Harriet Backus writes about her life as an assayer's wife and true pioneer of the West with heart-felt emotion and vivid detail. Sharing her amusing and often challenging experiences as a new bride in the high San Juan Mountains where the Tomboy Mine operated above Telluride, Colorado, she paints a poignant picture of the people, and the life centered around silver mining where most of the book takes place. It is a skillfully written account from a women's perspective in a rough and tumble mining town that has made this book a classic for women's studies. Harriet's life followed her husband George's career which took them many places beyond the San Juan Mountains including the rugged coast of British Columbia, and the mountainous mining town of Elk City, Idaho and back to Colorado's Leadville. Although both Hattie and George were from the San Francisco bay area where they eventually retired, her heart never quite left the rugged mountain trails of the high San Juans of Colorado.
The author recounts life at the Tomboy Mine nearly 12,000 feet high in a mountain near Telluride. She retells their lives moving around to British Columbia, Idaho and Leadville. After numerous rejections, it was finally published when she was 84 years old. This is an important memoir from Colorado mining history and the conditions of the families who endured.