Timothy Olyphant!!  I don’t have to give you a long story explaining why Timothy Olyphant is ridin’ ramrod today.  And ya’ll don’t want to listen to me jawin’ about my life.  You just want to swig your coffee and stare deep into those mesmerizing eyes. I’ll keep the story short. I saw him. He was wearin’ a cowboy hat. He’s HAWT! Enjoy!



So from keepin’ the peace as Seth Bullock on the wild and wooly streets of Deadwood and pinnin’ on the badge of Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens to Timothy Olyphant I say SAAAA-LUTE!! 






Every good Cookie on any cattle drive knew how to make a cowboy’s favorite…Doughnuts! So let’s kick up our heels! It’s Friday!  Below is an original 19th Century recipe for doughnuts. And, in case you’re not feedin’ a slew of cowboys (sorry for your misfortune) I included a recipe from my Ma!

The cowboy? Oh he’s got nothin’ to do with doughnuts. He’s just a bit of sugar on top to keep ya smilin’ in the saddle! Land sakes, ya’ll get to cookin’ I need find a cold creek to dunk in!


14 cups flour, sifted

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1⁄2 tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or lemon peel, or a combination of any of these

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

1 tsp. butter, melted

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and drop in the egg. Pour half of the milk around the outside of the flour. Stir the mixture to incorporate the egg and then add the butter. Continue to stir and add the remaining milk. The amount of milk you add will depend upon the flour you use. As you mix, the dough should become firm enough to roll. Do not over mix the dough or it will become tough.

Lightly dust the rolling surface and roll out part of the dough into about one-quarter inch thick. Cut with a doughnut cutter or shape into crullers.

Heat the oil in a deep pot and add enough shortening so the doughnuts will float. The oil should be between 350-375°F. Gently drop the doughnuts into the fat and allow to rise, then flip and cook for about one-to-two minutes longer.

Remove to paper towels and allow to cool. Frost with your favorite topping or dip into powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar.

Doughnuts (Ma’s recipe)

3 eggs                                              1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup sugar                                      3 1/2 cups flour

2 Tablespoons shortening                1 cup milk

3 teaspoons baking powder             1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1 teaspoon salt

Beat eggs until very light, beat in sugar then add melted shortening. Sift baking powder, salt and nutmeg with 1 cup flour and stir into first mixture alternately with milk. Add lemon extract and just enough flour to make a very soft dough. Chill dough. Roll out 3/4 inches thick on a lightly floured board. Cut using doughnut cutter (or even the top of a glass and fashion a hole in the center).  Fry in oil heated to 360 to 370 degrees (tend while frying), and drain on unglazed paper. If you don’t have a thermometer test oil with a small piece of dough. Then top with your favorite toppings!




Thank you all for makin’ this a rip snortin’ time around the campfire!! I hope you all join me again next Wednesday for the Western Round-Up! I waited ’til Cookie fell asleep and snatched his hat and the winner of A PINCH OF NAUGHTY is…


I’m just tickled plum to death for ya Jenn! Just hold tight and I’ll be sending you a message to get all the information so we can get Cyrus and Eleanor right out to ya!!

Thanks again ya’ll!! You sure made this cowgirl’s day!


Saddle up readers for the first Wednesday Western Round-Up!  Every Wednesday I’ll be featuring two or three Westerns (current releases or classics) that I’d recommend for any trail! And this week Cookie will be stickin’ his hand back in the hat for a special giveaway, so read to the end to see how to get your name in the hat!

Now, don’t misunderstand I’m not a professional reviewer, but if I had saddles to give away I’d give each of these authors FIVE.  My comments appear after the official book blurb. Enough of my jawin’ here’s the good stuff!


Two men. One woman. A land that demanded courage–or death…                            

He was a man etched by the desert’s howling winds, a big, broad-shouldered man who knew the ways of the Apache and ways of staying alive. She was a woman raising a young son on her own on a remote Arizona ranch. And between Hondo Lane and Angie Lowe was the warrior Vittoro, whose people were preparing to rise against the white men. Now the pioneer woman, the gunman, and the Apache warrior are caught in a drama of love, war, and honor.

