Mission Statement: We are volunteers serving all of Grand County, dedicated to the accurate portrayal of Grand County and Colorado history. We present educational and entertaining programs by invitation for community and private events.

Josephine Bassett

Kathy Naples as Josephine Bassett
Kathy Naples as Josephine Bassett

Josie Bassett, who grew up in Brown’s Park, Colorado, the oldest child of a homesteading family, seemed to have everything a girl could want—a loving father, an independent woman as a mother, quality education, and the beauty of the Rocky Mountains surrounding her. She was courted by Butch Cassidy; she battled the cattle barons and their land grabbing efforts; she loved and married five husbands.

But she seemed to spend her life in the shadow of her sister, who bore the title “Queen of the Rustlers.” Queen Ann was the incarnation of their mother, who turned a land dispute into a range war; she was, by 8, able to ride, shoot, and talk her way out of any situation, and by 18, was the most beautiful young woman in the area.

It was Josie, though, who kept to Brown’s Park. She was served with a warrant for killing her husband at 40. She traded her long skirts for trousers, cut her hair, and proved up a homestead, by 50. She was suspected of bootlegging apricot brandy and corn whiskey in her 50s, and was tried on cattle rustling charges in her 60s. Outright outlaw, or rugged survivalist?