The expression, “hard-headed woman” applied quite literally to Petra Rios of Los Angeles, California. Her story was told in newspapers in April 1897, after she survived a shooting incident.
According to the news stories, Petra Rios quarreled with her lover–a spat serious enough that he threatened to kill her and then tried to make good on his threat by shooting her at close range.
The first bullet, fired at her head, flattened against the right side of her scalp. Dazed, she sank to her knees just as he fired again, this time striking her cheek. That bullet entered her cheek, exiting her right jaw, then striking her breast and lodging in a rib. The third shot grazed the back of the left side of her head, lodging in the tissue of her scalp. When it was removed, doctors found that it had flattened into a disc, somewhat larger than a nickel.
The doctors also marveled that despite being shot three times in the head, there was no evidence of skull fracture, and they determined that the thickness of the bone protected Petra from suffering a concussion.