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Buffalo Girls

3.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,164 Ratings  ·  128 Reviews
In a letter to her daughter back East, Martha Jane is not shy about her own importance: "Martha Jane -- better known as Calamity -- is just one of the handful of aging legends who travel to London as part of Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show in Buffalo Girls. As he describes the insatiable curiosity of Calamity's Indian friend No Ears, Annie Oakley's shooting match with L ...more
Kindle Edition, 356 pages
Published (first published 1990)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 14, 2008 Jesse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like to think about this: while 2nd generation Puget Sound pioneers were felling the old growth Doug firs from which my house is built, and Irish immigrant carpenters were nailing together my roof beams, Calamity Jane was still alive and kicking around Deadwood. It's true that the American wild west was history by then, but young Calamity had lived that wild west in her youth when it was the real thing.

This book isn't about the wild and audacious life Calamity lived, it's about the truth that
Apr 18, 2008 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fictional story of Calamity Jane. Several characters are real (Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill Cody, Sitting Bull) others are based on real people, all are fictionalized. It's the story of people who live beyond their time - in this case the Wild West after it was tamed. It's a beautiful sad story I've read many times. Betty Buckley reads the audio version and she is just heartbreakingly wonderful.
Tom Burke
Apr 09, 2014 Tom Burke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this story. With the last page turned I whooped out loud with pleasure. Wonderful dialog, dense characters, a good dab of history and literary technique (like the aside on the stage or screen) that builds and builds to the last. So glad I picked this book up!
Aug 06, 2008 Bonnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book starts slowly but it does deliver in the second half. A fun summer read with many sad parts. It's almost like he wrote it for the movie.
Dec 04, 2014 Jimmy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mcmurtry
Historical fiction with such historical names as Martha Jane Canary, Dora DuFran, Teddy Blue Abbott, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, Jack Omohundro, Sitting Bull, Annie Oakley, the Countess of Warwick (Daisy), Russell of the Times, and Potato Creek Johnny. But the person who steals the whole book is a fictional ancient Indian scout named No Ears. When he's in the story, it's MacMurtry at his finest.

One flaw in the book for me were the letters from Calamity Jane to her daughter who is also calle
Dec 24, 2015 Nancyann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the umpteenth time I read Buffalo Girls but the first time since joining Goodreads, hence the review. This is Larry McMurtry at his finest. I see that others have posted that it cannot compare to Lonesome Dove. Yes, Lonesome Dove is a true epic tale of the west that was. Buffalo Girls is a smaller story of the "wild west" that is disappearing as told through the (mis)adventures of Calamity Jane and her cohorts. Any book is a good book that sends me scrambling to do online research. I've ...more
Jan 17, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
An old compliment to actors that you rarely hear anymore is, "I'd listen to him read the phone book," and I thought of that as I was reading Buffalo Girls. When it comes to Larry McMurtry, I'd read it if he wrote the phone book because, as plotless as it might be, he would somehow manage to convey in it all the pain of daily living. Not that Buffalo Girls has no plot, but it's a thin one; it's mostly just a few old characters coming to grips with the fact that the time of the American West as an ...more
May 26, 2014 Max rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very, very disappointing as I have other McMurtry novels on my shelves (Lonesome Dove, Leaving Cheyenne, The Last Picture Show, Texasville) and have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them. I looked forward to Buffalo Girls as another enjoyable read. Boy, was I let down. The entire story revolves around Calamity Jane and her ability (or inability) to adapt to changes that the Wild West is going through during the mid 19th century. The indians are gone from the plains, there are no more buf ...more
Fiona Squires
Jul 31, 2011 Fiona Squires rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Forget about Doris Day. This novel tries to ground the legend of Calamity Jane in something of the reality of the West.
The novel focuses on Jane and several of her friends as they try to eke out a living in a West which has changed substantially since they started out. The animals have been hunted to extinction and the Indian wars have been won, leaving these aging frontiers people with little option but to parody their past as part of Buffalo Bills travelling Wild West show.
McMurty fictionalise
Amanda Hughes
Jun 07, 2016 Amanda Hughes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book about tough women of the West especially Calamity Jane. It was funny and poignant at the same time. What a fabulous writer McMurtry is. The movie is terrific too, packed with stars.
Paul Parsons
Aug 08, 2012 Paul Parsons rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, this one surprised me. At first I thought this to be another McMurtry cast of misfits wandering through meaningless lives. And for the most part, it is, with the added history of real Western characters such as Bill Cody and Calamity Jane. The story is told through multiple points of view and can be a little confusing. The one constant was Calamity writing letters to her long lost daughter about her adventures. The twist at the end was unique and made me reflect on the whole book different ...more
Christian Schwoerke
Larry McMurtry does it again with Buffalo Girls, creates distinctive characters one can visualize and whose actions matter (not to the artifice of some mechanical plot) but to the heart of a reader. I’m leading with this sort of pronouncement because I just finished reading a day or so before Angela Carter’s self-reflexive metafictional Nights at the Circus, which advertised as it told its story that it was a joyful seduction of the reader. That’s a tall order, and announcing along the way that ...more
Betty Silvia
Jun 08, 2015 Betty Silvia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to this book because of the title and setting. I grew up in the North Dakota, and have long heard tales of these wild west legends, Annie Oakley, Wild Bill Hickok, Sitting Bull. It was entertaining to read about their interaction with each other as well as the changing times. I felt the loss of the "good old days" when the west was truly wild. I understood the dilemma of the characters when the west no longer supported their lifestyle and so they joined the traveling Wild West show.

