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Buffalo Girls

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  1,871 ratings  ·  110 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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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
Paul Parsons
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
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.
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.
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
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
Jean C
The main character's personality (Calamity) truly shines through and you just want to hug her (then wipe off the dust). McMurtry adds in her best friend Dora, who is near equally engaging, as is Calamity's Indian friend, No Ears. I liked his character even more so than Calamity's. While I'm at it, practically all the characters are endearing, each in their eccentric way and you will love meeting them. This is a 95% character-driven book--not so much plot.

I do think the book could have been trimm
Fiona Squires
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
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
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
Tom Burke
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!
Ricky Orr
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.
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
"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
One of my favorite quotes of all times comes from this book:

"Out west, no one is too crazy to hang."
Thoroughly enjoyed this audio book on a long drive through the back country in Oregon.
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
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
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
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 -
An historical fiction account of the period after the Wild West has passed its hay day that centers around the character of Calamity Jane. While Calamity is the central character, the novel is as much about Dora DuFran, T. Blue Abbott, Buffalo Bill Cody, and fictional(?) Bartle Bone, Jim Ragg, No Ears, and others, both real and fictional, as it is about Calamity Jane. All the characters struggle in different ways to come to grips with the increasingly settled Wild West, trying to find ways of ma ...more
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I would not categorize as a Westen action novel. Rather it is a very well drawn portrait of the last days of the Old West. As McMurtry wrote, the Old West was a place where a person relied upon "energy, muscle and will." There is a certain sadness to this story as we meet the characters in the latter days of their lives and witness how their skills are no longer in demand. Interestingly, McMurtry focused more on fleshing out the women characters than ...more
Jeff Dickison
A good fictional biograpny of Calamity Jane and her friends. The book is wildly innacurate, but does capture what feels like the truth about the alcoholic Calamity. One of the worst inacuracies is having Dora DuFran die before Calamity, although she really outlived her by about 30 years. Well written, semi-humorous account of the changing of the old west. Recommended.
Brent Soderstrum
I always enjoy a Larry McMurty book and this one doesn't disappoint. In this historical fiction novel McMurtry tells the story of how various characters adapt to the Wild West winding down and becoming more civilized. Some like Buffalo Bill Cody handle it well making a lot of money taking Wild West shows all over the US and Europe. Others like Calamity Jane and her friends Bartles and Jim get disappointed at the loss of all they had loved whether it was the beaver, the buffalo or the Wild West i ...more
I have not done enough research on the life of Calamity Jane to vouch for this novel’s historical accuracy. I have some question regarding it, since McMurtry’s book on Billy The Kid was loaded with falsity and inaccuracy, but this book was at least more entertaining a read nonetheless.
Calamity Jane, Bill Cody, and a the last cowboys Indians and mountain men that the west has to offer find themselves heading to London with their wild west show. This novel is mostly a remembrance of an idealized west that has already passed its inhabitants by as the country has followed in their heels with civilization. AN assortment of historical western figures are given lives and personalities, many of which are presented via Jane’s letters to her fictional daughter conceived with Wild Bill ...more
I'd probably give this 3.5 stars, if half stars were allowed in this rating system. This book definitely had its moments, and I liked the overall concept behind it. It's set at a time when the "Wild West" is nearing the end of its wildness, and the people who had been a part of what made it legendary are struggling to define their lives now that their purpose is gone. It makes me want to read more about some of these intriguing historical figures, but it just didn't seem as strong as some of his ...more
I read "Deadwood" and this was an equally evocative story of the West at the end of the Frontier. The Indians were beaten, the plains were empty and the new century hadn't begun. Told through some powerful female characters, this is a story of the end of one time and the beginning of another.
Debi Robertson
Fascinating read. Well written and thought provoking. I personally cannot vouch for the historical accuracy of this book as it is a period in time I don't spend any time with. That could change based on this book.
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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 adapted into the film "Hud".

McMurty went on to publish many more novels, a number of which went on to become movies as well as a TV mini-series.
More about Larry McMurtry...
Lonesome Dove Terms of Endearment The Last Picture Show Streets of Laredo Comanche Moon

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