Calamity Jane: How the West Began

Calamity Jane: How the West Began

by Bryan Ney



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780997747805
Publisher: Dragon Tree Books
Publication date: 08/09/2016
Pages: 186
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.43(d)

About the Author

Bryan Ney has had a harmless obsession with 1860's Montana since he found a copy of Vigilante Days and Ways at a Hollywood used bookstore in the 1990s. Probably he was drawn to the story by the same interest in justice that made him a member of his hospital's bioethics committee for two decades and more. Seeing an opportunity to rectify what seemed to be universal ignorance of this episode, Dr. Ney did what anyone in Malibu would do in this situation-he spent twenty years off and on writing a spec screenplay, naturally with the doctor as the protagonist. That never quite worked, so finally he hit upon the idea of writing Calamity Jane in as the main character, though she had come to the area a few months after the vigilante episode in historical fact. He also changed from screenplay to a novel, as no one ever reads spec screenplays anyway. Dr. Ney now dreams of retiring so that he may enjoy a second career banging out sequels in his local Starbucks.

Since its release, Calamity Jane has been honored as a finalist in the 2016 Wishing Shelf Book Awards and the Rossetti Book Awards.

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Calamity Jane: How the West Began 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Ignore the historical inaccuracies, and the story is quite charming even if not a story of Calamity Jane. Starting in 1860, the then fifteen year old Martha Jane Canary arrived in Montana with her younger siblings in tow. Their life is a rough and tumble one, full of threats from the native populations disturbed by the western encroachment, the army’s expansion, the often questionable element that arrives to search for gold, and various characters who have left from east of the Mississippi after the outbreak of war. Starting a bit slowly, we see the angry young Martha take on every challenge, unbowed and will full will, and gains a reputation as well as friends from this fearlessness. With roving bandits terrorizing the community, when a friend is killed, Martha jumps into search mode, rallying friends and community together to find and stop the culprits, even resorting to vigilante style tactics until the culprits are brought to justice. Quickly the story grows feet and runs off in a wonderful portrayal of the ‘possible’ background of the woman who would travel with Wild Bill Hickock, fight against the Indian threats, and gain a place in Western American folklore. The writing was solid, and once the pacing issues were resolved, the story started to take flight. Intriguing and well-placed moments of history added to the story, as descriptions did make the story feel of its time. However, a quick search of Martha Jane Canary will reveal that it would be another 15 years or so before the nickname Calamity became her moniker, her parents were long dead before she moved herself and her siblings to Montana in 1868, and those years were spent working various jobs to maintain her household. Little moments, but things that when using an actual historical figure are easy enough to get right. Ignore the factual errors and you get a clever historic fiction that doesn’t rely on the persona of Calamity Jane, but on the development and story about the young Martha. I received an eBook copy of the title from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Lisa_Loves_Literature More than 1 year ago
I was very pleased, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I really do love historical fiction when it makes me more interested in a certain time period or historical figure that I'd not really thought a lot about in the past. This story is about, as you probably guessed, Calamity Jane, or Jane (Martha) Canary, her real name. The story was based on an autobiography that Jane had shared at one point in her life. This story talks about how she got the nickname, as well as how she might have grown up in the time period and place where she lived, Montana. The place she lived had been built up after a gold rush, but now the town is dying out because of all the gold having been found it seems. However there is crime going on, people getting beat up, or even murdered for the gold or cash that they have from their gold. You know, the wild west! Jane's family has been hard up since her father isn't able to work. Her mother has even resorted to prostitution in town to make money for the family, something that has caused Jane to be extremely embarrassed when she is in town. Jane meets a boy named Andrew and they become friends. She also goes to get a job herself, learning to be a Faro dealer in a saloon. When there is talk of a new gold find, everyone decides to pack up and move, including Jane and the Chos, who she works for. Because those out looking for gold will have it to spend on alcohol and gambling, so they will also make money there even without panning for gold themselves. This was a fun to read story, and really hard to put down as it kept you pulled into the story the whole time, and you didn't really have any down moments in the plot. It was a short story, less than 200 pages.
Boundlessbookreviews More than 1 year ago
If you know anything about American history then the name Calamity Jane has surfaced. I think I even learned about her in school. Her memoirs give a lot of light on her many adventures, but this book gives a little look at what her life could have been like in the beginning. Not much is known of that time that Calamity and her family are in the Goldfields of Montana and this book gives you a little guess of what her life may have been like. Calamity Jane is alone in a small town with her small sister and her neglectful parents. Shes bitter and decides to live up to her nickname Calamity. Soon enough shes well known around town. Bandits have been killing and hurting members of the community. Calamity is pretty sure she knows who is behind these acts. When a good friend is killed she uses her knowledge to help find the culprits and bring them to justice. As a history lover I fell in love with this book. The story is filled with a plethora of adventure and vividly depicts the realism of life back during the Civil War era. Calamity Jane's character is one that I loved. Shes a girl, but shes not afraid to be one of the boys. Shes rough and tough, but has a heart of gold. Honestly, when reading this book I had to do a little research. I've heard the name and some stories, but I didn't know much. This book was a work of fiction, but I can see it as truth. This book was written well. It had history, drama, and tons of action. It definitely kept me reading....Stormi