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Letters from a liberated frontier woman; Letters of a Woman Homesteader, by Elinor Pruitt Stewart. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 282 pp. $5.95.

First published in 1914, these lively letters from a former washerwoman who moved from Colorado to Wyoming in the early 1900s are packed with the action of pioneer life.

Elinor Pruitt Stewart writes of day-to-day work on her homestead: growing vegetables and fruits, milking 10 cows, selling enough butter to pay for a year's supply of flour and gasoline, raising chickens and turkeys - and three children. When she's not working, she's camping out along the Wind River Basin and glorying in the mountain vistas that surround her.

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Best of all, her adventures are peopled with the kinds of characters most novelists only dream of: Zebulon Pike Parker, a transplanted Southerner who fiddles away his memories into the night; and Gavotte, a French trapper who cares for critters by winter and hunts fossils in the Badlands by summer.

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