While Annie Oakley is well known as the demure darling of the lady sharpshooters of the Wild West shows of old, only the more ardent Western aficionados recall Lillian Frances Smith. Better known as “Wenona,” Smith often outshined—and outshot “Little Sure Shot”—while starring with the top showmen of the era, including Buffalo Bill, Pawnee Bill, and the Miller Brothers. In this spirited biography, painstakingly researched from family records, interviews and numerous other sources, America’s Best Female Sharpshooter: The Rise and Fall of Lillian Frances Smith (University of Oklahoma Press, $24.95) is engagingly and honestly presented. Julia Bricklin’s work offers an in-depth look at Smith’s half century-long career, as well as her tumultuous private life, as one of the world’s greatest female sharpshooters and a woman who loved living and shooting.
— Phil Spangenberger, True West’s Firearms Editor