Wednesday, June 30, 2021

The Fight Where the Girl Saved Her Brother (Battle of the Rosebud) by Zina Abbott


Frontier battles between the U.S. Army and the Native Americans of the Great Plains were generally fought by men. However, at the battle of the Rosebud which took place on June 17, 1876 in Montana Territory did have some women who were present – and some who participated.

Sioux charging at Battle of the Rosebud Creek

I won’t go into the detail behind the conflict other than to say it involved General Crook of the U.S. Army with his Crow and Shoshoni allies on one side, and the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne and some of their allies on the other. The Cheyenne know the battle as "The Fight Where the Girl Saved Her Brother".

Buffalo Calf Road Woman, or Brave Woman (b. c. 1850s? -d. 1878)

Buffalo Calf Road Woman
was a Northern Cheyenne woman who saved her wounded warrior brother Chief Comes in Sight.

During the advance of Captain Mills on the Northern Cheyenne and Lakota Sioux forces, allied under the leadership of Crazy Horse, had been retreating. The horse of a Cheyenne warrior, Comes in Sight, was shot. The retreating Cheyenne and Sioux left the wounded Chief, now on foot, on the battlefield. His sister, Buffalo Calf Road Woman, rode out onto the battlefield at full speed and grabbed up her brother, carrying him to safety. Her courageous rescue caused the Cheyenne to rally, and they defeated General George Crook and his forces.

In honor of Buffalo Calf Road Woman, the Cheyenne called the Battle of Rosebud "The Fight Where the Girl Saved Her Brother".

Buffalo Calf Road Woman fought next to her husband in the Battle of the Little Big Horn that same year. In 2005 Northern Cheyenne storytellers broke more than 100 years of silence about the battle, and they credited Buffalo Calf Road Woman with striking the blow that knocked General George Armstrong Custer off his horse before he died.

To see a short You-Tube video about this Northern Cheyenne heroine, please CLICK HERE.


The Other Magpie

The Other Magpie was a Crow woman who fought in the Battle of the Rosebud on the side of General Crook against the Sioux and Cheyenne. Pretty Shield, a Crow author and medicine woman, described her as being a wild one who had no man of her own…both bad and brave.”

Much of the account involving her and another Crow woman came from Pretty Shield (1856–1944) who was a medicine woman of the Crow Nation. Her biography, perhaps the first record of female Native American life, was written by Frank B. Linderman, who interviewed her using an interpreter and sign language.

According to Pretty Shield, The Other Magpie fought because her brother had recently been killed by the Sioux and she sought revenge against them. Most of the Crow carried rifles, but The Other Magpie carried only her belt knife and her coup stick. She counted coup on a Sioux warrior.

Crow-Cheyenne Fight - Counting Coup

Counting coup was the winning of prestige against an enemy by the Plains Indians of North America. Warriors won prestige by acts of bravery in the face of the enemy, which could be recorded in various ways and retold as stories. To read more details of what was involved in Counting Coup, please CLICK HERE.

Some sources credit The Other Magpie for eventually killing and scalping the Sioux warrior she counted coup against. The scalp that she took was one of only eleven taken in the battle.

Other sources say, according to Pretty Shield, who stayed away from that battle,

Pretty Shield

but later told the history of her people, that there was another woman involved who actually killed the Lakota on whom The Other Magpie counted coup. That other Crow’s name was Finds-Them-and-Kills-Them. This other “woman,” however, may have been a transvestite. Pretty Shield affirmed that The Other Magpie was all girl and dressed that way, but she claims Finds-Them-and-Kills-Them was “neither a man nor a woman.” According to Pretty Shield”

Finds-Them-and-Kills-Them, afraid to have the Lakota find her dead with woman clothing on her, changed them to a man’s before the fighting commenced, so that if killed, the Lakota would not laugh at her, lying there with a woman’s clothes on her. She did not want the Lakota to believe that she was a Crow man hiding in a woman’s dress, you see.

Working in tandem, the two woman warriors had rescued a fallen Crow named Bull Snake earlier in the battle, and when other Lakotas charged down on the rescuers, The Other Magpie countercharged. “She spat at them,” said Pretty Shield. “‘See,’ she called out, ‘my spit is my arrows!’” The Other Magpie then crashed her black horse into a Lakota warrior’s horse and struck him with her coup stick. As the Lakota horse and rider staggered, Finds-Them-and-Kills-Them shot the man dead with a revolver.

The Other Magpie took his scalp.

