“In this vivid and compelling biography, Karen Jones recovers the remarkable creativity of Martha Jane Canary, who helped to invent the mythic West by reinventing herself.Â As Calamity Jane, she told wild tales of adventure and blurred the lines between legend and history, male and female, and truth and possibility.”-Alan Taylor,Â author ofÂ The Internal Enemy
Martha Jane Canary, popularly known as Calamity Jane, was the pistol-packing, rootin’ tootin’ “lady wildcat” of the American West. Brave and resourceful, she held her own with the men of America’s most colorful era and became a celebrity both in her own right and through her association with the likes of Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody.
In this engaging account, Karen Jones takes a fresh look at the story of this iconic frontierswoman. She pieces together what is known of Canary’s life and shows how a rough and itinerant lifestyle paved the way for the scattergun, alcohol-fueled heroics that dominated Canary’s career. Spanning Canary’s rise from humble origins to her role as “heroine of the plains” and the embellishment of her image over subsequent decades, Jones shows her to be feisty, eccentric, transgressive-and very much complicit in the making of the myth that was Calamity Jane.