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How is your Western Women IQ?

September 29, 2014


Don’t know much about your pioneering sisters from a couple of centuries back? Wish you knew how they really lived in the “Wild West” —and what obstacles they had to overcome to survive? I have a great solution for you in two words: Chris Enss!

My friends and I had a fabulous time Saturday at a fundraiser for local scholarships, Omega Nu’s Women of the Wild West—and Chris Enss was the most entertaining keynote speaker! This is the third time I’ve heard Chris speak and of course, I would love her—she arrives in costume and is funny and informative!


Chris is a New York Times Best Selling author, a scriptwriter and comedienne who has written for television and film, and performed on cruise ships and on stage. She has worked with award-winning musicians, writers, directors, producers, and as a screenwriter for TRICOR Entertainment. But her passion is for telling the stories of the women (and men) who shaped the history and mythology of the American West.

When you think of pioneering women, you might picture either ‘bungalow brides’ (such as Caroline Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie) or ‘working girls’ (such as Miss Kitty on Gunsmoke.) But in Chris’s world, that’s just the beginning… She also writes of Female Doctors, Soldiers, Prospectors, Outlaws, Frontier Teachers, Gamblers, Entertainers, Madams, Mail-order brides, and the women who performed in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

In addition, Chris’s books explore the lives of famous Westerners including General George Custer and his wife Elizabeth Bacon Custer; and more contemporary personalities such as Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and John Wayne. Her writing also presents cultural aspects of the Old West such as clothing, love lives, and even the “tales behind the tombstones.” There is not a facet of life in the Wild West that Chris has not tackled. And on Saturday, this brave woman took on the women of Woodland, CA. (Very brave, indeed…)


With over 30 books to her credit, I’m sure you can find one that touches on your particular area of interest. I have already read her books: The Doctor Wore Petticoats: Women Physicians in the Old West (great for fans of My Name is Mary Sutter), Frontier Teachers: Stories of Heroic Women of the Old West, and Hearts West: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier (or as Chris describes it, “the story of what folks did before”) So on Saturday, I took the opportunity to nab three new ones. Being the clothes horse that I am (although you wouldn’t have known it on Saturday, judging by my $3 thrift-store-find-of-a Western shirt) I had to get How the West Was Worn: Bustles and Buckskins on the Wild Frontier. I was also drawn to the story behind the story: None Wounded, None Missing, All Dead: The Story of Elizabeth Bacon Custer; and then I grabbed Love Lessons from the Old West: Wisdom from Wild Women just because it sounded fun. After more than 34 years in the same relationship, who knows what tips I might pick up about living with Handsome Hubby!

All of Chris’s books are heavily researched—so they’re completely factual as well as totally entertaining.

So, how’s your Western Women IQ? Hitch it up a few notches with Chris Enss!

Happy Trails—and Cheers!


One Comment leave one →
  1. katefarrell41 permalink
    September 29, 2014 1:29 pm

    Women were the real pioneers! Thanks for a great blog post featuring an author who covers that territory, the Wild West and its women. I know you won’t be able to join us, but hope you’ll spread the word about western women mystery writers and our WNBA event, October 11th:

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