The Montana Frontier: One Woman's West
This true story of a Victorian-era young woman who follows her husband to a small town with the improbable name of Gilt Edge, Montana, will remind readers of Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose, the classic novel of a woman's life in the Mountain West. As a young girl, Lillian Weston, the author's grandmother, aspired to be a concert pianist. However, as a young woman in turn-of-the-century New York, she became a newspaper columnist. Her marriage to Frank Hazen took her west in 1899, ending her career as a newspaperwoman. She turned her writing skills to journals, diaries, stories, and poems, which traced her family's life on a frontier that was no longer unspoiled.
The Hazens endured brutal winters and dry summers and endeavored to raise cattle and chickens by trial and error. Lillian was an assiduous diarist who included details of her turbulent marriage challenged by Frank's bad business deals. The details of birth control and child rearing, gambling and prostitution, education and health care are all part of this story, offering glimpses into everyday life that often go unreported in the larger story of western expansion.