More Than Just Saloon Girls: Women In Westerns

Actresses in western themed films and television have come a long way in their portrayals of their characters. One notable example is the depiction of Calamity Jane, the rough-and-tumble historical character whom has been portrayed in a variety of roles. A western is unlike other genres in that it utilizes many conventions not found elsewhere, such as slower pacing, wide shots, and so forth. A female character historically would have had a secondary role to play at best, it is only in modern cinema that we find female characters taking a starring role in this genre. Didn’t catch that? This explains it. A western is perhaps the most compelling genre of cinema, with its opus being found in the Spaghetti Westerns of the 1960′s. memorable characters are found here, but few of them female and even fewer with significant roles. Frontier society was a lawless place, in which women could be abused without the force of government to maintain order. For this reason, women in the west were compelled by economics to perform jobs men could not. However the status of women in this era is a fascinating one, and film treatment which recognize the potential in stories in this era are manifold, and vary greatly.