Legends of Western Cinema Week KICK-OFF / / My Top Ten Western Leading Ladies

Legends of Western Cinema Week has arrived!  The day has dawned!  The quest has begun!  The joy overflows--okay, I'll stop.  Anywho, I'm ever so excited, and I know Emma is as well!

Before I begin, I'd like to take a moment to celebrate the fact that today is Rosie McCann's birthday!  I've had the privilege of getting to know Rosie over the past year or so, and it's an absolute joy to be friends with her!  She's more or less sort of awesome.  I'm sure a lot of you know her--though she doesn't have a blog (sad face), she's an active and vibrant participant in the blogosphere's happenings :)  Happy Birthday, Rosie!!!  Have a swell day, and don't forget what a gift you are to the world <3

Now, on to the post!  This year, Emma and I are each doing something different for the start of LoWCW, and I decided to make another top ten list, because I think top ten lists are fun ;)  I will be sharing with you all my top ten favorites of the women who make appearances in Westerns I've seen.  This list doesn't necessarily rank them as they might have been ranked if it were an all-inclusive list of favorite heroines, though.  And, honestly, I'm hardly ever absolutely sure about where exactly to place people in these lists…but I've thought through this one a lot and changed it around quite a bit, so I think it's a fairly accurate ranking of my top ten Western leading ladies :)

(Fair warning, I will be unashamedly raving about the romances of most of these women, and the picture quality is not the greatest on some of them, since apparently most of these are rather obscure, and Pinterest isn't all that obliging when it comes to obscure movies *scowls at ridiculous website*.  And yes--apart from the fact that they really are awesome women in their own right--two of these get high rankings because they're in Broken Trail.  One must stay true to one's commitment to such a movie.)

Mild spoilers may be included and will be unmarked!!!

~ 10 ~
Millie Pontipee
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

I mean.  Millie is goals, as the saying is ;)  (Minus her lapse of judgment in marrying a guy the same day she meets him.  Ahem.)  You can read more of my thoughts on Millie here.

~ 9 ~ 
Lilith Prescott
How the West Was Won

I quite enjoyed Lilith (especially her renditions of "A Home in the Meadow").  She was spunky without being annoying, and she was even-tempered and pleasant enough to charm me.  Plus, she and Cleve, though.  I mean, it IS Debbie Reynolds and Gregory Peck together in a Western, so it's not exactly a surprise that they're so adorable, BUT STILL.  All the happy warm-fuzzies.  

~ 8 ~
Michaela "Mike" Quinn
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

So Mike is pretty cool.  A female doctor brave enough to be a female doctor, in that day and time, and not only that, but to travel West and set up her own practice all by herself…one can respect the woman, shall we say.  Also, she takes in Matthew and Colleen and Brian after a relatively short acquaintance, "which, considering the event, shows some greatness of mind, I think."  She's kind and courageous and innovative; strong but not afraid to be vulnerable, so I like her :)

~ 7 ~
Kate Fletcher
The War Wagon

Though she only gets a few words' worth of lines in the movie, this girl conveys a strong presence simply by the use of her eyes and her body language--not to mention that what little she does say carries a heck of a lot of emotional force and aptly depicts her background and personality without ever explicitly touching on either.  (Or maybe I just felt like that since she was one of only three female characters, and undoubtedly the one with the most screen time.)  Seriously, though, I really liked Kate.  And DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE ROMANCE BETWEEN HER AND BILLY. The gushing would be without end.  They made me so incandescently happy.  (Yeah, that's probably a slight exaggeration…but only a slight one.)

~ 6 ~
Shannon Christie
Far and Away

"You're a corker, Shannon.  What a corker you are." ;D  Now, I'm not usually a fan of the "spitfire redhead" in movies--I find them overdone and irritating.  However, Shannon has proven one of the exceptions of the rule.  While her personality is a good bit more confrontational and outgoing than mine, I admire her grit in venturing to America and determinedly staying there even when the world she was trying to build kept crumbling time after time.  And, since I warned you that 50% of this would be gushing about the love stories…Shannon + Joseph <3 <3 <3

~ 5 ~
Clara Allen
Lonesome Dove

Of course, I've only seen this movie once, so I can't remember it too clearly, but I do really like Clara, from what little I recall.  She handles her complicated relationship with Gus admirably.  She's a devoted mother, even to a baby who isn't her own.  She's a loyal wife, even when it would be so easy to slip into infidelity, especially given the circumstances which almost blur the lines of moral duty in her case.  And she's so kind and caring to Lorie, comforting her, sheltering and providing for her, and trying to help her see how to move on after tragedy.  The fact that she's played by Anjelica Houston doesn't hurt ;-P

~ 4 ~
Magnolia "Dusty" Clydesdale
The Apple Dumpling Gang

Don't laugh!  Dusty is seriously epic.  Can we all just take a moment to respect the sheer boss-ness that is Magnolia Clydesdale?  Honestly.  She's competent and confident, but she's also friendly enough and assumes a maternal affection and concern for the children from the get-go.  I like Dusty :)  (Plus, y'know, she's a significant part of my cinematic childhood, so yeah…)

  ~ 3 ~
Nola Johns
Broken Trail

I love the kindness of Mrs. Johns' soul, not to be cheesy.  Regardless of how contemptibly life and other people have treated her, Nola is still amicable and compassionate.  Her attempts at mentoring Ye Fung are so sweet--because she knows; she understands.  She's been through what Ye Fung has been through; she's seen her life falling apart and has chosen to keep on living in spite of it, and she tries to pass that same hope on to this broken, violated young girl.  She falls in love with Print and longs for a new life with him, but in the end she respects his decisions, even if she doesn't understand or agree with them.  Nola is a very strong woman, and I admire her.  

