"Oh how I do wish I could have a little help in maintaining my home. I shall dread the cold winter so much. I don't have very good success getting employment," wrote Emily French in her diary in 1890. Emily was recently divorced but received no alimony or child support. She worked as a laundress, cleaning woman, and nurse, first in the farming community of Elbert, Colorado, then in the growing city of Denver, the mining town of Dake, and back into Denver. Emily's diary discloses an example of the desperate lives lived by many. Having enough money and food is a source of constant anxiety, but her deepest fears center on the loss of family and of home. She becomes discouraged but never gives up, recognizes others less fortunate than herself, and always believes things will change. This is a moving work that provides an unusual look into the life of the working poor in the late-nineteenth-century West.