What Pegman Saw: Her Own Laws

Palisade Rim/Ute Petroglyph Trail, Colorado © Google Maps

Her thighs ached from the ride. Not the days’ ride up from Delta, but the ride the night before with the rustler from Laramie. As he’d slept, she’d pilfered his pockets and his money had bought this mount. She was northbound before the sun had climbed over the sagebrush east of town.

It was a sorry state of affairs that had brought her here. She had no say in the laws of man. Laws that would let her hold no property, or earn an honest living better than starvation wage. Laws that said she must submit to the hand of a drunken fool. She had as much right to live free in this country as any man.

She nudged the toe of her soft kid boot at the mare’s belly and clucked. As the mare cantered to a gallop, she decided: from now on, she’d make her own laws.

149 words

Pearl Hart

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

This story was inspired by a real-life outlaw by the name of Pearl Hart, a woman who gives me a fierce itch to write historical fiction.

Pearl was a Canadian debutante turned outlaw to escape a bad marriage. When brought to justice after she robbed a stagecoach, Pearl reportedly said “I shall not consent to be tried under a law in which my sex had no voice in making.”

My imagination is forever captured. You can learn more about Pearl Hart at the Denver Post, or Wikipedia.


  1. Pearl sounds really cool and reading your piece before the history backdrop made a difference – at least I think – -I was able to just feel the dry climate and Colorado vibe as her attitude unfolded in the fiction piece…. nice
    (and side note – I am taking a short blog pause – sniff because CO is a place I love – anyhow, see you back traveling with Pegman in a few weeks )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Looking forward to seeing your work in a few weeks. Thanks for reading. Glad you found Pearl interesting too!


  2. Excellent historical fiction (based on a factual person). I did read in the history of Cascade, Colorado which is near the Ute petroglyph trailhead, that a woman named Eliza Marriott Hewlett left New York and settled in Cascade with her two daughters in the 1880s so I thought this was her at first.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not familiar with Eliza Marriott Hewlett. Seems like there are many fascinating characters in this place and time. Thanks for reading, James!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great stuff. Pearl Hart was one of those characters who haunted my childhood in Tucson. She languished for some years in the Arizona Territorial Prison in Yuma (better known as the hell hole, the “inspiration” for the heinous Maricopa county sheriff Joe Arpaio). During the annual Fiesta de los Vaqueros, there is always somebody representing Miss Hart in the parade. You do great job of capturing her. Again, a worthy subject of her own novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a place we should look up next time we are there. Some fascinating history… Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My sisters live in Eckert, right outside Delta, CO. I’ve never heard of Pearl, and I’m glad you introduced her. So many women in those days were forced to do “outlaw” things to get by. Oh! Shoot! It’s still true today. (P.S. as someone who rode horses for much of my childhood I can say Pearl would probably nudge the heel of her boot into the mare’s belly, not the toe.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure how much time she spent in Delta. She is quite a character for sure.

      I rode for many years too… I guess when I pictured her, I pictured the toe because of the way those old fashioned boots have the heel so far forward…. But you make a good point!


  5. Your tale shows some of the emotional and psychological drivers that led Pearl into the life of an outlaw. How ironic that her desire to live free led to a long period of imprisonment. You conjure up her exhaustion and frustration very well.


    1. It is ironic! It was not hard for me to imagine her frustration as I got to dig into her history. She sounds remarkable. Thanks for your kind words!


  6. I love her attitude – why indeed should she adhere to laws that women were barred from helping to form? This coincides nicely with this year’s 100th anniversary of (some) women getting the vote in the UK!


    1. Oh how perfect–I had no idea. Thanks for letting me know about that anniversary!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This makes me want to read historical fiction, Karen. Pearl Hart has my vote, and yours I think.


    1. Kelvin, you are very kind! She seems to be a fascinating character. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. She was unconventional and lawless, but who could blame her – the times held nothing for women but lives of domesticity and potential for abuse. The fact that she broke free of that is admirably brave.
    Lovely piece of writing – well observed and considered approach


    1. Thanks so much Lynn, that really means a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure 🙂


  9. Reblogged this on k. Rawson and commented:

    It’s been suggested that I participate in What Pegman Saw since I haven’t in awhile.

    I have to admit, I have about as much desire to write as I do to pull out my eyelashes with tweezers, which is to say, none. I tried to rework a handwritten story that’s been sitting on my desk, but had no luck trying to resuscitate it. So instead I’ll reblog the story I did the last time Pegman was in Arizona.

    Happy trails.


  10. I’m glad you reposted this story. I remember it from first time round – it’s a memorable story, and nicely written. Welcome back to Pegman!


  11. Dear Karen,

    You must’ve posted this on one of my off weeks. I’m glad you reposted. Good for her. Well maybe not for turning to being an outlaw. Wonderful story…good to see you back in the saddle.

    Shalom, be well,


    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 I got a grin from your comment. Back in the saddle–hope I don’t get bucked off!


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