The Cowgirl Murders is not a typical western

The Cowgirl Murders involves a group of women driving a herd of cattle from Wyoming to Kansas, helped by a male scout (the hero) and a handful of other men. They cope with danger and hardship. They get into fights, mostly with each other. Although the scout plays an important role in the story, he is not forever rescuing them or comforting them whenever things go wrong. They do not watch helplessly when the good guys get attacked by the bad guys. In short, they do not comply with the usual traditions of western fiction.

Is The Cowgirl Murders realistic?

Women in 19th century America worked on farms and ranches. Some things may have been generally regarded as men’s work but when their men were sick, absent or dead, women must have done whatever they had to to survive. That doubtless included herding cattle on the ranch. In the story, the principal ranch owner finds it impossible to recruit male drovers due to prejudice against her because she’s a woman and because she employs former slaves on equal terms to her white ranch-hands. Only women (bar a few exceptional men) will help her get her herd to market. I don’t know if that ever happened, but I wouldn’t be totally surprised. As for the fights? I know sisterhood exists, but so do jealousy, aggression and ferocity. Delicate, ladylike women would not have gone west in the first place. Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane Calloway and Belle Star were all real.

What else is unusual in The Cowgirl Murders?

A  few Native Americans come into the story, as do a few former slaves. Each one is a different character. None is a stereotype. Irish Americans and French Americans play important parts too. The hero, who was born in Wales, has to dismiss the views he hears from a sheriff with lots of prejudices. America was and is a melting-pot, unlike the somewhat monochrome impression in many movies.

Is the hero unusual?

Apart from being Welsh and married to a Shoshone, Davy is a deputy US marshal but also a detective who tends to ask questions first and shoot later, although he can be quick on the draw when he has to be. You can read about an incident set some ten years before in Revenge, a short story.

Is that all?

No! But if you want to know more I have posted a synopsis. Or you could buy the book. Hope you enjoy it.