Calamity Jane

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Princeton, Missouri
Birth Sign
Princeton, Missouri

Calamity Jane, the well-known frontierswoman who claimed to have worked with Wild Bill Hickok, the famed gunfighter and stagecoach driver, was born Martha Jane Canary. She was a tough and valiant woman who had overcome adversity since she was a child to become the legendary gunslinger she was. She was born in Missouri in the mid-nineteenth century, and nothing is known about her life. She was orphaned at a young age, and at the age of 12, the task of caring for her five younger siblings fell on her frail shoulders. She did whatever odd jobs she could to maintain her huge family, including working as a nurse, dishwasher, cook, wagon driver, and even a prostitute. She eventually got work as a scout at Fort Russell. She wasn’t a delicate beauty, despite being a lovely young woman with dark eyes. She lived a hard life, dressing and acting like a man. Calamity Jane was given to Martha Jane because she used to tell men that if they upset her, they would be courting calamity. She was also known for being a nice and compassionate person, which contributed to her allure. She was a strong drinker who died as a result of an alcohol-related disease.

Table of Contents

Childhood and Adolescence

She was Robert and Charlotte Canary’s eldest daughter. She was the oldest of five siblings, with two brothers and three sisters. Her father relocated the family from Missouri to Montana, but her mother died of illness while traveling in 1866. Her father died the following year as well. Martha Jane, who was just 12 years old at the time, was now responsible for raising her younger siblings.

She and her family relocated to Wyoming, where she worked whatever jobs she could to support her siblings. She had worked as a waiter, cook, dishwasher, and nurse during this time. She worked as a prostitute as well. She didn’t find significant work until 1874, when she was assigned to Fort Russell as a scout. She was a lovely young lady with black eyes. She loved men’s clothing due to her difficult life and was considerably stronger than the normal dainty woman. She never had any formal education.

Years Later of Life

She lost her attractiveness over time and evolved into a harsh woman with leathery skin. She began clothing and acting like a man. She was a fiercely independent lady who enjoyed adventure and wandered throughout mining communities and railroad camps doing hard menial work that was traditionally done by males.

She is also thought to have disguised herself as a man on occasion to accompany soldiers on trips. She had actively participated in various military engagements against Native American Indians, notably Gen. George Crook’s 1875 expedition against the Sioux.

In 1875, she traveled to the Black Hills with the Newton-Jenney Party, which included California Joe and Valentine McGillycuddy. Her lifestyle had completely changed to that of a man, and she had developed a taste for alcohol, which she drank to excess.

In 1876, she moved to the Black Hills of South Dakota, where she became friends with the area’s renowned madam, Dora DuFran. During this time, she met Wild Bill Hickok and Charlie Utter for the first time. She was muscular, tough, and unfeminine. She was also known for being a very loud person. She used to warn men that offending her was tantamount to courting ‘Calamity,’ garnering her the moniker Calamity Jane.

She settled in Deadwood, which was a new gold rush site, during the 1876 gold rush. During this time, her connection with Wild Bill Hickok, the famed gunfighter and stagecoach driver, grew stronger. She was enamored with him to the point of obsession, and she spent a lot of time with him.

Hickok was assassinated in August 1876, but she remained in the Deadwood area for a while longer. She was a kind woman who rescued a group of people on an overland stagecoach who were being pursued by Plain Indians. Jane took over the reins when the coach’s driver was slain and drove the coach to its next destination.

In 1881, she bought a ranch in Montana and maintained an inn there. During this time, she married and relocated to Boulder, where she reopened an inn. In 1893, she began performing in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show as a storyteller. The majority of what is known about her life now is based on her own claims. She was renowned for embellishing facts and fabricating stories in order to project a favorable image of herself. In the early 1900s, she returned to the Black Hills and worked as a chef and laundress for Dora’s brothel girls. She stayed there till she died.

Personal History and Legacy

Wild Bill Hickok was her obsession, and she claimed to have married him. She also claimed to have a child with him. This assertion is not supported by any documentary evidence. She had a daughter with Clinton Burke, whom she married in 1885. The young girl was placed with foster parents. She was a strong drinker who died in 1903 from an alcohol-related illness. She was laid to rest alongside Wild Bill Hickok.

Estimated Net Worth

Calamity is one of the wealthiest explorers, as well as one of the most popular. Calamity Jane’s net worth is estimated to be $5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


In the 1936 film ‘The Plainsman,’ actress Jean Arthur played this famed female adventurer. She was a well-known frontierswoman known for her shooting and riding abilities. Many of the claims about her accomplishments are regarded to be fabrications or exaggerations, but there is no denying that she was a courageous woman with a loving heart.