Read an Excerpt
May Manning Lillie
Princess of the Prairie
"Let any normally healthy woman who is ordinarily strong screw up her courage and tackle a bucking bronco, and she will find the most fascinating pastime int he field of feminine atheltic endeavor. There is nothing to compare, to increase the joy of living, and once accomplished, she'll have mroe real fun than any pink tea or theatre party or balroom dance ever yielded."
A bespectacled photographer emerged from under a black curtain draped over a massive camera and tripo. In his right hand he hels and instrument that wehn pressed would take a picture. In his left hand, he held a flash attachment to illumniate his subject. "On the count of three, Mrs. Lillie," he warned.
May Manning Lillie stared directly into the lens. Her cowboy hat cocked on her head, a red kerchief tied around the neck of her white peasant blouse, a black split skirt belted around her waist, and leather gauntlets covering her hands. She wore a serious expression as the photographer began counting. Before he got to two, she raised a six shooter and pointed it at the camera, closing one eye and looking down the barrel of the gun with the other. Ka-Poof! The flash attachment fired and smoke wafted into the air. "Perfect," the photographer said, smiling. And it was. The black and white image of cowgirl Lillie demonstrating her skill as a markswoman became one of the most widely known publicity posters for the wild west show in the early 1900s.