To support her siblings and widowed Quaker mother, Annie began trapping before the age of seven, and shooting and hunting by age eight. With these skills, she was able to pay the mortgage on her mother's farm by age 15.
She won a sharpshooter contest that same year which began a career of traveling with shows such as Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. This made Annie revered and famous. Performing for celebrities, royalty, and everyday people alike, she became the highest-paid performer next to Buffalo Bill himself.