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I Done My Best Work For Her

Nancy Cooper was her name & she was married to the infamous Charlie Russell. We’re currently enjoying the story of Nancy Cooper Russell, “Behind Every Man” at our Tuesday evening Montana History reading at the Marias Heritage Center here in Shelby. Joan Stauffer’s tome tells how Nancy’s greatest contribution may have been the inspiration she provided Charlie. In fact, old Charlie was heard to remark, “I done my best work for her”. We begin chapter 3 this evening & one thing I have come to understand in the first two chapters that I was unaware of, Nancy did NOT come from money. I had always heard and/or believed that she did. It was the opposite. Thus far in the book, she is dirt poor and the next best thing to being an orphan. It goes without saying that frontier life was never easy, always challenging, & not for the faint of heart. I don’t think I could have done it. I probably would have lasted half a day before I headed back east to civilization. No wonder ol’ Charlie liked to take a nip or two. It WOULD take a tip or two, & probably more, to cope with these times. Hope to see you this evening at 6 for more Montana History & I hope you get a chance to check the book out. It’s available at the C.M. Russell Museum down in Great Falls. The publisher is the University of Oklahoma Press. No doubt about it…I agree with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian William H. Goetzmann, “this splendid biography of Nancy Cooper Russell tells the story of Charlie Russell the way it should be told. This is an inspiring tribute to the nobility of 2 human spirits”. Spirits?! Charlie would probably say, “don’t mind if I do”.

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