Online class on Cattle Kate offered at Casper College

By: Lisa S. Icenogle
Photo of Cattle Kate.

Cattle Kate and the Myth of the West, course No. 120076, is an online class offered through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Casper College for four sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning Monday, Nov. 30, and ending Wednesday, Dec. 9.

According to instructor Cynthia Grieve, Cattle Kate, aka Ellen Watson, is an example of all that was good and bad about western expansion and the “myth of the West.”

Characterized as a cattle rustler and prostitute, which subsequent research has disapproved, Watson and her husband James Averell were lynched by wealthy rancher Albert Bothwell and five other ranchers.

During this class, Grieve will look at whether Watson was a victim of vigilante justice or an iconic symbol of independent women formed by her day’s growing social movements and opportunities. Watson’s hanging is often viewed as the first volley fired in the battle between small landholders and moneyed cattle barons during the range wars of the 1800s in Wyoming.

Those participating in this online look into Wyoming’s ranching history “ … will encounter one of the most enduring and wildly popular tales of the West and expose a controversial Wyoming legend as we examine Ellen Watson’s life,” said Grieve.

The class will run from 6-7:30 p.m. on the Zoom platform. To register, go to or contact Jeaneece Schmidt, lifelong learning specialist, at 307-268-2099 or

Media contact: Lisa S. Icenogle

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