Summer Reading – a review by Joyce

Title: Ann Bassett: Colorado’s Cattle Queen
Author: Linda Wommack

Ann Bassett

Letters written by a tough pioneer woman in Northwest Colorado are woven into a riveting biography, Ann Bassett: Colorado’s Cattle Queen, by author Linda Wommack. Bassett’s true-life story describes her struggles to maintain her family’s cattle ranch, occasionally using dubious methods to manage her livestock and property.

Outlaws from the “Hole in the Wall Gang,” as well as others, occasionally sought refuge in the secluded Brown’s Park rangeland that Ann Bassett called home. Her life was enhanced and complicated by encounters and friendships with fugitives.

When Two Bar Ranch cattle baron, Ora Haley, boldly encroached on the area’s rangeland, Bassett was armed and ready to discourage his efforts. Her defiance escalated into personal outrage and revenge when Wyoming shootist Tom Horn, hired by Haley, gunned down Bassett’s fiance’, Matt Rash, and lifelong family friend, Isom Dart.

Author Linda Wommack’s diligent research preserves an important resource about cattle ranching on Colorado’s early open range, the challenges of frontier life for pioneers during Western Expansion, women in the west, and Colorado history. Photographs, public records, and faded images augment textual details and Ann Bassett’s written pieces.

An Epilogue end-piece is dedicated to debunking popular theories and conjecture about Ann Bassett’s encounters with the Sundance Kid. Author and historian Linda Wommack’s solid research preserves an important piece of American Western History while transporting the reader back in time to the Wild West. This biography is a historical gem and should not be missed.

— Joyce B. Lohse