A Swallow Press Book
“The Bassett home gave refuge to a veritable who’s who of western outlaws, among them Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Elzy Lay, Matt Warner, and many lesser rustlers… What makes the book so delectable are the lovingly detailed scandals involving Brown’s Park pioneers.”
In the late nineteenth century, Elizabeth and Herb Bassett settled in Brown’s Park, a secluded valley straddling the border of Utah and Colorado. It was a troubled land of deadly conflict among large cattle barons, outlaws, rustlers, and the small ranchers who were often called rustlers by men greedy for their land. Elizabeth Bassett, a gentlewoman homesteader in 1878, was soon branded a rustler and cohort of outlaws. Her daughter Ann became known as “queen of the cattle rustlers.” Another daughter, Josie, before the age of forty had married and discarded five husbands, sometimes, it is said, by violent methods.
After the West was “tamed,” the Bassett sisters lived on through droughts, the Great Depression, and two world wards. Ann eventually became a writer, striving to counteract the flurry of sensationalism which had distorted the Brown’s Park she remembered. Josie established her own homestead near Vernal, Utah, on land now belonging to Dinosaur National Monument, where her cabin still stands. She lived there for almost fifty years, applying her unorthodox set of pioneer ethics to a mechanized worlds, and becoming a local legend for her resourcefulness, steadfastness, and pure audacity.
Grace McClure has tracked down and untangled the man legends of Brown’s Park, one of the way-stations of the fabled “Outlaw Trail.” From a variety of stories about the Hoy brothers, the Meeker Massacre, Elza Lay, Harry Tracy, Matt Warner, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the Bender Gang and their “outlaws’ Thanksgiving dinner” of 1895, and the shooting of Isom Dart and Matt Rash by stock detective Tom Horn, she has created an even handed account of the Bassetts. Drawing on interviews with surviving family, friends and enemies, on memoirs, and on oral and written records from local libraries, newspapers, and archives she presents believable, life-size characters who respond realistically to the demands of pioneer life. The Bassett Women is one of the few credible accounts of early settlers on Colorado’s western slope, one of the last strongholds of the Old West.
Grace McClure was a free-lance writer based in Tucson, Arizona.
Save 20% ($15.16)
Save 20% ($31.96)
US and Canada only
Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center
Without humor, the American West would be a vast territory of arid clichés — stolid cowboys and fearless lawmen, or, in more modern visions, dastardly land developers and fanatical environmentalists — all of them as lifeless as an alkalai flat.
For Cricket Sings, Cahokia medicine woman, the omens have been bad. She is old, and so at this year’s Sun Ceremony she will tell her stories, the tales handed down from grandparents to grandchildren since the memory of the People began. The Sun King is dying, unable to perfom the Ceremony which will bring good crops to the fields.
At the age of 27, Fannie Sedlacek left her Bohemian homestead in Nebraska to join the gold rush to the Klondike. From the Klondike to the Tanana, Fannie continued north, finally settling in Katishna near Mount McKinley. This woman, later known as Fannie Quigley, became a prospector who staked her own claims and a cook who ran a roadhouse. She hunted and trapped and thrived for nearly forty years in an environment that others found unbearable.
In a fascinating work of religious history and cultural inquiry, Hatfield brings to life the true story of a nineteenth-century farmer-spiritualist, Jonathan Koons, whom thousands traveled to Ohio to see. As heirs to the second Great Awakening, he and his followers were part of a larger, uniquely American moment that still marks the culture today.