JOHN SAMMON'S BOOKS
CALAMITY JANE MEETS DEADWOOD DICK
Of all the famous characters of the Old West none was more complex a personality than Calamity Jane.She possessed a kaleidoscope of weaknesses and strengths.Sometimes a prostitute, often a drunk, a boaster, a show-off, self-destructive, Calamity Jane also had raw courage and a heart of gold, always ready to nurse the sick or help an underdog.She was as tough as a nail.Calamity alternated between being a man and a woman but not for sexual reasons. Born female she was unwilling to be a mere woman in an age of men. It was simply more fun for her to be like a man than it was to cook, clean and bear children.She wanted respect. She wanted to be one of the boys.Calamity Jane was one of the country’s first feminists.She adopted the guise of a man wearing men’s clothing, the buckskins of a frontiersman, tailored to fit her diminutive size. She could shoot, spit tobacco juice, curse a blue streak, drive a wagon as a teamster or serve as a scout in the Indian Wars for the U.S. Army----as good as any man.Above all Calamity Jane fought all her adult life against a clawing inferiority complex, a result of humble beginnings as a child born Martha Jane Canary on a hard-scrabble farm in Missouri. Jane never learned to read or write but she was determined to be somebody people would remember. She worked endlessly and obsessively to create her own fame among the hard-cases of the frontier.