Text & Drawings by Floyd D.P. Oydegaard

Women Packin' Pistols?

Yep! There were a few of these types known to be handy with the use of the firearm. Annie Oakley could shoot as well as Mr. Hickok and maybe a trifle better. Driving stagecoaches gave Charlotte "Charley" Parkhurst and Martha "Calamity" Jane Cannary the ability to handle the "firestick" with no trepidation. Other gun-toting "ladies" were Myra Belle "Starr" Shirley and Pearl Hart. There ought to be a whole book dedicated to "How To Be A Pistolera" with a woman's guide to costume, and the other important facts laid out in this manuscript. Suffice it to say that there were a few, and they mostly dressed as "proper ladies": in dresses with all the multiple layers a true lady seems to bury her limbs and torso under. Some photographs have survived that have them in men's clothing. Fact is there are even accounts of women fighting in the Civil War as men, and Charley Parkhurst fooled many of her barroom buddies. So it's up to the "lady" if she wears pants or a skirt, but this author can not be held responsible for the unseemly conduct that may be perpetrated against her!

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