Heather Blanton is Here to talk Burning Dress Ranch…there are prizes!

Welcome to Burning Dress Ranch!

Heather BantonBy Heather Blanton

Sometime last year, I heard a news story about women gathering together to burn their wedding dresses to celebrate their divorces. I felt so sorry for these ladies. You could tell they were still angry and hurt. I didn’t think burning their gowns was much of a solution to soothing bitter hearts. At least, not in the long run.

Then what was?

My brain started turning. I write Westerns. How could that help women? I played what-if. What if there was a ranch run by women? And what if this place somehow facilitated healing? And what if the ranch owner was—AVOIDING A SPOILER HERE—let’s just say, special?

The first thing I had to know for sure—could women REALLY run a ranch in the Old West? I mean, come on, that’s kind of a man’s world, right?

Wrong. There are several historical examples of women running successful ranches, but only one that I could find where women did the same work as the men.

Eastern Montana is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful and lonely places in the US. It is not an area for the faint of heart. The weather, the wide-open spaces, the solitude…it’s the kind of place that makes you or breaks you.

Which is why the story of fiery redheads May, Myrtle, and Mabel Buckley is all the more remarkable.

When Franklin and Susannah Buckley started having children, surely they hoped for boys. After all, farming in the Dakotas and ranching in Montana was man’s work. But the Buckley daughters were born for this land. Franklin was smart enough to know it…or perhaps his precocious, fearless, ambitious daughters gave him no choice. They bloomed on those prairies like wildflowers after a snowy winter. Their father’s ranch hands taught the girls to ride, rope, shoot, brand, round up, even break broncs. The cowboys called them, with affection, the Red Yearlings.

Confident in his daughters’ abilities, Franklin turned his 160-acre ranch in Terry, Montana over to the girls. This freed him up to manage the farm in North Dakota, tend to other business ventures, and serve as a state representative.

In 1914, neighbor and friend Evelyn Cameron photographed the girls working and playing on the ranch. Cameron wrote an article about Montana cowgirls and featured the feisty ranching sisters doing what they did best. While this article spread their fame to Europe, the girls had already been fielding invitations from Wild West shows and even President Roosevelt. Turned ’em all down flat. May, Myrtle, and Mabel were ranchers. The profession was no game to them. The most play-acting they did was posing for the now famous and very collectible Cameron photos.

So, a female-run ranch was not only plausible, it was historical fact.

And Burning Dress Ranch was born. It is a place where hurting, broken women can go and learn a trade, rebuild their confidence, come to believe in themselves. Some will even get second chances at romance. But true healing and happiness come when they give their hearts to the Lord.

Then, where does the burning dress come in? And why does Miss Sally seem to have so many special gifts? I’ll let you read A Distant Heart (Burning Dress Ranch Book 1) to find out!

So, I’m no feminist, but I believe women are great at doing what needs to be done. Do you know any women like this? The old pioneer stock? I’d love to hear!


Comment for your chance to win an ebook (5) and one winner gets a $10 Amazon gift card!

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59 thoughts on “Heather Blanton is Here to talk Burning Dress Ranch…there are prizes!”

  1. Good morning Heather. Welcome to the P & P. I loved your blog, I can tell this books is funny, rich and Inspiring all the same. What an interesting story of the Red Yearlings.
    You have a blessed day.

  2. My grandma was one of the hardest working women I have ever known. She could go through the tobacco fields faster than anyone, then come back and help others. Make a meal for everyone. Can, freeze, and put up all kinds of food. Keep house, collect the eggs, slop the hog, and anything else on the farm. She made her own clothing on a Singer treadle–she could make it sew fast. No pun intended. And she made so many quilts by hand. I’m so blessed to have many. I have one of her aprons, too.

    I miss her. She taught me to make biscuits and cornbread, snap beans and shell peas, and so much more.

  3. Last year, I read a fascinating book (Letters of a Woman Homesteader) written by a very independent woman, Elinore Pruitt Stewart, in the 1800’s. At the death of her husband in Denver, she takes her young daughter and goes to Wyoming to homestead. Although she becomes a rancher’s housekeeper and eventually marries him, she is determined to have her own separate homestead and does. She also rides out alone and does what she wants. Indomitable spirits like this helped build the West.

    • Janice, I am going to read that book! It sounds a lot like Isabella Bird’s story–the traveling the West alone. Honestly, I can’t imagine the courage and fortitude it took to heat out on your own like that. Sooooo intriguing!

  4. Sounds wonderful! Our local Historical library (I’m in Texas), had an actual diary of a woman who came West – fascinating reading – but you had to read between the lines, because so many things (like pregnancy) weren’t discussed. Your book sounds great.

    • There are several books containing the letters of women who settled South Dakota that I so enjoyed reading–and then I found out one of the editors changed later editions to be politically correct. That made me so angry because the whole context changes once you start doing that. Reading between the lines is, indeed, hard enough in the first place without monkeying around with the words. Thank you for reading!

  5. Good morning! This sounds like my kind of book! I love strong women and especially those of the Wild West! I’ve yet to read one of your books and a giveaway is an awesome way to find a new author to add to my go to authors list!

  6. Good morning beautiful! I absolutely love this concept in a story! Original and undoubtedly fun, the way you write lol. Looking forward to reading another grand adventure from you!

  7. Your pictures are fantastic! The Evelyn Cameron gallery in Terry, Montana speaks West loud and clear. It is a mesmerizing experience to spend hours in her gallery. What an amazing woman! My great aunt raised 6 kids on a farm in North Dakota. Her husband died at the age of 32. They worked and lived on the farm until each one died. No one married. My mom would say it was because they all had to work so hard to keep the farm productive. Thank you for your post today. I’ll check out your books too.

