Wow, do we ever feel sorry for Ma. She loses her husband to the Colorado Gold Rush and never finds out what happened to him. She believes her elder daughter's body has been exposed to the elements and eaten by animals for months, and then right after she identifies one daughter's body, her other daughter runs off. Then, before her younger daughter returns safely, her dad dies of a sudden heart attack. That's a lot for one woman to take, and we're glad she finds some happiness with Sheriff McCabe. More power to her, we say.
Ma seems like a nice person to have for a mother. She's reasonable, giving Agatha and Georgie days off from the store in nice weather, and she's also kind and empathetic, as evidenced by her care for Mrs. Garrow and her setting up a tombstone for Darlene. She doesn't try to make Georgie change any of her tomboy ways. She lets both her daughters pursue their interests. And in the end, she's as determined as Georgie or Agatha when she wants to get to something. Check her out:
She came running. I had never seen Ma run, but my ma ran. She let nothing stop her, pushing her way through those people (downright shoving one man, who did not see her coming), all to get to me. She wrapped her arms around my waist and pulled me off Long Ears. (20.19)
When we think of Georgie's decision to search for Agatha, and Agatha's decision to go to college no matter what, we can't help but think that they've each gotten at least a little of their stick-to-itiveness from their Ma.