Postcard Portraits of Pioneers
Story by Ednor Therriault, Photos courtesy of Philip Burgess
Blood-chilling blizzards. Withering heat waves. Starved-out livestock. Parched terrain that stubbornly refused to support a decent crop of anything.
The badlands of northeastern Montana could seem as inhospitable as the moon, but that didn’t keep thousands of homesteaders from making their way westward after the Civil War, hoping to find their fortune or simply scratch a living out of a 320-acre parcel of government-granted land.
Imagine doing it all while wearing a dress.
Montana author Philip Burgess’s latest book, Penny Post Cards and Prairie Flowers, chronicles the journey of two Minnesota sisters who did just that, leaving their town of Norwegian transplants to seek the autonomy promised by claiming a chunk of land in the harsh territory of eastern Montana.
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