I had to start with one from the master of Westerns, Louis L’Amour. And HONDO? Big SIGH! I’d not only say this is one of my favorite Westerns, but one of my favorite Western romances.  The book blurb describes Hondo to a T. He enters the pages carved from the land he travels. A true man of the West. And his dog Sam is just as weather beatin’ and as much a loner as the man he follows. Angie Lowe is a strong woman alone and raising her son in a harsh land after her husband runs-off. She’s a self-sufficient Western woman and isn’t looking for a man to save her, but doggonit it sure is nice when a man tough enough to do the job comes along. :o)  And after the kiss Hondo plants on her as he’s leaving, you bet your boots he crossed her mind long after his horse disappeared into the distance. He did his share of thinking about her, too. Which was really one of the most poignant things about this book is how through everything they cross each others minds (and hearts).

Of course, in true L’Amour fashion there’s plenty of action, fistfights, gunfights and a battle between the U.S. Army and the Apaches.  But for me it was made all the better for the personal stories of survival for both Hondo and Angie and the love story woven throughout.

Oh! And the scenes with Hondo and Angie’s son are priceless!

All right, I’m going to list a few Louis L’Amour books I would recommend.  This isn’t even a grain of sand in the desert that is Louis L’Amour’s collection.  So post your favorite!


HONDO (Buy through Amazon)              HONDO (Buy through Barnes & Noble)



Eleanor Lacey’s husband is as dead as their sexless marriage. While she waits for the law to decide if she’s widowed or divorced, she leaves scandal in Connecticut behind and flees to Texas to begin anew. But she needs money—fast. What better way to earn her grubstake, than by cooking meals for the richest rancher in the state?

Cyrus Burke works hard for every penny he makes and prides himself on knowing where to cut costs. He doesn’t want a wife cluttering up his life. His housekeepers are good enough—round the clock employees tending his sexual appetite, too. Mrs. Lacey applies for the position and looks like a promising candidate. Delicious in fact, as smooth and creamy as a tasty tart.

When Eleanor and Cyrus come together, it’s a recipe for hot love—take one wickedly willful widow and one arrogantly masterful man, add a dash of decadent desire, a pinch of sizzling naughty, and turn up the fire.

Gem is an author who never disappoints, and A PINCH OF NAUGHTY is no exception. Cyrus is a hawt cowboy hero, but he’s also intelligent and earned everything the hard way. His strength of will is what earns the respect of others (or terrifies them).  And when he’s not imposing his will, he’s charming your bloomers off. Eleanor is the perfect Eastern born heroine to light a fire under Cyrus’ boots. She’s every bit as intelligent, stubborn, determined and not afraid of earning her own way. Like Angie, in HONDO, Eleanor doesn’t need a man to save her, but she’s not a fool who won’t accept some help when it comes in the form of a tall drink of water cowboy. :o)  Oh, and just so you know, the love scenes are hotter than Eleanor’s oven!

Don’t forget Gem’s Eclipse Series! They’re all treasures for sure. I have to give a special hoot and holler for PERFECT STRANGERS. A fabulous story from beginning to end with characters you won’t forget.

Others in the Eclipse Heat Series: QUINCY’S WOMAN and FIVE CARD STUD with BREED TRUE and WOLF’S TENDER coming soon.

PINCH OF NAUGHTY (Buy through Ellora’s Cave)    PINCH OF NAUGHTY (Buy through Amazon)   PINCH OF NAUGHTY (Buy through Barnes and Noble)



Timothy Olyphant as Seth Bullock

Timothy Olyphant brought the legend of Sheriff Seth Bullock to life in HBO’s series “Deadwood.” But the historian in me had to know about the real Seth Bullock. How much of Olyphant’s character was real and how much was HBO? Who I found far surpassed any fictional hero, with a story any writer would sell their best horse to create.

So grab another plate of Cookie’s stew, if you’ve got a cast iron stomach, and gather ‘round the campfire for the Western legend, Seth Bullock.

Seth Bullock was born in Ontario Canada, in 1847, to a British military officer and his Scottish wife. Always at odds with his strict father, Bullock moved to Helena, Montana at the age of 18. He developed an instant interest in Montana politics and by 1871 was elected to the Territorial senate. But after a few years in Montana, Seth grew bored and he and his business partner, Sol Star, headed out looking for adventure in 1876.