Oct 20, 2014 Lynley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american, historical
This is the first Larry McMurtry novel I've read, though the films based on some of his books are among my most favorite. I haven't seen the TV film version of this, and didn't know it existed, and I didn't know anything much about Calamity Jane, either. About halfway through the novel I looked her up and realised the cast of characters was based (to a certain extent) on real historical figures, or at least upon the myths surrounding them.

I really enjoyed this book, and appreciated some of the t
I liked the idea of this story more than the execution: Calamity Jane traveling the old west and accompanying Wild Bill Cody to England with his Wild West Show, which they performed for the Queen. Exciting stuff! Well, not exactly. By the time the book opens, Jane is a drunk that wanders around with other sad friends as they pine for the time before the west was won.

Most of the characters behave like idiots, and you can't believe they survived as long as they did. Jane spends most of the story
50 States and at least 50 authors 2016 Reading Challenge. TEXAS.

As a child, I read lots of historical fiction and loved it. However, I have recently been disappointed by historical fiction which portrayed specific known events or characters inaccurately. Yes, I understand that is why it is called fiction. However, I would prefer that books stick closer to known facts. In the case of Martha Jane Cannary, usually called Calamity Jane we "know" very few facts. Most of what is available is legend, s
Michael Lesley
Dec 22, 2015 Michael Lesley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
My favorite audiobook. Betty Buckley is a super solid narrator. This is the book that inspired me to fall in love with audiobooks. Her voice for Jane and No Ears are just so captivating and real. She really taught me how a book reading can be a whole performance and I just fell in love with the artform.

Larry Mcmurtry happens to be one of my favorite writers, so that helps. This tale about Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show is equally exciting and sad. it's about the death of t
Jul 10, 2014 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buffalo Girls was an easy summer read which didn't meet my expectations; however, it did parcel out tidbits of historical interest. Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show (the European tour) is only a small part of the story. Chapters and sections of the book shift focus between the main characters that hang out with Calamity Jane who is the main character. I found No Ears, the old Indian in the story,very interesting as he shed wisdom and insight into events that others seemed to ignore. Calamity J ...more
Ricky Orr
Sep 19, 2009 Ricky Orr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I didn't think this book was special, but my opinion began changing with each new page. As the characters in the story age and fade like the wild west, I formed a connection with the characters and I felt their longing for the glory of a bye-gone era.
Mar 09, 2016 Diane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Larry McMurtry is indeed the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lonesome Dove, one of the best westerns every written and one of my personal favourite books. However, some of his subsequent forays into the genre were less than stellar and this is one of them. This book had a good premise -- the demise of the Old West as seen through the eyes of famed Calamity Jane who he portrays as a pathetic character. Jane is a lonely alcoholic misfit even in her own world. Like many of the well-known character ...more
Jul 03, 2014 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart

The memoir SUMMER AT TIFFANY is the delightful story if two Iowa sorority sisters great adventure to NYC in the summer of 1945. Marjorie and Marty, inspired by a fellow Kappa's summer job as a sales girl at Lord & Taylor, leave Iowa for the first time to hopefully find jobs at the famed store themselves. With a bit of luck, a good connection and a bit of mixup, they are hired as the first female pages at Tiffany & Co. earning $20.00 per week!