This was too much for the other Lakota warriors, who quickly backed off.

The two woman warriors, tending the wounded Bull Snake, returned to the village ahead of Crook’s other Crows. “I felt proud of the two women, even of the wild one, because she was brave,” recalled Pretty Shield. “Of course we had a big scalp dance. I think that the party had taken 10 scalps besides the one that The Other Magpie cut into so many pieces, so there were enough for many dancers.

Pretty Shield described The Other Magpie as having tied a feather on the end of her coup stick to symbolize her achievement.

Calamity Jane

Another woman at the scene of the battle did not participate. It was, Martha Jane Cannary, better known Calamity Jane, who, disguised as a man, worked as a teamster. Many blog posts and other information about her is available, so I will simply point out she was there serving as part of the support for General Crook and his men.




As part of my backstory for my hero, Quentin Thompson, in my latest book, A Bride for Quentin, I include a chapter about the Battle of the Rosebud. To find the book description and purchase link, please CLICK HERE.






Monday, June 28, 2021

Flags of the Republic of Texas

By Julia Ridgmont 

I just arrived home from a 16-hour drive into the great American state of Texas. It had been over 25 years since I had visited that state, and I wanted to show my kids some of the wonderful things that Texas has to offer, including beaches with warm water and fewer people than the beaches of our neighboring state, California. Warm beaches aside (at which they had a glorious time), my children learned a lot about Texas’ history during this trip. One thing that stood out to me as we drove and drove (and drove some more) were the many, many flags along the sides of the highways and freeway, both the American flag and the Texan flag. Too late, I realized I should have been counting the number I saw. I’ve taken several road trips with my family (with several U.S. states yet to visit—hopefully someday) and I have not seen this kind of pride and devotion displayed anywhere else, including my home state of Arizona.

Why are Texans so proud of their flag?


While I don’t know the exact answer to that question since I’ve never actually asked a Texan, I have a few theories.


Texas, as most people know, was an independent country after it revolted from Mexico in 1836. The Battle of the Alamo, though a defeat for the Texians, gave them the time they needed to gather reinforcements and fight President General Antonio López de Santa Anna a month and a half later. At the time, Texians were flying the Mexican flag—only, instead of the eagle shown in the middle, the year 1824 was sewn into it to remind Mexican leaders of the constitution they had drafted that year and the promises they had made, which they were no longer upholding.

Independence from Mexico presented new conflicts for the young republic, including skirmishes and raids from the Comanche Indian tribe and conflicting views regarding annexation into the United States of America from political leaders. From December 1836 to January 1839, Texas represented itself with a flag bearing a gold star over a blue background, known now as the Burnet flag. In 1839, a new flag was flown, bearing a white single or “lone star” over a blue background and one white bar running horizontally over one red bar. This flag served as the Republic of Texas’ ensign to other nations until annexation came at the end of 1845. It still serves as Texas’ official state flag, and because it has served as the official flag for both a country and a state (and is the only state flag of all 50 states to have done so), it is flown at the same height as the United States’ flag.

Yes, Texans have much to be proud about as their history is full of inspiring events and people. However, I would love to see more flags flown in other U.S. states as well as other nations. Show us what you’re proud of, your accomplishments as a society and a people. I’m not talking about the kind of pride that is boastful, but one that exudes confidence in oneself and a desire to stand boldly and represent your state or country nobly. What an honor it was to visit Texas and be reminded of the old adage, if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. Let's all stand up and be counted!

To learn more about Texas' fight for independence, visit:

History of the Texas State Flag, the Lone Star State flag and the Republic of Texas History (

To learn more about Julia Ridgmont and her books, visit her Amazon page:

Saturday, June 26, 2021


 By Caroline Clemmons

Imagine you’re a pioneer or mountain man depending on no one other than yourself. Even a good hunter would get scurvy without a supplemented diet.

Suppose you were on the Oregon Trail and trying to conserve your supplies. Or, suppose you were a hiker lost in the wilderness. What would you do if you were forced to forage for your food to survive?

Several years ago, research for the book JAMIE: Surprise Brides led me to investigate the question of survival if lost in winter. In the book, the heroine goes after her young stepson, who has run awayinto a snowstorm. They get lost and she has to keep the child warm and alive until help arrives. I wondered what they could eat when there were no green sprouts of anything showing. Of course, a heroine is required to be resourceful.


