Cowboys and Legends

Friend or Foe??

Cowgirl Legend Name and Date of Birth:

Born as Phoebe Ann Oakley Moses on August 13, 1860.  She became more famously known as Annie Oakley.

Marriage, Family, and Death:

Annie Oakley married Frank Butler on August 23, 1876.  They stayed faithful to each other, until Annie's death on November 3, 1926 from pernicious anemia.  Frank and Annie never had any children.

Work Experience:

Beginning in the spring of 1870, she was "bound out" to a local family to help care for their infant son, on the false promise of fifty cents a week and an education. The couple had originally wanted someone who could pump water, cook, and who was bigger. She spent about two years in near-slavery to them where she endured mental and physical abuse. She would often have to do boys' work.


Annie Oakley earned her reputation as a sharpshooter and exhibition shooter.  She earned a spot on the Buffalo Bills Wild West Show with her future husband, Frank in 1885.  She performed in Europe at the Paris Exhibition of 1889, she promoted the service of women in combat by offering the services of 50 women sharpshooters to help during the Spanish-American War, and she had a short career as an actress in a stage play called "The Western Girl."

5 Interesting Facts:

  1. Annie Oakley and Frank Butler were in a car severe accident in 1922 that forced her to wear a steel brace on her right leg.
  2. Annie Oakley set records into her sixties and simultaneously fought for woman's rights. She attempted to make comeback and intended to star in a feature-length silent movie. and in 1922 shooting contest in Pinehurst, NC at the age of 62.  
  3. Annie was the sixth of nine children in her family.
  4. Annie Oakley was known as "Miss Annie Oakley", "Little Sure Shot", "Watanya Cicilla", "Phoebe Anne Oakley", "Mrs. Annie Oakley", "Mrs. Annie Butler" and "Mrs. Frank Butler"
  5. Annie Oakley's most famous trick was repeatedly splitting a playing card on edge and putting several more holes in it before it could touch the ground, while using a .22 caliber rifle.

Cowgirl Legend Name and Date of Birth

Born as Martha Jane Cannary on May 1, 1852.  She became more famously known as Calamity Jane.  

Marriage, Family, and Death:

Calamity Jane married the Texan Clinton Burke in 1885.  In 1887, she had a daughter named Jane, who was given to foster parents and then she had another one later.  Calamity Jane died on August 1, 1903 from alcoholism.  

Work Experience:

Growing up, Calamity Jane took whatever jobs she could to provide for her large family. She worked as a dishwasher, cook, waitress, dance-hall girl, nurse, and an ox team driver. In 1874, she found work as a scout at Fort Russell.   At this time, she also began her on-and-off employment as a prostitute at the Fort Laramie Three-Mile Hog Ranch.  


Calamity Jane earned her reputation as a sharpshooter, prospector, rowdy prostitute, gambler, and a heavy drinker.  Her unusual style and ability to master jobs traditionally done by men made her very popular and earned her the handle that became legend: Calamity Jane. Tales of her adventures published in novels in the East and helped make her a household name across the country.

5 Interesting Facts:

  1. Calamity Jane was the oldest of six children.  She had two brothers and three sisters.
  2. Calamity Jane received very little or no formal education, which made her illiterate.  
  3. Calamity Jane claimed that following Wild Bill Hickok's death, she went after his murderer, with a meat cleaver, having left her guns at her residence in the excitement of the moment, but later was found to have never actually confronted him.
  4. Calamity Jane helped save numerous passengers in an overland stagecoach by diverting several Plains Indians who were trying to pursue it. The driver was killed and Jane took over the reins and drove the stagecoach on  to its destination at Deadwood.  
  5. Calamity Jane helped to care for the victims of a smallpox epidemic in the Deadwood area.   


"Famous Cowboys and Cowboy Names." - Legends of the Old West. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2015.

"American Experience: TV's Most-watched History Series." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.

"Annie Oakley." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.

Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Calamity Jane Biography." N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2015.

"Spartacus Educational." Spartacus Educational. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2015. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2015.

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