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The Last of the Wild West Cowgirls: A True Story

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Goldie Griffith was one of a kind. She boxed. She wrestled. She rode bucking broncos in the Buffalo Bill Wild West traveling tent shows, and a newspaper referred to the pretty young bronco buster as a "Heller in Skirts." She was one of the first professional female athletes. She was an actor and stunt rider for the brand-new western movies that were taking the country by storm.

She was married during a Wild West at Madison Square Garden with a crowd of 8,000 in attendance. She became a rancher and owned several restaurants in the mountains of Colorado. She trained dogs for the war and applied to be the first policewoman in San Francisco.

Was there anything she couldn't do? She didn't think so. When she learned the truth about her cowboy husband she pulled out her show gun, but even a trip to jail didn't stop her. This is the (amazingly) true story of Goldie Griffith's life. With over 120 photographs and images. A 2009 WILLA Literary Award finalist.

Editorial Reviews: "Thank heavens Goldie s story wasn t lost because she was present at many significant early day western events and knew many of the people who helped the American West become important to our history. Sit back and read about Goldie's life, truly The Last of the Wild West Cowgirls. The experiences Goldie had in show business and ranching will keep you turning pages until you finish the book and wish there were more." -Gail Woerner, rodeo historian

"...a well-researched blend of fact and informed imagination that brings to life the story of a very independent and colorful woman. Goldie Griffith: wrestler, cowgirl, bronc rider, entrepreneur and feminist. What a woman!" -Steve Friesen, Director, Buffalo Bill Museum, Lookout Mountain, Golden, Colorado

"You can taste the dust in Goldie s mouth, feel the sweat dribbling down her chest and smell the corral, the horse energy. The book puts you into the center of the struggles of a traveling show, the amazing effort of transporting hundreds of people and livestock, including elephants, across the country in railroad cars. The book is an historic gem that was just waiting to be written." -Barbara Lawlor, The Mountain-Ear

392 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2009

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About the author

Kay Turnbaugh

7 books35 followers
Kay Turnbaugh was born and raised in Colorado, and she now lives in the small mountain town of Nederland where for 27 years she published the town's weekly award-winning newspaper. After retiring from the newspaper business, she researched and wrote The Last of the Wild West Cowgirls, a biography of Goldie Griffith who rode bucking broncos in Buffalo Bill's Wild West shows and ended up owning restaurants in Nederland.

The Last of the Wild West Cowgirls A WILLA Literary Award finalist for Creative Nonfiction.

Around Nederland, is part of Arcadia Publishing's Images of America Series.

A children's book (for ages 8-12) about the mountain pine beetle, The Mountain Pine Beetle-Tiny But Mighty.

Following In Their Footsteps: Historical Hikes of the Northern Front Range.

Ski Touring Routes: Colorado's Front Range
with co-author Alan Apt.

Afoot & Afield: Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Rocky Mountain National Park, a hiking guide with 184 trails, maps, and photos of hikes along Colorado's Front Range. With co-author Alan Apt.

Rocky Mountain National Park Dining Room Girl: The Summer of 1926 at the Horseshoe Inn, with historic photos and maps, from letters written by an adventurous girl from Iowa. With co-author Lee Tillotson.

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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
420 reviews4 followers
March 16, 2016
Disclaimer: I received this book as part of Goodreads First Reads program.

This is the biography of Goldie Griffith. Born in 1893, she went into show business as a lady wrestler in the early 1900s. Enamored by a young cowboy in a traveling western show, she decides to follow that path and finds that she has a definite aptitude for all that being a cowgirl entailed. She eventually joins Buffalo Bill's show, and is with it when it goes bankrupt. She continues plying her trade as a cowgirl for a while, and eventually settles down in Nederland, Colorado, where she operates a series of restaurants until her retirement and eventual death in 1976. Her interesting story takes us through much of the 20th century is describes a way of life that long ago disappeared from America.
Profile Image for Lois.
380 reviews9 followers
July 24, 2011
I purchased this book last year when I was in Colorado. I had never heard of Goldie Griffith but I've been fascinated by cowgirls ever since I was little watching Sallie Starr on TV. It's an interesting biography told in a very homey style that was no doubt inspired by the way Goldie loved to tell her own story of traveling with Buffalo Bill and other Wild West Shows. The book made that period and the people who worked the shows really come to life. I especially enjoyed the stories of her later days in Nederland Colorado. Though she became a wife, mother and eventually a grandmother she never stopped being a cowgirl.
Profile Image for Karen Emanuelson.
8 reviews6 followers
August 1, 2019
I appreciate the extensive research into an under-explored part of history: Women who are famous due to their own achievements rather than because of who they were descended from, married to or gave birth to. There is especially a big hole with regard to real, working and professional cowgirls. The photos in this book are a special added treasure. I sure hope more people get to know Goldie Griffith.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
150 reviews1 follower
April 11, 2022
I grew up in Nederland. I didn't know Goldie. I'm not sure my parents knew Goldie. But we ate at her restaurant. I really enjoyed her history and knowing her story.
September 25, 2022
good read

The forgotten history is wonderful to read about. It is well worth the read. An era when women enjoyed a freedom few seem to know about today
1,050 reviews11 followers
August 6, 2015
This was fun to read because of the Western history, the stories of Nederland, CO, and the fact that it was all true.
Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 reviews

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