Seth and Sol

For someone looking for adventure, Deadwood aimed to please. Within a day of Bullock’s arrival a man named Jack McCall gunned down the legendary Wild Bill Hickok in the No. 10 Saloon. Just hours after Hickok’s murder a Mexican bandit rode through the streets of Deadwood brandishing a severed Indian head. The sheer number and ferocity of violent acts convinced Bullock of Deadwood’s need for law and order. Within a month Seth Bullock became the standing sheriff of Deadwood. He became the town’s first official sheriff in April 1877 by appointment from territorial Governor John L. Pennington.

Bullock established a reputation of being tough but fair and rarely used a gun. The tall and charismatic lawman maintained order with quick thinking and sheer force of personality. The citizens of Deadwood made frequent use of their sheriff’s strong will, and Bullock settled disputes over mining claims, rounded up horse thieves, road agents and stagecoach robbers, investigated murders, broke up countless fistfights, presided over trials and…well you get the idea.

No resident of Deadwood was a bigger thorn to Sheriff Bullock than the proprietor of the notorious Gem Theater, Al Swearengen. Most run-ins between two of Deadwood’s most famous inhabitants were due to Bullock’s efforts to regulate gambling and prostitution in an attempt to preserve Deadwood’s reputation. Finally, Bullock drew a line across Main Street separating the respectable areas of Deadwood and “The Badlands” controlled by Swearengen.


Bullock served as sheriff until 1878 and then as Deputy U.S. Marshal for Dakota Territory, and later for the state of South Dakota.

But there was so much more to Seth Bullock than South Dakota lawman. He was an ardent conservationist and while in Montana, drafted the Yellowstone Act in 1872, which paved the way for the creation of Yellowstone National Park. He is credited with planting the region’s first alfalfa crop on his ranch, and he helped secure a Federal fish hatchery for the Black Hills area.

Bullock and Sol Star founded the town of Belle Fourche, South Dakota, persuading the Fremont, Elkhorn, and Missouri Valley Railroad to build a line on the site of the former Bismark to Deadwood Stage stop. Bullock then offered free lots for any building moved from the town of Minnesela. Bell Fourche quickly became the largest railhead for livestock shipping into the United States.

Seth Bullock

During the Spanish-American War, Bullock volunteered for the Cavalry and became Captain of Troop A in Teddy Roosevelt’s famous Rough Riders. The two men developed a lifelong friendship, and Roosevelt’s death in January 1919 hit Bullock hard. In tribute to his friend, Bullock enlisted the aid of Society of Black Hills Pioneers to erect a monument on Sheep Mountain near Deadwood. A tower made of native Black Hills stone was constructed at the summit and the tower dedicated on the renamed Mount Roosevelt, July 4th, 1919. Roosevelt had honored Bullock in much the same way when, in 1905, he renamed Scruton Peak, in the Black Hills, Seth Bullock Lookout.

Bullock was a devoted family man. He married his childhood sweetheart, Martha Eccles, in 1874. Martha was an accomplished musician and president of Deadwood’s literary society, the Round Table Club. The couple lived on a ranch (some of which became Belle Fourche) where they raised two daughters, Florence and Margaret, a son Stanley and also cared for Bullock’s orphaned nephew.

Seth Bullock passed away of cancer in a room at the Bullock Hotel (built on the site of the hardware store he started with his business partner Sol Star in Deadwood).  He is buried in Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, his grave facing north toward Mount Roosevelt. Bullock’s friend Teddy Roosevelt once described him as “a true westerner, the finest type of frontiersman.” I have to agree. Bullock is a true legend of the West. A man who led a life worthy of any hero in a Western without any help from Hollywood.

(Not that I don’t absolute love Timothy Olyphant. Do I hear a Saturday Saa-lute?)

A good source for more information of Seth Bullock is:  “Seth Bullock: Black Hills Lawman (South Dakota Biography)” by David A. Wolff.

Thank ya’ll for spreadin’ your bedroll next to my campfire. Come back next Monday for another look at the Old West and the people and places who made it wild!

**Picture of Deadwood courtesy of Denver Public Library**



Sam Elliott. The ‘stash. The smile. The quiet strength. Okay let’s cut to the chase…that VOICE! My bones melt just hearing “Beef it’s what’s for dinner,” and then I just have to have a big ‘ol steak.