I read that the bulb of the cattail (also called bulrush) is edible and can be baked like a potato (but not the same shape). The cattail is an important plant to one struggling to survive. The head can be dipped in fat and used as a candle/torch. The pollen is edible. Leaves and stem fibers make mats or baskets. In the event you decide to try this or any of the plants mentioned here, be certain the plant is not in or near water that is a runoff area for pesticides and road waste! Pioneers didn’t have that problem.

Pine nuts garnish a salad

The small nuts from many pinecones (piñions) are edible. Tedious to harvest, I understand why they nuts are expensive to purchase. Yet, they’re nutritious as well as delicious. The right of Native American and Hispano people to gather these nuts is protected in some states.

Skunk Cabbage

Skunk cabbage needs to be handled carefully. The plant is amazing in that its rapid growth in spring produces so much heat it can melt its way up through snow! Carefully handle the young green leaves after collecting them. While bruised leaves give off an unpleasant odor like a skunk or rotting meat (Euww), the smell disappears after cooking. This plant requires changing the water at least twice and replacing with fresh, boiling, salted water. Serve like greens. Roots are very bitter in their raw state and should be peeled, cut into small pieces, and roasted. They can be ground to add to bread batter. If you were starving, I don’t think you’d mind the smell or the bitter taste, do you?

Miner’s Lettuce got its name because miners used it to prevent scurvy. Leaves, stems, and flowers are edible. Don’t overeat or it becomes a laxative.

Dandelion flowers

One of the most helpful plants in warmer weather is the dandelion. All of this plant is edible. Pioneers toasted the roots and used them for coffee—although reportedly the roots are more bitter than coffee. Stems and leaves are good in salad—reportedly taste similar to arugula. Even the flower is edible. A friend recently fried the flowers and reported they were delicious. So, if dandelions show up in your lawn, don’t be too upset—they’re a good thing masquerading as a weed. As mentioned above, don’t eat them if you’ve used chemicals on your lawn!

When I was a small child, our neighbor was the first person I knew who supplemented her diet with food she found in the wild: wild mushrooms, prickly pear cactus flowers and pads, and more. When I was in junior high, our Avon lady—who was also the mother of my friend—gathered dandelions and other wild plants for salads and cooking. As the picky eater daughter of my picky eater mom, I'm ashamed to admit that back then I found the idea of these foods repugnant.

However, one food I still avoid is pokeweed! Some people call this poke salad. My mother-in-law used to gather young leaves and cook them. This requires cooking in water, pouring off all that water, cooking in water again, pouring off that water, and then cooking in water a third and final time. Otherwise, pokeweed is poisonous. Being able to gather it and have a free vegetable tickled her when she prepared it for her family. I used this as a poison in one of my books because it’s so easily available. I won't say which in case you were to read that book and have the plot spoiled. Pokeweed grows throughout most of the U.S. and eastern Canada. According to my sources, it does not grow in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, or Nevada.

Bee on one type of Amaranth

Amaranth grows wild and is also domesticated. All parts of this plant are edible, though some are best cooked. The flavor is nutty and usually slightly sweet. Once considered a staple food to the Inca, Mayan, and Aztec peoples, amaranth has been cultivated for close to eight thousand years. It is gluten-free and high in protein, fiber, micronutrients, and antioxidants. It grows wild in fields.

Jerusalem artichoke is also called a sunchoke. Don’t confuse it with a sunflower, although they are in the same family. This root of this plant can be eaten raw or cooked. Reportedly it has a sweet, nutty taste.


Wild grapes, blackberries, strawberries, and other berries are found in spring to fall. Our daughter used to gather wild blackberries when she rode her horse in North Central Texas. She brought home a few but ate most when she picked them. We’re grateful she didn’t encounter a snake. Be warned—snakes also like blackberries, too!

Red clover and chevron leaves

Flowers, leaves, and stems of red clover are edible. Leaves should have a distinct chevron in lighter green. Red clover may be eaten spring through fall. Pregnant women probably should not eat this plant because it’s high in oxalic acid.

My wild roses this year

Wild roses make a rose hip that has eight times the concentration of Vitamin C found in citrus. Perhaps you’ve had rose hip tea. Rose petals, shoots, and young leaves may be eaten. The flavor is said to be similar to the rose fragrance. I have wild roses our eldest daughter brought me from her property when she lived in a rural area. Our abundant rains this year produced a bumper crop of the flowers, but I didn’t taste them.


Many edible plants have look-alike poisonous plants. For this reason, I haven’t included several plants that are common. Of course, there are hundreds of edible plants so I couldn't have included all of them.

