I found this cowgirl memoir in a tiny used bookstore in Flagstaff, Arizona, and it is one of my most treasured unearthed masterpieces. Morley Cleaveland's memoir details her childhood in frontier-era New Mexico, before the Wild West was but a myth. And the wild west was what Morley Cleaveland actually lived - outlaws on her doorstep, gunfights, bear chases, lonely canyons, cattle wrangling, and murder. I was drunk on the words of this bygone cowgirl - unrepentant, strange, unladylike - a woman who dated the death of the frontier to the invention of barbed wire and the birth of the John Wayne Western.— Madeleine
When Agnes Morley Cleaveland was born on a New Mexico cattle ranch in 1874, the term "Wild West" was a reality, not a cliché. In those days cowboys didn't know they were picturesque, horse rustlers were to be handled as seemed best on the occasion, and young ladies thought nothing of punching cows and hunting grizzlies in between school terms.