Was Calamity Jane a crib girl? A US Cavalry soldier? An Indian scout? History confabulates and confounds.
It’s wise to question Calamity’s romance with Wild Bill and her accounts of Indian battles. Calamity Jane wouldn’t tell a story straight, particularly if a whopper could buy her a drink. Like silver in an unlit mine, the truth of the woman has long been obscured by legend.
Martha Jane Cannary was a child pioneer who learned how fast Territory dreams and parents can die. Orphaned, she stole and bartered for her siblings’ survival. Hard bargains rushed headlong toward a solitary girl-child in on the 1860s frontier, so she took on all comers with wit, six-shooters, and whiskey shots.
An often-spurned lover, an occasional wife, and a grieving mother, Martha Jane skipped childhood, ricocheted off of polite society, and round-housed through local jails and Eastern newspapers. She worked and played hard, entertained bystanders, and enjoyed men while shrugging off women’s disapproval. Haunted by her past, the illiterate Martha Jane recast tragedy into story, then had it printed it on a leaflet for sale.
THE NOT SO QUIET LIFE OF CALAMITY JANE doesn’t truck with legends. This Calamity is a generous and profane spitfire whose humor, compassion, and unforgettable antics linger over the frontier she loved. On these pages Martha Jane Cannary breaks free of the legends and the lies, telling her story from the depths of her own heart.