There are many wonderful stories of courageous women who helped to settle the West, told through dramas, musicals and comedy. Here is a list of some of the better known.. Western Woman Classic films:
Belle Starr (1941). Director: Irving Cummings. Based on the life of outlaw Belle Starr. Cast: Gene Tierney, Randolph Scott and Dana Andrews.
After her family's mansion is burned down by Yankee soldiers for hiding Captain Sam Starr, Belle Shirley promises to take revenge. Breaking Starr out of prison, she joins his group who make plans to attack banks and railroads and enemy troops. Belle and Sam are married and trouble begins when Sam lets a couple of ruthless rebels into the gang.
I remember seeing this film many years ago and fell in love with it. I have always liked civil war films. Gene Tierney is beautiful as always, but..did not care much for her southern accent throughout the film. Randolph Scott is wonderful as captain Sam Starr. I do not want to give the ending away.. Good performances at end.
FUN FACT: Originally, Alice Faye was to play the title role.
Annie Oakley (1935). D: George Stevens. Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Foster, Melvyn Douglas, Pert Kelton, Andy Clyde. Biography of female sharpshooter Stanwyck and her on-again off-again romance with fellow performer Foster. Moroni Olsen, plays Buffalo Bill. I have not seen this one yet.
Annie Get Your Gun (1950). Musical biography of sharpshooter Annie Oakley. Cast: Betty Hutton, Howard Keel, Edward Arnold. Dir: George Sidney. Fun Facts: Judy Garland and Frank Morgan, who appeared together in The Wizard of Oz (1939), were scheduled to reappear together in this film. Garland was fired because of health problems, and Frank Morgan died shortly after filming began. As a result of this, Betty Hutton took over Judy Garland's role as Annie Oakley, and Louis Calhern succeeded Frank Morgan as Buffalo Bill. Howard Keel broke his leg during filming when a horse fell on it. I thought Betty Hutton was wonderful in this film. She may not have been the singer that Garland was, but she did a excellent job with her performance, as Annie with her amazing personality and humor.
Show Boat(1951). A beautiful musical of riverboat lives and loves. Cast: Kathryn Grayson, Ava Gardner and Howard Keel.
Westward the Women (1951) Director: William A. Wellman. Cast: Robert Taylor, Denise Darcel and John McIntire.
In 1851, Roy Whitman decides to take a group of women west to join his lonely men, hoping they will put down roots and settle down in his California valley.
Roy has the women pick their prospective husbands from pictures he has posted to a board. Two saloon girls, Fifi Danon and Laurie Smith, change their clothes when others like them are rejected. Roy is not fooled, but believes they are sincere in trying to change their ways and decides to let them join the other ladies. Roy hires a hardened trail boss, Buck Wyatt, to lead the wagon train.
On the trail, Buck shoots one of his men for raping Laurie. All but two of the trail hands leave in the middle of the night, taking eight of the women with them. This leaves only the Japanese cook, and Jim Stacey, who has fallen in love with an already-pregnant Rose Meyers to lead the train. Buck, decides the group must turn back. The women refuse to accept his decision. Roy believes that the women can learn to do "a man's job". The women go through one hardship after another. Will Fifi's bravery and determination change Buck's opinion of women?
This movie is very entertaining! It's funny, It's touching, It's violent. It's everything you'd expect from a film called Westward the Woman.
Mail Order Bride (1964). An aging cowhand tries to help a young rancher settle down by buying him a wife. Cast: Buddy Ebsen, Keir Dullea, Lois Nettleton. I have not seen this one yet.
Montana Belle (1952). The Daltons force Belle Starr to help them on a dangerous raid. Cast: Jane Russell,
George Brent and Scott Brady. I do not remember if I have seen this one or not.