Often unsung heroines, the women who trailblazed (alongside their husbands, or on their own through the loss of said man along the trail, or who headed west on their own to forge a new way of living) were the backbone of settlements. Without the women, there would have been no way for a man to survive for long. I grew up in Kansas, and my father’s ancestors were immigrants from Denmark who travelled west to Kansas in covered wagons in the 1880s; the farm which my great grandfather built was eventually inherited by my grandfather, and many of my happy childhood memories are associated with that farmstead. Looking back through family photos, there’s not a photo of a weak woman among them; weak women (and men, for that matter) simply didn’t survive the trail. They became the strength that built the West.
For a 46-minute documentary on the importance of the pioneer woman, and the legends that grew up around the likes of Calamity Jane, Annie Oakley and Belle Starr, please click on the image below. It’s well worth the time to watch, when you have a moment!