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No Life for a Lady (Women of the West) Paperback – August 1, 1977


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No Life for a Lady (Women of the West) + Desert Wife + One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd
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Product Details

  • Series: Women of the West
  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books; 3rd Printing edition (August 1, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803258682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803258686
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 27 customer reviews
The book is made up of anticdotes all woven together in a true tale of vivid descriptions.
Little Tex
Well written with many interesting details and descriptions of life as a female ranch hand in the early 20th century in New Mexico.
PlumpPig
I recommend this book to anyone looking for some good stories, and anyone interested in the history of the west.
S. Albertson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am from the part of New Mexico that Agnes Morley writes about. My parents live in a canyon approximately 30 miles from the Morley homestead. This book tells it like it was and anyone living in Magdalena, Datil, or Pietown today can tell you so. Morley conveys a deep affection for the land and an independence of spirit that still holds true in the area today. It made me proud of my community to read her book. It was also fun reading some of the local history from a first-hand account. I particularly enjoyed Morley's portrayal of the lawyer Elfego Baca, who is a legendary figure in Socorro County. His reputation suffers quite a bit at her hands! The only aspect of local history that I found conspicuously absent from her book was any discussion of the local mining industry. Mining played as great a role in the area as ranching did at the time. I suppose it indicates that the miners and ranchers didn't mix much. Still, it seems odd that she doesn't even mention it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Albertson on April 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
Mrs. Cleaveland has a friendly style of writing that makes it seem as if she is talking to you across a cup of coffee. This is an honest rendition of ranch life before the fence and automobile. The book explains why and how ranchers did what they did. It describes the wiles of cow and horse which were the constant focus of the rancher and all ranch hands. Growing up on a ranch was a job for everone regardless of age or sex, and if you earned respect, you got it. I recommend this book to anyone looking for some good stories, and anyone interested in the history of the west.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Socialcomment on July 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
Agnes Morley was the daughter of a Civil War vet who went home to Iowa and got an engineering degree that led to his becoming a premier engineer for the Santa Fe R.R. He was there when the race took place to be first over Raton Pass and also through the Royal Gorge (where Bat Masterson organized a posse that unsuccessfully held off the Denver and Rio Grande RR as I recall with members of the Dodge City fraternity that included Doc Holliday, Ben Thompson and other notable gunfighers and even Eddie Foy, later a great comedian, who went along for the excitement)all typical of the early days of railroading in the West. Morley was also an associate of the New Mexico participants in the Colfax County War in New Mexico, a parallel to the Lincoln County War that made Billy the Kid famous. Equally famous was Clay Allison, a wild man of the West who was a principal character of the War, which was centered in the vicinity of Cimarron, New Mexico. Agnes's father died in Mexico while pushing the railroad from Benson, Arizona to Guamas, Mexico. He was either accidentally shot in taking a rifle from his buggie, or as his grandon thought, was murdered as part of a plot relating to railroad competition. After his death his strong wife took over the rearing of their children. She managed the Cimarron newspaper that irritated Clay Allison, and he burned it out one night. In the aftermath he learned that a widdy woman ran it, helped set it back up, stating that he didn't make war on women. She later settled on the large range that her husband had aquired north of the present small town of Datil. The adventures there of her family are classics of Western experience that are not exactly things of the past.Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By NANCY R DEUEL on January 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
The title is misleading, as she truly must have been a great lady. This is a classic memoir by a woman who grew up in 19th-century New Mexico, and worked and rode side-by-side with the men, taking the full responsibilities and knocks of a hard life and keeping a great sense of humor through it all. The only concession to her gender is that she apparently rode sidesaddle, remarkably enough!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
An unusual view of ranch life as presented by a well written and humourous female author. They say truth is stranger than fiction, and in this case it certainly is. After you've read the book, next time you're driving through New Mexico stop in Datil for a cup of coffee and talk to the locals, it's an interesting comparison of past and present. A jolly spiffing read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By dnawalters@yahoo.com on April 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was very much impressed by the truthfulness of this book on how life REALLY was - not what Hollywood portrays. Life was difficult but had its humor also. Neighbors were neighbors and even if they were miles and miles away, you could count on them.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kim Wagner on December 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
I work for a school that just purchased 600 acres of the ranch described in this book. The area IS as beautiful as she describes, is as rugged and the people are just as hard-working and caring.
I found the book to be a great story. She says she is just a story-teller, but what a good one! It makes the past come alive. My husband and I read parts of it out loud, while camping in the very ranch she describes.
WARNING! Once you start, it is hard to put down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Strawgold VINE VOICE on October 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Maybe it wasn't "No Life For A Lady" but many great ladies lived it. Some of them, like my own mother, even managed to hang on to the majority of their original principles while doing so, no easy feat in itself, considering the never-ending work that began before dawn and ended after dark each and every day; and the rough environment that swirled around them. Practicality ruled; convention took a back seat every day. In her biography, "Miss Agnes" sounds like a curious mix of two - the wild and exotic freedom allowed her by the remote area of her home, yet prudently sent away for a proper education, which served her well. Most children living at that time and in those remote areas were not so fortunate.

Her father was a brilliant engineer for the Santa Fe Railroad, working in the right profession, at the right place at the right time. The Railroads were engaged in a headlong, competitive quest to connect the east and the west, unstoppable. His talent was combined with ambition, and he met the challenge of taking the rails over the Raton Pass in what was felt at the time to be an impossible achievement due to the grade involved. He was also capable of keeping his family close to him while his work went on.

Her mother, on the other hand, was a lady who thought a man would always handle things for her. That too, was something that "became a lady", although it left her ill-equipped for tragedy; and when she lost him in the prime of his life, she was left without a rudder, but with a handsome inheritance, and it wasn't long before another man was only too happy to "take care of her" but without the same motives.
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