Land of the Burnt Thigh
"It will be all right," Ida Mary told her father cheerfully. "It is only for eight months. Nothing can happen in eight months."
Edith and Ida Mary Ammons, two slightly-built young women raised on exciting stories of a glamorous Wild West, bade their father good-bye in St. Louis and boarded a steamboat up the Missouri river on their way to South Dakota, to make something of themselves on a prairie homestead.
They set up near the “Land of the Burnt Thigh” — the Lower Brulé Indian Reservation. It was 1907, and though the days of the covered wagon had passed, conditions on the prairie were harsh, and they were dangerously unprepared. Even experienced homesteaders with better equipment, greater physical strength, and more money struggled against the long summer droughts and deadly cold winters. "My ma says we'll starve and freeze yet", said a six year-old boy from a neighboring farm.
With the support of a tight-knit and welcoming community, Edith and Ida Mary dug deep into resources of ingenuity and endurance they didn't know they had, embarked on ventures they never would have imagined, and emerged as icons of independent female resilience and accomplishment.
In her memoir "Land of the Burnt Thigh", Edith Kohl (neé Ammons) wove a vivid tale of her and her sister's struggles together with those of her neighbors, placing it in the historical context of the massive migration into the West during the decade leading up to America's entry into the First World War. (Summary by Matthew McNaughton)