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Tucson Weekly Frontier Feminism

Jane Coleman tells the other half of the tale of taming The West.

By Emil Franzi

DECEMBER 1, 1997:  JANE CANDIA COLEMAN was born and raised in Pennsylvania, but was always a real Westerner at heart. Fortunately, she's also a born storyteller, and Moving On is a collection of some of her best work. Two of these stories--"Lou" and "Are You Coming Back, Phin Montana?"--have already won Spur Awards from the Western Writer's of America. Moving On has been nominated for both a Western Heritage Award and a Pulitzer Prize.

Coleman shows both the frontier and current West through a host of female characters that've been ignored by many Western writers. She discusses subjects and people rarely thought of until recently, from inter-racial marriage on the frontier to the actions of the widows of those killed in those popularized gunfights. And she represents a breed of genuine feminism that has nothing to do with "politically correct," to be read with enjoyment by the most macho followers of Louis L'Amour. In fact, many of these stories first appeared in Louis L'Amour Western Magazine. Her ladies are strong characters, the kind that kill their own snakes.

Coleman is also the author of the historical novel Doc Holliday's Woman, a work about Big Nosed Kate that sheds considerable light on not only her life, but on those she came in contact with, specifically the Earp clan.

Coleman lives in eastern Cochise County, with the nearest mailbox at Rodeo, Mew Mexico. That doesn't quite qualify her as a local author, but then you never know what the City of Tucson has on a secret annexation map. That she's one of the more relevant writers in Southern Arizona is without question.

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