Burning the Breeze
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In the middle of the Great Depression, Montana native Julia Bennett arrived in New York City with no money and an audacious business plan: to identify and visit easterners who could afford to spend their summers at her brand new dude ranch near Ennis, Montana. Julia, a big-game hunter whom friends described as “a clever shot with both rifle and shotgun,” flouted gender conventions to build guest ranches in Montana and Arizona that attracted world-renowned entertainers and artists.
Bennett’s entrepreneurship, however, was not a new family development. During the Civil War, her widowed grandmother and her seven-year-old daughter—Bennett’s mother—set out from Missouri on a ten-month journey with little more than a yoke of oxen, a covered wagon, and the clothes on their backs. They faced countless heartbreaks and obstacles as they struggled to build a new life in the Montana Territory.
Burning the Breeze is the story of three generations of women and their intrepid efforts to succeed in the American West. Excerpts from diaries, letters, and scrapbooks, along with rare family photos, help bring their vibrant personalities to life.