Women played a vital and, until recently, overlooked role in the settlement of the American West. They were not only mothers, schoolteachers, and nurses, but cowgirls, outlaws, and western ranchwomen. Mary Rak’s career as a ranchwoman, and later an author, began in 1919 when she and her husband purchased a 22,000-acre spread north of Douglas, Arizona. She went on to recount her struggle to learn the business and cope with the problems of life on an isolated ranch.
The new introduction to this rangeland classic was written by the late Sandra L. Myres. Her research into the lives and writings of western ranchwomen provides a background for understanding Mary Rak and her work.