Wednesday, March 13, 2019

A Hardscrabble Life In The Wilderness #MFRWAuthor

WELCOME TO #BOOKHOOKS sponsored by #MFRWAuthors. To see posts from authors participating today, click on link above.

Wilderness is the land that was wild land beyond the frontier...a land that shaped the growth of our nation and the character of its people. It's was the rare, wild places where one could retreat from civilization, reconnect with the Earth, and find healing, meaning and significance.

The Wild West was once such a 'wilderness' but it's often romanticized in western/cowboy novels. Living in this wilderness in the 1800s wasn't all about gorgeous dance hall girls or the glorified gunfight at OK Corral.

Thousands died during the gold rush days from disease, accidents or starvation, others were attacked and killed by Indians (or died when unjustly attacking the Indians) and others died from eking out a living on the harsh, brutal land. Hopefully, some of these images will paint a picture of what venturing into the wilderness meant for some in the end. They are stark and vivid reminders that the wilderness was no place for the weak or infirm.

After a bank robbery went wrong in Coffeyville, Kansas in 1892, Grat and Bob Dalton were shot to death. Brother Emmet—who took a whopping 23 bullets—survived. He did, however, spend the next 14 years in jail. 

This picture of a a group of Paiute Native Americans was taken in 1872, 12 years after the Paiute War, during which they were nearly wiped out by U.S. settlers.  The Northern and Southern Paiute Indians of northern Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and eastern California live in the southern and northwestern portions of the Great Basin.

Olive Oatman’s family was killed by a group of Mojave Native Americans when she was a young girl. She and her sister were spared and taken in by the tribe, which taught her their customs. Olive later would rejoin European Americans, but she believed the traditional tattoo she was given marked her as a slave. After several years with the Mohave, during which her sister died of hunger, she returned to white society, five years after being carried off.

How about you; do you think you would have survived living in the wilderness in the 1800s? Or have you ever wished your born during that time period? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.
I've written a few books set in the Wilderness - western romance, mostly. In my book COMES AN OUTLAW, one reviewer talks about a hardscrabble life in the West.

"Cain’s younger brother Coy arrives out of the blue. He could be a big help, but he doesn’t intend to stick around. Not knowing his parents and brother had died, he only planned to stop in for a short visit before continuing to Utah, but the beautiful widow and her courageous son won’t make it without him. The hardscrabble existence of life in those days, the engaging characters, and the fascinating look at Yaqui Indian culture, carries the reader into a simpler time when it was easier to believe in spirits and their ability to communicate beyond the grave."


Holly Bargo said...

I've read a little about Olivia Oatman, but not the others. No, I wouldn't want to revisit the Old West in person. I'm too fond of having legal rights as a real person separate from my husband, not to mention creature comforts like feminine hygiene products, modern medicine, and indoor plumbing.

Janet Lane Walters said...

What interesting bith of history you've shown me today. I enjoyed the little I read about the book,

Hywela Lyn said...

I've always been fascinated by the Old West, and although I live in the UK, I learned to ride my horse Western style, with all the 'gear', including wearing a stetson! (Western riding is so comfortable and more relaxed than the English style and becoming very popular over here.) I really enjoyed reading some of the actual history - and much I love the romanticised versions of Western life, I don't think I'd really want to survive without some of our modern conveniences (although admittedly there are some things about modern living I could do without and I feel we wouldn't have made such a mess of the Earth (climate change) if we had paid more attention to how the Native Americans lived, and their respect of the land and its animals.

(By the way, I messed up my registration this week and my link won't work. it should be

Ed Hoornaert said...

Although I watched cowboy movies when young, I've never yearned for the wild west. For some reason, I've been fascinated instead by the north, and I've lived several places that qualify as 'wilderness', though of the north woods variety. But where have I ended up? Arizona. Go figure.