Cattle Kate is the only woman ever lynched as a cattlerustler. History called it “range-land justice” when she was strung up inWyoming Territory on July 20, 1889, tarring her as a dirty thief and a filthywhore.
But history was wrong. It was all a lie.
Her real name was Ella Watson.She wasn’t a rustler. She wasn’t a whore. And she’d never been called CattleKate until she was dead and they needed an excuse. She was really a twenty-nine-year-oldimmigrant homesteader, lynched along with her husband by her rich and powerfulcattle-baron neighbors, who wanted her land and its precious water rights. Somepeople knew the truth from the start. Their voices were drowned out by theall-powerful Wyoming Stock Growers Association. And those who dared speak out—includingthe eyewitnesses to the hangings—either disappeared or mysteriously died. Therewas no one left to testify against the vigilantes when the case eventually cameto trial. Her six killers walked away scot-free. But the legend was strongerthan the truth. For over a century, newspapers, magazines, books, and movies spreadher ugly legacy.
Now, on the 125th anniversary of her murder, the real Ellacomes alive in Cattle Kate to tellher heartbreaking story. Jana Bommersbach’s debut novel bares a legend centralto the western experience.