There are exceptions to the list that follows, but this is a good general caution. The Department of the Army recommends you do *not* eat a plant that has one of the following:

Milky or discolored sap

Beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods

Bitter or soapy taste

Spines, fine hairs, or thorns

Dill, carrot, parsnip, or parsley-like foliage

Almond scent in woody part or in leaves

Grain heads with pink, purplish, or black spears

Three-leaved growth patterns


Complete Guide to Edible Plants, Department of the Army, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2009

Wikipedia, various plants

Photos from except for the wild roses  

Coming Soon!


Thursday, June 24, 2021


Nineteen weeks? Nineteen months?  Nineteen years? How long did young men race across the West as Pony Express Riders?

What's your guess? The Pony Express is so much a part of my image of the West that I might have guessed nineteen years. What about you?

I would be wrong. Amazingly, the Pony Express lasted only nineteen months. With so much written about it or shown in movies I was sure it would have been longer than that.

A series of way stations that allowed for new horses made it possible for these men, mostly orphans, to deliver a letter from Missouri to California in only ten days. At least, that was the company's guarantee. One even did it in eight days.

Ad in the Sacramento Union, March 19, 1860

"Men Wanted"
The undersigned wishes to hire ten or a dozen men, familiar with the management of horses, as hostlers, or riders on the Overland Express Route via Salt Lake City. Wages $50 per month and found. (

Though the riders ran into dangers and not all survived, the Pony Express Company delivered on their promises and ran a successful business. Why did it fail in the end?

The telegraph. Even while riders raced across country, the young men saw wires and poles being strung along their way. Train tracks also stretched across the plains to the West Coast. That made it possible to deliver packages and such cheaper and with equal speed--or even faster.

After only a year and a half of business, the Pony Express could not meet the same speed of the telegraph. The message that took riders days to deliver could be sent in mere minutes. The Pony Express riders carried their last letter in 1862 (though the company official terminated in October, 1861).

Still, that didn't stop them from entering into the legend of the West...

Want to read about crossing the country? Pre-order my wagon-train romance today.

A cat, an accident, and a pile of mixed-up letters send a bride to a man she otherwise would never have met. Only time will tell if she and this new marriage can survive the match.

 Francine 'Francy' Dinsmore loses the security she's always known with the death of her father. Coincidentally, her father sent a letter to a matchmaker to give his daughter a home far from Chicago.  Life so far has treated Francy tenderly and expected very little from her.

Beau LeFevre abandons a hopeless future to venture west. He packs a wagon to head for Oregon. The only thing he needs before he leaves is a wife. When the elegant woman arrives from the matchmaker, he marries her wondering all the while what made the matchmaker send this bride to him.

How can he make a marriage work with this spoiled woman? Life on the trail leads him to believe someone made a mistake!

Or will this turn out to be a happy accident and a sound pairing with the only woman who can win his heart?

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Donuts & Ferris Wheels

 Post by Doris McCraw

writing as Angela Raines

Donuts and Ferris Wheels. Both are round and both are fun, but what do they have in common besides the obvious?

June 21, 1893, the Ferris wheel made its appearance at the Chicago Worlds Columbian Exposition. Although there had been other similar rides, it was Ferris whose name is the one we remember. It had been built to rival the Eiffel Tower, which had made its debut in 1889. 

Ferris Wheel - Chicago Exposition

But what does that have to do with donuts?

Well, the first Friday of June is National Donut Day a continuation of the Salvation Army's Donut Day to celebrate the volunteers who served donuts during WWI.

Additionally, it is said the first modern donut was invented in 1847 by a sixteen-year-old boy named Harrison Gregory aboard a lime trading ship. He then taught it to his mother. The story goes, he was tired of 'donuts' that were still uncooked in the middle. He punched the hole to keep that from happening.

Photo from

At the same time, 'donuts' have been around and have been spoken of in literature since the early nineteenth century. 

So who invented the 'Ferris' wheel or donuts for that matter? It is open to discussion. At the same time, not only do they have the month of June in common, but their history is also a bit of a circle you might say.

So the next time you eat a donut or ride a Ferris wheel, think about their beginnings for history is a never-ending joy to search out. Or you could just grab a donut or two and hop on a Ferris Wheel! 

Although Maria in the "Never Had a Chance" novella doesn't make donuts, she does use food to catch her man.


Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Author of the "Agate Gulch" novellas and 
the "Kiowa Wells" novels.
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet

Post (c) Doris McCraw All Rights Reserved.