Rush, thousands of men traveled West to the emerging frontier, where they outnumbered women twelve to one. Only after they arrived did some of them realize how much they missed female companionship.

Hearts West brings to life true stories of mail-order brides of the Gold Rush era. Some found soul mates; others found themselves in desperate situations. Complete with the actual hearts-and-hands personal advertisements that began some of the long-distance courtships, this fascinating book provides an up-close look at the leap of faith these men and women were willing to take.

Frontier Teachers

If countless books and movies are to be believed, America’s Wild West was, at heart, a world of cowboys and Indians, sheriffs and gunslingers, scruffy settlers and mountain men—a man’s world. Here, Chris Enss, in the latest of her popular books to take on this stereotype, tells the stories of twelve courageous women who faced down schoolrooms full of children on the open prairies and in the mining towns of the Old West.

Between 1847 and 1858, more than 600 women teachers traveled across the untamed frontier to provide youngsters with an education, and the numbers grew rapidly in the decades to come, as women took advantage of one of the few career opportunities for respectable work for ladies of the era. Enduring hardship, the dozen women whose stories are movingly told in the pages of Frontier Teachers demonstrated the utmost dedication and sacrifice necessary to bring formal education to the Wild West. As immortalized in works of art and literature, for many students their women teachers were heroic figures who introduced them to a world of possibilities—and changed America forever.

Buffalo Gals

“What we want to do is give our women even more liberty than they have. Let them do any kind of work that they see fit, and if they do it as well as men, give them the same pay.”
William F. Cody-1899
With rough-riding cowboys, sure shots, and fantastic reenactments of battles and train robberies, Buffalo Bill Cody brought the myth of the Old West to life for audiences all over the world. His Wild West Show was wildly popular – and some of the most popular cowboys in it were girls. Buffalo Gals tells the stories and celebrates the achievements of these thrill-seeking women, through historic photos, stunning, authentic publicity posters, and the meticulous research of western history writer Chris Enss.
Cody’s cast of wild women captivated audiences – whether they were riding bulls, breaking bucking broncos, roping steers, doing bareback tricks, or out-shooting all comers. The Wild West show made celebrities of women the likes of bronco rider Lillian Smith, dancer-actress Guiseppina Morlacchi, and sharpshooter Annie Oakley, endearing them not only to the audience but to Buffalo Bill as well. He praised the trick sidesaddle riding skills of Della Ferrell and Georgia Duffy and marveled at rider Lulu Parr’s ability to stay on a bucking bronco until it was broken. Altogether, these gals were an unforgettably spunky cast of characters who saddled up and rustled their dreams.