Read more at startribune.com/local/ blogs.

 

In 1896, Helga Estby, of Spokane, learned that someone would pay her and her teenage daughter Clara $10,000 to cross America on foot, unescorted, within seven months. The pair set out armed with little more than $5, a revolver, red-pepper spray and a curling iron.

The “eastern parties” never paid, and a Minneapolis Tribune reporter interviewed Helga and Clara on their way home.

“At one time we had some trouble with the Indians. That was in Utah. They took our small satchel and went through it, but oddly enough, the only thing they found that they thought they could make use of was our curling iron. … Of the different states that we passed through we had the most trouble in Pennsylvania. There the Italians working in the coal mines were troublesome.”