There was just no way around it, my Saturday Saa-lutes had to start with Sam Elliott.

I grew up in Wyoming. I was no stranger to cowboys, but (pulling my hat down over my eyes in shame) I really didn’t see the big deal. Until…a Saturday morning, freshman year in high school and my dad turned to TNT. I started to leave the room. Dad and his Westerns. Another cowboy flick. Who needs that?

But then wait? What was that? The quiet deep timbre sending stampedes of goose bumps running up my arms? The man in a hat and boots hunkerin’ by a river his thick mustache twitching in humor? I sank back down and asked with all the nonchalance of a bull in springtime:

“Who’s that, Dad?”

“Sam Elliott.”

“Huh. And is he in anything else?”

You get the idea. Cue the blinding light from Heaven, angel choir singing a rousing chorus of Hallelujah!! Cowboys! Who knew? Well I sure do now! Yes sireee, I am a rope, tied, branded, born again cowboy fanatic. I will never doubt again!

If you haven’t seen one of Sam’s movies…Whoa! You haven’t seen one of Sam’s movies? I’ll be switched! Anyway, here’s a few that will trip your trigger…And seriously, you haven’t…

THE SHADOW RIDERS (Added Bonus Tom Selleck)

THE SACKETTS (Tom is in this one too)





I know there are TONS more and non-Westerns, too, but this is a good starter kit.

Now go eat some beef, buy a Ram truck and have a rip snortin’ Saturday!   Sam Elliott for Ram (Go ahead and keep hitting play no one will judge you here)



First, A huge heartfelt THANK YOU to all who made the first day on the trail worth all the time in the saddle! I can’t tell you how much your comments and support mean to me!

As night falls here around the campfire, I pulled a name out of Cookie’s hat and pulled out a winner (and learned ya don’t stick your hand in someone else’s cowboy hat)!  That bein’ said the lucky person receiving a gift pack from Cowboy Coffee in Jackson, WY is:


Please send me your address through my contact page and I’ll get this on the next Pony Express rider headin’ out!

See ya all Saturday for Saturday SAAAA-LUUTE!


coffeeHowdy! Welcome to the first gathering around the campfire. Shake off the trail dust, grab a cup of Arbuckle’s from Cookie and join me. But remember take off those spurs before you squat down, many a cowboy had a rude awakening who didn’t.

This being the first post I thought I’d pay tribute to the people who settled in one of my favorite towns in the West, an area that serves as the backdrop for most of my stories, Sheridan, Wyoming.  And since I write about romance, I chose a couple who epitomized the indelible spirit of the land they settled on and a true romance.

John Kendrick

Orphaned at a young age, John B. Kendrick (born in Texas, 1857) was raised by relatives until he struck out on his own at the age of fifteen taking his first job breaking horses for room and board. In 1879, the twenty-two-year-old hired on with the Snyder-Wulfjen Brothers of Round Rock, Texas to move a herd of cattle from Matagorda Bay on the Gulf of Mexico to the grass lands of Wyoming.

On the trail, Jack Kendrick experienced the worst the open land had to offer: drought, flood, storm and stampede.

Anything at night almost, a stumbling horse, the odor of some wild animal or a blinding flash of lightning would start the herd to running. Then the cowboys would have to follow. Sometimes the cattle would run until morning. Or they might stop now and then for a few minutes. Whereupon, of course, we would halt with them, the rain meanwhile coming down in torrents and the night being so black that nothing could be seen but the electricity on our horses’ ear or the lightning wriggling over the ground like illuminated serpents.

Eula KendrickBut the greatest threat to Jack was pretty seven-year-old Eula Wulfjen who crawled upon the lanky cowboy’s lap and proclaimed she intended to marry him just as soon as she was old enough. True to her word, in 1891, after years at finishing schools in Colorado and Texas nineteen-year-old Eula married thirty-four-year-old Jack.

When they married, John Kendrick was no longer living on cowboy wages. Like many of the cowboys with whom he rode, Kendrick’s formal education ended after the fifth grade. Unlike many of his fellow cowpokes, Kendrick continued his lessons on the trail and during roundups. Instead of gambling and drinking, Kendrick spent his spare time reading and studying from books he carried in his saddle bags.

