About this item

Everyone knows the name Calamity Jane. Scores of dime novels and movie and TV Westerns have portrayed this original Wild West woman as an adventuresome, gun-toting hellion. Although Calamity Jane has probably been written about more than any other woman of the nineteenth-century American West, fiction and legend have largely obscured the facts of her life. This lively, concise, and exhaustively researched biography traces the real person from the Missouri farm where she was born in 1856 through the development of her notorious persona as a Wild West heroine.Before Calamity Jane became a legend, she was Martha Canary, orphaned when she was only eleven years old. From a young age she traveled fearlessly, worked with men, smoked, chewed tobacco, and drank.

About the Author

Richard W. Etulain

Richard W. Etulain, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of New Mexico, is the author or editor of more than 50 books. Best known among his books about the history and cultures of the American West are Conversations with Wallace Stegner (1983) , Writing Western History (editor, 1991) , Re-imagining the Modern American West: A Century of Fiction, History, and Art (1996) , Telling Western Stories: From Buffalo Bill to Larry McMurtry (1999) , Beyond the Missouri: The Story of the American West (2006) , The American West: A Modern History, 1900 to the Present (with Michael P. Malone, 2d ed., 2007) , and Lincoln Looks West: From the Mississippi to the Pacific (2010) . A very recent book is Seeking First the Kingdom: Northwest Nazarene University, A Centennial History (2012) , and in January 2013, Lincoln and Oregon Country Politics in the Civil War Era was published. He has been president of both the Western Literature and Western History associations. He has lectured abroad in several countries, most recently as a Fulbright Lecturer in Ukraine and at the Basque University in northern Spain. He serves as editor of the Oklahoma Western Biographies series for the University of Oklahoma Press and coeditor of the Concise Lincoln Library for the Southern Illinois University Press. His biography of Calamity Jane, The Life and Legends of Calamity Jane, appeared in September 2014 and became a History Book Club Selection in 2015. It was also named a Finalist for the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. His latest book, Calamity Jane: A Reader's Guide, was published in August 2015. In September 2017, his new book Ernest Haycox and the Western will be published, and his coauthored book on US presidents and the American West is forthcoming. He is currently working on a two-volume study of Billy the Kid, the life and legends.

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