The Misadventures of Maude March
This is a western adventure that pokes fun at the westerns. When Sallie and Maude’s guardian, Aunt Ruthie, is killed by a freak gunshot, the girls find themselves orphaned for the second time. Now victims in an unlikely chain of events, the girls (masquerading as boys) run away – taking two horses (in trade for goods but not with permission) – to avoid Maude’s being married off to an older man and to find their only other living relative, Uncle Arlen. They hook up with Joe Harden (who’s also been caught in unlikely events and whose real name is Marion Hardly). Together with Marion (and separately), their unintentional adventures are captured inaccurately by reporters. Maude – who’s done nothing wrong (apart from horse theft) – finds herself known as Mad Maude, the bank-robbing, murdering leader of a lawless gang. Not bad for a sixteen-year-old that isn’t really trying!
The tale is narrated by eleven-year-old Sallie, who is wise in the ways of the trouble and cowboys: she’s a prolific reader of dime novels. The sisters squabble and make up, just like real sisters. It’s a terrific ride on a fast horse. Ages 12 and up.