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Bertha Muzzy was born on 15th November 1871 in Otter Tail County, Minnesota.
At 18 she and her family moved to Great Falls, Montana where she began teaching at a nearby 12 pupil school. Although the experiences would prove valuable for characters in her later books after one term as a schoolteacher, Bower returned to her family's home.
In December 1890, Bower shocked her family by eloping with Clayton J Bower. Although the marriage was to prove unhappy, it produced three children and opened her eyes and literary thoughts to cowboy life. She became friendly with their boarder Bill Sinclair. She lent him books and tutored him in writing, and he explained the finer points of cowpunching and Western life.
Bower began writing to give her a focus and for some financial independence. She began sending stories to publishers in 1900 and had her first published locally the next year; ‘Strike of the Dishpan Brigade.’ Four years later she went national when ‘Ghost in the Red Shirt,’ appeared in Lippincott’s Magazine.
Later that year, Bower serialized her first Western novel ‘Chip of the Flying U’ and the "Happy Family" of cowboys who lived there. Centered on a cowboy, Chip, and his romance with Dr. Della Whitmore, a self-reliant doctor from the East, the book was wildly popular and rocketed Bower to fame. Many more novels from the Flying U Ranch would follow.
She now divorced Clayton and married Sinclair in August 1905. That same year Bower signed a short-story contract with Popular Magazine.
A daughter was born during a blizzard in January 1907. That brutal Montana winter also destroyed their breeding horses and their planned new business venture. They now moved to Santa Cruz, California to pursue careers as writers. Four years later they separated. Bower now signed with the prestigious Boston publishers Little, Brown & Company.
By 1920, Bower was in Hollywood and with a third husband. The novels and stories continued to flow as did film adaptations.
In all she wrote 57 Western novels as well as many articles and short stories. It is said that her sales fell when her audience despite appreciating the often-realistic settings and language of her work discovered she was a woman.
B M Bower died on 23rd July 1940 in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 68.