Gr 5-9-This collection of biographies attempts to tie together the women featured by their connection of having either been born in or traveled to the American West in the 19th century. The subjects, including Omaha Indian sisters Susette and Susan LaFlesche and Katherine Ryan (aka Klondike Kate), are indeed noteworthy for their accomplishments. Former slave Biddy Mason became a prominent real-estate owner in Los Angeles and one of the first African-American women to own land in California. Mary McGladery Tape, a Chinese immigrant, fought school segregation in San Francisco. Others, however, like the actress Lotta Crabtree, grew up in the West but made their mark all over the country. Ketchum strives to show how the still-forming West shaped these people, but sometimes this attempt is strained. The women shine without the connection. The author notes in the prologue that she researched her subjects' diaries and letters, and the effort shows in the depth of characterization. Black-and-white photos add an extra dimension to their stories. A chapter on their legacies is appended. For a more wide-ranging collection, try Judy Alter's Extraordinary Women of the American West (Children's, 1999).-Carol Fazioli, formerly at The Brearley School, New York City Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.