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Dora DuFran

Martha Maxwell

Jeannette Rankin

Nancy Russell

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Dora DuFran
Entrepreneur and Prominent Socialite
Deadwood, South Dakota

The name Calamity Jane brings to mind an iconic character of the American West. Accounts of Calamity-whose real name was Martha Canary-are legion and she has achieved mythical status in the lore of the frontier. She lived and traveled throughout Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas from 1867 to 1903, during some of the West's wildest days. The voracious Victorian press sensationalized her activities, and as a flamboyant character in popular dime novels, Calamity Jane's legend grew until the person behind the character all but disappeared.
Who better to give us insights about the real story than madam Dora DuFran, a Black Hills pioneer, entrepreneur and close friend of Calamity's. Ms. DuFran built a successful red light business during the rambunctious early days of the western frontier in Deadwood, South Dakota, and has a unique perspective about how wild it really was. Ms. DuFran knows better than anyone the life of Martha Canary and Calamity Jane, two quite different women, one legendary, one all but forgotten.

This is a 45 minute - 1 hour program presented in first person with time for questions and discussion.

"It's easy for a woman to be good who has been brought up with every protection from the evils of the world and with good associates. Martha wasn't that lucky. She was a product of the wild and woolly west. She knew better than anyone where she made her mistakes, and she didn't rate her virtues as highly as her friends did".
Dora DuFran 1928

"I'm the real Calamity Jane. I'm a howling coyote from Bitter Creek, and the further up you go, the bitterer it gets, and I'm from the head end. Now apologize before I shoot the toes off your dammed feet"!

Calamity Jane's response when someone questioned her identity during a wild west show.