Especially for the early pioneers, life on the western frontier was lonely and involved a kit of hard work.
Many women helped build their homes and worked in the fields; they also did the cooking, laundry, and other household tasks.
In northern areas, such as Montana Territory, the house might be a log cabin; on the plains of the Kansas frontier, the house was more likely to be made of blocks of sod.
The nearest neighbor was often miles away.
Some women found the isolation of life on the frontier frightening and feared they might go mad, but others welcomed the challenge.
Some women joined the California gold rush, beginning in 1848, and earned a small fortune by setting up lodging facilities for the miners or taking in sewing or laundry.