  8. Welcome Heather. Oh but this is a wonderful post. I need to go and find out more about these women. Thanks for sharing. My great grandmother was born Cherokee and married a white man. They lived on a farm in Ohio and she went through many challenges living in a white mans world. She had four daughters and they all helped around the farm and in the home. Great Grandma was a no nonsense woman and that is how she lived her life and taught her girls to be. She was a hard worker. Once when we went to visit, she was canning and she didnt stop just because we arrived, NO, the two of us girls and mom helped her in the kitchen while my three brothers went outside and helped Great Grandpa on the farm.. My grandmother carried her moms traits with her and my mom was the same. The difference was my mom was a Christian and it showed in all she did with other people. So mom was a hard worker also but also led by the Holy Spirit and a very happy woman who shared her life with everyone. As I was growing up I always wanted to be like my Great Grandma and my mom. I feel like I got the best of both worlds. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

    • Lori, thanks for sharing that. My great grandma was a Cherokee, too, and she was rather austere, I’ve been told. And, yes, back then, things were different. When family showed up, they pitched in. Everybody did what needed doing!

      • Oh growing up on a farm we all had multiple chores. And mom was good at changing them up among the five of us kids. She rode a lot also and she was a red head. At times it would show. No one messed with Patty Dimmick and her family or else. Her temper was not one that anyone wanted to deliberately get on the wrong side of. LOL Even the coyotes in the area knew better than to bother the Dimmick Farm. LOL She was a crack shot

  9. Hey, Heather! Fancy meeting you here! You already know I love your books, and this one especially resonated with me!! I’m impatiently waiting for the next one in the series!!!

  10. Heather, I love the way the reason behind the ranch I think we really need several more of these ranches (in real life). I think the book sounds just so good and I really would love to read and review a print copy can’t do ebook due to battling a disease called RSD and it is now throughout my body so my fingers are swollen and crippled. So glad that you came to Petticoats and Pistols to tell us about your books.

  11. I found this bit of history fascinating. I’d love to learn more about these sisters. I want to read your story, too. One of my sisters is a woman who definitely could have held her own in the Old West. She lives alone in the country on several acres and takes care of her animals and land on her own in addition to her day job in town. She rides, shoots and works harder than most of the men I know.

  12. The Buckley Sisters were special women. I had heard of women ranchers in Texas, but Montana is another thing all together. It is a much harder environment to survive and thrive in. I will definitely have to look up more information on them. Women are so much more capable and resilient than we are given credit for. Riding the range and taking care of a herd is hard work.
    But while the men did that, the women were at home having and raising children, tending a garden and preserving food for the winter, caring for the farm animals, laundry, sewing, housework, fixing meals for the family and sometimes the hands, and whatever else needed doing. They also helped with ranch work (branding, haying, etc) when necessary. I am sure many of them would have liked to change places with their husbands every so often. It took tough women to survive. If they could manage the home chores, they could certainly manage a ranch given the opportunity.

    Thank you so much for an interesting post. Your Burning Dress Ranch series sounds like a winner. I look forward to reading it. Stay safe and healthy.

  13. What a great and informative post! I am not a feminist, either, but I do believe that women are just as capable as men, especially when they have to step up to do what needs to be done. My grandmothers were definitely hard workers. One pretty much raised a large family on her own. I am glad that the Buckley Sisters remained true to their themselves and their calling as ranchers.

  14. Hey Heather! Gotta love those fiery redheads of which I’m one. The Lord has placed many strong women in my life. I’m grateful for each one.

    Happy Friday!

  15. Book sounds really interesting
    My Grandmother was one of the pioneer-type ladies who ranched in Colorado. I remember her as never sitting down-she was always busy doing what needed to be done.
    I guess I learned my work ethic from her early on- It was always a reminder of “Get your chores done, then you can play”

  16. Thank you for sharing about the 3 sisters! Your book sounds like a great read and the book cover is Stunning, I Love it. Have a Great weekend and stay safe. God Bless you and your family. (not entering the giveaway, I don’t read ebooks, but Thank you)

  17. Thank you for sharing. My Mom reminds me of the rough stock of a woman to get things done. She was born and raised in West Virginia 82 years ago. She grew up using an out house as well as no electricity until she was in high school. She came to Toledo after graduating from high school. My grandmother came with her. After my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, my Mom would give her morphine injections as well as being her caregiver. She worked as a ward clerk at a hospital as well. She was president of mother’s club, PTA and a room mother when I was in school. She was always on the go. She has sold Avon for 55 years. Thank you for letting me share about my Mom.

  18. Hi, Heather! Loved reading about the Red Yearlings! Your Burning Dress Ranch series sounds wonderful, and I can’t wait to read book #1 A Distant Heart with the beautiful cover!

  19. My grandparents on my mom side we’re pretty much city people, but I do remember my grandmother canning and such. And in my retirement my grandfather tapped his trees to make maple syrup!
    The family on my dad side or more mountain folks, but I really don’t know much about them. His dad was raised in the hills of Virginia.

  20. You asked if we knew any “modern” day women with the same spirit as these women. My Grandmother was married at 14 (not unusual at that time). Of course, not knowing her at that time due to not being born yet, I related to the stories about her. I don’t think there was anything she could not do. She picked cotton and peanuts, she canned from her garden, she cooked 3 meals a day, she babysat her Granddaughter after she was born. I could go on and on about her capabilities but won’t bore you. Suffice it to say, she was a true pioneer lady.

    This book is one I will be watching for. What a unique concept. Right up my alley.

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