Kendrick bought a few head of cattle with his cowhand’s wages. By 1887 he was superintendent of the Converse Cattle Company, moving the operation to Montana. And just four years after marrying Eula, John completed his purchase of the Converse Cattle Company and started expanding his holdings.

But for the first few years of their marriage the new couple faced separation and adjustments. Although, Eula’s family moved often during her early years, she was raised to enjoy the finer things. John, not wanting his cultured wife to live in the rough bachelor digs of his mud-chinked log cabin sitting fifty miles from the nearest town sent Eula to live with her parents while he worked to improve the living conditions on his ranch in Montana.  John expressed his loneliness for his young bride eloquently for an old cowboy used to solitude.

Do you miss your old man? Not one half so much as I miss “the girl I left behind me.” Somehow the feeling of loneliness is inexplainable [sic]. Everything lacks interest: the scenes along the rode, the different views of snow peaks of the Big Horns, things that I used to enjoy so much.

Eula, fed up with waiting after months of separation, wrote to her husband that she was moving to Montana, “even if she had to sleep on the floor and cook for herself.”  John was thrilled with the “spirit of a true little wife and helpmate” she exhibited. For the next eighteen years the OW Ranch in southeastern Montana was their home.

Although isolated, Eula had no time to be bored. She cooked, cleaned, ironed, sewed, did all the bookkeeping for the expanding Kendrick Cattle Company and after the birth of their daughter Rosa-Maye and son Manville she provided their education preparing Rosa-Maye for the seventh grade and Manville for the fifth. The children were taught reading, writing, math, science, and geography as well as how to swim, shoot, skate and ride.

Wanting their children to have a formal education the Kendricks decided, in 1908, to build a house in Sheridan, Wyoming.  Kendrick was already heavily involved in the Sheridan business community. In two years, Jack Kendrick, cowboy, became the honorable John B. Kendrick Wyoming State Senator. He then spent two years as the Governor of Wyoming before being elected to the U.S. Senate. Even as a U.S. Senator, Kendrick remained first and always a cattleman. He spent as much time as possible on the OW Ranch and championed the political causes of the cattleman.

He was elected to two more terms and there was talk about a run to the White House. But John wanted to return to the West and enjoy his grandchildren and his homes in Montana and Wyoming, including Trail End. John Kendrick wasn’t destined for the White House or Trail End. On November, 3, 1933, Kendrick passed away after slipping into a coma two days earlier from a cerebral hemorrhage.

Trail End

Trail End

Eula, who moved between ranch house and executive mansion with grace and extraordinary efficiency proved to be an excellent hostess and tireless worker beside her husband. In 1923, she served as the acting president of the Senatorial Women’s Club, a position traditionally held only by the wife of the Vice President of the United States.

John’s death turned sixty-one-year-old, Eula’s life upside down. She withdrew from all positions outside the home. She lived for twenty-five years at Trail End with her son and his family fiercely guarding her husband’s political and personal memory. She passed away in San Antonio, Texas where she was living with her daughter, and is buried next to her husband in Sheridan Municipal Cemetery.

Before he was finished, John Kendrick’s ranching empire grew to include over 210,000 acres of deeded and leased land in southern Montana and northern Wyoming.  He and Eula had traveled extensively, raised two successful children, and served their state and country. But whatever they accomplished they did so together serving as each other’s greatest supporter and closest confidant. Their letters to each other make it clear their love is what they cherished most.

View From Trail End

View From Trail End

If you would like to learn more about the Kendricks and read selections from their letters and the letters of their children you can visit If you are ever in the Sheridan area I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful home.

coffeeNow it’s your turn to jaw for a bit. Refill your mug then speak up. If you’re a writer, do you like setting your story in a real place, or do you prefer designing your own? If you’re a reader, do you like reading a story set in a real place? How about incorporating historical figures in a story? The Kendricks appear in one of mine, do you include real people in your stories?

In honor of our first meeting around the flames, I’m giving away a gift box from Cowboy Coffee out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Leave your two bits and check back after Cookie dishes out the beans (most likely 7PM EST) when he’ll draw a name out of his hat. He just loves when I give him extra work…

Cookie! Stop lookin’ at me like that and get back to those beans!

See ya all at our next stop on the trail!


*The information and pictures of John Kendrick and Eula Kendrick were provided by Trail End State Historic Site.