Strong willed and independent, Ella Mayfield wanted to keep her widowed mother and siblings safe during the border war between Missouri and Kansas and the Civil War or die trying. Invasions into Vernon County Missouri by Union soldiers stationed at Ft. Scott, Kansas and Kansas Jayhawkers forced Ella to join a militia band dubbed Pawpaw Militia, because that fruit is what the band lived on when they were in hiding from the soldiers. Brave and daring, Ella Mayfield dressed as a man to keep her identify secret and dressed as a woman when she worked as a spy for the Confederate Army. She was a crack shot and a superb horseman, out shooting and out riding most of the men in her band. The Mayfield family's exploits are legendary and their losses great as they tried to protect their home and each other near Montevallo, Missouri.
This book gives readers a look at the struggles faced by all the citizens in the Ozarks as they tried to stay alive during the bloodshed. Faced with starvation when soldiers and marauders stole their meager food supplies, the settlers still gave much of what they had to the bushwhackers they believed in.