Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Doc Holliday's Gone, by Jane Candia Coleman

This book is actually two stories in one book: Doc Holliday's Gone is about Doc Holliday's long-time woman-partner Kate. Though they never married, Kate loved him and stood by him throughout his famous gun-slinging career. But she herself was a woman with a past--and a future beyond Doc Holliday.

Mary Katherine Horony began life as a member of an aristocratic Hungarian family. Circumstances forced the family to move to America, and from there they were forced to survive as best they could. Mary Katherine went from aristocracy to prostitution, to being the partner of Doc Holliday, to restaurant owner, and twice married. She went by names such as Big-Nose Kate, Katie Elder, and finally Mrs. Cummings.

It was a moving illustration of just what women of the Old West had to do to survive.

The second story in the book, "Mrs. Slaughter," paralleled the first, but without the prostitution part. She was the child-bride of a cattle baron, and endured many of the same hardships as Katie Elder. They knew Wyatt and Morgan Earp, Billie the Kid, and Johnny Ringo.

Both women embodied the spirit of the west, and survival instincts that would still be admirable today.

Reviewed by Miriam, First Regional Library

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