This collection of short, action-filled stories of the Old West’s most egregiously badly behaved female outlaws, gamblers, soiled doves, and other wicked women offers a glimpse into the Western women’s experience that’s less sunbonnets and more six-shooters. During the late 1800s, while men were settling the new frontier and rushing off to the latest boomtowns, women of easy virtue found wicked lives west of the Mississippi when they followed fortune hunters seeking gold and land in an unsettled territory. Prostitutes and female gamblers hoped to capitalize on the vices of the intrepid pioneers. Pulling together stories of ladies caught in the acts of mayhem, distraction, murder, and highway robbery, Wicked Women includes famous names like Belle Starr and Big Nose Kate as well as lesser known [characters].


~ Amazon’s Page–Audible Edition of Wicked Women: Notorious, Mischievous, and Wayward Ladies from the Old West, by Chris Enss


Chris Enss is the author of nearly 40 (as best I can tell) titles unveiling the history of the Old West. This is the fourth title of Chris’s I’ve read and reviewed, I believe, and I continually find her books informative, entertaining, thorough, and professional. Anyone who enjoys American history–even superficially–will find her books enjoyable and come away with a better understanding of the topic.

I listened to the audible edition of this fine book, and recommend it. The narrator’s presentation was superb and added value to an already quality book. Each chapter detailed the life, happenings, memories, and details about one notorious “Wicked Woman”, including everything from first-person memories (diaries, interviews years later) to newspaper reports, death certificates, etc. Each chapter began with a scene from that highlighted woman’s life, showing that woman’s personality, tragic demise, a highlight in her story, or other captivating moment. While I never doubted the content of each chapter, covering the highlights of her life, debunking myths, mentioning when historians disagree, or when the woman disappeared (likely changed her name and chose to live the rest of her life in anonymity), I did have to question whether these opening scenes were fictionalized or simply embellished. In one particular case (no one remained alive in the room afterward), I suspect the historical facts were highly embellished. This storytelling method caught and held my attention.

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Copyright © 2017 Kristin Holt LC