Their "pied
Michelle Frumkin
The best part of this book was the setting. I loved the author's portrayal of the last days of the Wild West. The speed and thoroughness of its destruction was beautifully portrayed. I enjoyed how the characters sensed it on their own terms. The problem for me is that I had no sympathy for the individual characters, especially Calamity. (The exception was No Ears.) Maybe it was because I was coming into their stories so late in the game when they were just washed up and lost. I cared most for Ca ...more
Jul 31, 2015 Lola rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about Martha Jane, known as Calamity Jane. She dressed in buckskins & appeared to some to be a man. She was full of lies & whiskey, traveling the western frontier with friends, Bartle Bone & Jim Ragg, who were always in search of the disappearing beaver, and No Ears, an old Ogalala Sioux.
His ears had been cut off, as well as the ears of the rest of his tribe, by French traders. Previous to that incident, No Ears was named Two Toes Broken because as an infant, he was s
Shawnee Bowlin
May 04, 2015 Shawnee Bowlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Larry McMurtry kept me entertained throughout the book Buffalo Girls. Calamity was wild and careless, untamed for sure! No Ears was intriguing. His perspective was certainly welcomed, as I've not read much from an Indian point of view. Dora's story was heartbreaking.
I found the male parts interesting since the book was supposed to be mainly about the female cowgirls. I feel too much was included on the males only because of this aspect.
However, the shocker towards the end was amazing! I certain
Apr 10, 2014 Shelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I am the wild west, no show about it. I was one of the people who kept it wild...." Calamity Jane. An old woman in the Montana mud writes a letter to her daughter in the East. Her name is Martha Jane, but everyone in the west calls her Calamity. This is the story of Calamity's last days. Here you will find Indians, beaver hunters, saloons, gunfighters, frontier history, everything you could possibly want in a western. Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley along with other Western legends go with Buffa ...more
Trey Bahm
Jan 18, 2013 Trey Bahm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite quotes of all times comes from this book:

"Out west, no one is too crazy to hang."
Sep 02, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this audio book on a long drive through the back country in Oregon.
Aug 29, 2008 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seventeen members attended the Buffalo Girls Meeting which was held at the gazebo, Madeline's Birders Rest on Wednesday. The walk a round the reservoir was pleasant. We were not bothered by too many bugs and we were off the trail by dark. Buffalo Girls is a story of a small tribe of mountain men and women and Indians, real people, whose stories outgrew their lives. The west was settled, the bison and beaver were gone and their life styles were about to become extinct. The story centered on Marth ...more
Jul 11, 2008 Honey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't help it. I love Larry McMurtry. Ever since I fell in love with Lonesome Dove and as a result, old western novels in general, I have been a sucker for just about everything this guy makes up and writes about.

This was a sad book, mostly because the story follows the end of the wild west and the diminishing lives of adventurous, wandering old-timers. There's a feeling of finality and conclusion that pervades the tale, bringing with it an introspective sense of change, and of course, death.

Cathy Simonds
Apr 10, 2011 Cathy Simonds rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read.
Had a sudden interest in Calamity Jane after catching the 1950's Doris Day movie. Could anything be further from the dirt of the Black Hills than a Hollywood sound stage? Could anything be further from the truth about Martha Jane and Bill Hickok than the movie? The music is excellent, though.

Felt I had to read something quickly to balance the godawful cheeriness of Doris. This book did the trick. MuMurtry focuses on an alocholic Martha Jane in her forties and her long-time friends -
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Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays.

Among many other accolades he was the co-winner of an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain in 2006.

Larry McMurty was born in Wichita Falls Texas in 1936. His first published book Horseman, Pass By was
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