Women played a vital and, until recently, frequently overlooked role in the settlement of the American West. They were not only mothers, schoolteachers, and nurses, but also cowgirls, outlaws, and ranchers. Mary Rak's career as a ranchwoman, and eventually an author, began in 1919, when she and her husband Charles Lukeman Rak purchased a 22,000-acre spread fifty miles north of Douglas, Arizona. She went on to recount her struggle to learn the cattle business and cope with the numerous problems of life on an isolated ranch.The new introduction to this rangeland classic was written by the late Sandra L. Myres. Her research into the lives and writings of ranchwomen provides an excellent background for understanding Mary Rak and her work.