Continued from The aftermath

Yry revealed many eye-opening facts to me that evening, but after a life of fabricating history, details were greyed out. From the timeline of her photos and journal entries, it is clear that she was not pregnant when she left the CX ranch in November, nor during her time in Laramie. Journal entries from January reveal her mental state.

Dallas, I’m so lonely for you. I wonder why I haven’t heard from you in two weeks and what surprise was it Claire spoke of in her letter? She mentioned it but never explained. How long shall I have to wait yet for you. I miss you more each day. The more I flee from (illegible) the farther I go, the busier I keep myself the more I feel the emptiness of not being near you. I’m no longer whole—a part of me is missing—my love—my ‘lover.’

Does this explain the loneliness she described, and why Sundays were such difficult days for her despite the her friendship with two other young women who were also staying at the Lazy U Motel?

She was deeply grateful for Mrs. Miller’s generous offers to spend weekends at the ranch. The best part was being able to ride, although she was indignant that the Millers worried about her being out on the prairie all by herself. They thought she might get lost, for Pete’s sake! Of course she knew how to handle herself on the range! She’d been a “westerner” now for five months! On the slim chance that she might get turned around out there, she knew Babe would bring her back to the oats lickety-split. She keenly observed the different routines of another ranch, and began to see the land and the plants with her budding rancher’s eye. But there was an invisible companion riding beside her through the southeastern Wyoming foothills. Love, love, why must I be alone?

Finally, on January 30th, a letter arrived from Dallas. She flew to her room, locked the door and flung herself on the bed to examine the envelope, to gaze at his boyish scrawl, peer at the stamp and the postmark, before carefully unsealing the missive.

Dear Yry,

I have intended writing you for some time. Guess you will think I am rather slow in doing.

I had to come to the disagreeable thing of getting my teeth out so I am rather smooth mouthed now, but will soon have a pair of store teeth that will work just like hoof nippers so they say.

I read your letters and am very happy to hear you are getting along fine and enjoy the work.

I have not gathered the horses yet nor weaned the colts. Weather has been fine here and lots of grass and they are growing fine. You should see Listening Ears. She is growing a lot.

Golden Flash and Flash are way up in the far end of the Big Pasture and doing fine. His hair is so long, he looks like a Billy goat.

We are all well and living a very quiet life.

I went up yesterday and brought that sorrel mare and colt in that were with Frazer’s horses and branded them. I had several horse races to get them.

Bill is just the same. He is getting fat. Says he’s gained 30 lbs. Joe and Mary Ross are fine and want to be remembered to you. Hope you have a good time and meet some good friends as I guess that is the most important thing.

Claire said she would write a few lines so will close for now.


This innocent little letter is the only one I found from Dallas among the two large boxes of correspondence that came home with me after my mother’s death. At least he addressed it Dear Yry. It is an impressive letter coming from a male with only an 8th grade education. But given her besotted condition, I wonder how she dealt with the lack of ardor.