~ 2 ~
Sun Fu
Broken Trail

Yep, this is literally the only horizontal picture of just her that I could find.
I too think this is shameful.  


And number one is…*drumroll*  

~ 1 ~

Dallas is such a morally courageous character.  (The more I thought about her while putting this post together, the more I realized how admirable she really is, and that kept bumping her up through the rankings until she was #1.  She deserves it.)  With how she was treated by almost everyone around her, it would have been understandable for her to refuse to lift a finger to help them.  She didn't have to step up and assist Mrs. Mallory when she went into labor.  For the neglect and rudeness she'd suffered at her hands, the hands of the only other female passenger aboard the stagecoach, many wouldn't blame Dallas for writing her off and letting her figure out childbirth by herself…but she doesn't.  Despite all she's been through, Dallas keeps her heart tender and open and caring.  She serves selflessly and efficiently, and though she loves Ringo (BE STILL MY HEART), she is unwilling to let him "sully" himself by being with "someone like her," not realizing until later that there is a kind of love that can look past, well, one's past, and provide a future.  So, yeah.  I really like Dallas--she's a very selfless and sweet character.  And can we talk about her and Ringo?!?!?!  Can we gush about them forever and ever?!?!?!  (Also, by the by, if you're looking for a FABULOUS narrative review of Stagecoach--and you should be--read Heidi's HERE.)


  1. YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!! *scatters confetti everywhere*

    Happy birthday to my dearest, darlingest sister!!! It was a great day for me when you were born, Rosie, "and that you may tie to," as Susan says :-) (And Olivia, thank you SO MUCH for mentioning it--you're such a sweet friend! :-) )

    And now--Western Cinema Week!!! I'm SO happy and excited; I always love it when you guys talk about your favorite Western movies :-) TOM AND SUN FU. YES YES YES YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Someday I WILL visit you in person and we WILL watch that movie together and fangirl over the awesomeness :-)

    By the way, I have to tell you: I JUST SAW "HIDALGO." SO DID ROSIE. IT WAS EPIC. WE LOVED IT. THE END.


    1. "I am not going to cry, Mrs. Dr. dear, and that you may tie to," but I come darn near it when you say things like that! Thanks to the bestest big sister there is! I don't remember much of the day I was born, but I'm quite tickled that it happened, for here I be! and I'm making the most of it :)

      AND YES WE WATCHED HIDALGO. Epic? It was THREE TIMES epic, plus about four-five ounces of hardcore MAGNIFICENCE!

    2. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. <3 <3 <3

  2. Aw, Olivia! Thank you so much for remembering my birthday! You're so sweet. And you are absolutely awesome yourself! I'm so happy to have gotten to know you this past year! You da best :)

    WESTERN CINEMA WEEK. I love that you guys are doing this again! I think I kind of missed out the first time around, not having seen many/(any?:P) Westerns, but now I can actually understand the references! AND YES. They’re terrific. It’s hard to explain, but there’s just such STRENGTH and CHARACTER to Westerns that set them apart. So real and . . . just sort of timeless. In a word, AWESOMESAUCE!!

  3. Let us gush about Dallas + Ringo!!! Mmmmmmm, such a caring, wonderful couple, both understanding what it means to forgive much and be forgiven much.

    I really love Dr. Mike too, and Dusty. Dusty was one of my heroines as a girl because she got to wear pants, drive a coach, shoot a rifle, and ride a horse, and I've always wanted to do all those things. (Well, I HAVe worn pants and ridden horses and fired rifles by now, but as a kid, not as much as I'd like.)

    Of the two Prescott sisters, I've always liked Eve better, but Lilith is a lot of fun too.

    Millie is tons of fun, and I've long been fascinated by Kate too -- she's got such an amazing presence, huh? I love that she gets a happy ending.

  4. Sadly Millie is the only one of these girls that I know. Okay, I know some of the others names, but Millie is the only one that I have met.

  5. A happy birthday to Rosie, then!!! :) (Happy 18th, too, I believe?! How exciting!)

    Well, I know SOME of these, so yay. :D

    I have yet to see SBfSB! *sigh* We OWN it and everything... you can be sure I'll tell you ALL about it once I see it!

    Heh... I, err, didn't actually go for the movie "How the West Was Won". We saw half of it... but we decided not to finish it. (It just felt too weird and make-it-up-as-you-go-along for me.) So I didn't really get to know Lilith THAT well. But let me get off this topic - I can't be a Johnny Rain-cloud on such a festive occasion! ;D

    I saw 3/4 of one episode of Dr. Quinn while on holidays... plus I've seen Jane Seymour in numerous movies... but I guess that doesn't quiiite count. ;) It looks so good, that show! I wish it was more popular in Australia. *pouts*


    Haven't seen Lonesome Dove... but Anjelica Houston? Haha! I only know her as the Ugly Step Mother. ;P

    Aaand I haven't seen Broken Trail.

    I don't know if I've seen Stagecoach or not. (Soary, but I noticed it has John Wayne in it and if it's got John Wayne in it... I tend to mix all his movies up. :P)

    Getting more excited about this week every day! :D

    ~Miss Meg

    1. Thank you Miss Meg!! And yes, I am eighteen . . . gosh, what a dinosaur :P

  6. YAY YAY YAY!! Let the glory and grandeur begin!!!

    And happy birthday Rosie. :-)

    Ahh, the heroines of western drama and how we love them. Clara, Dr. Mike, Sun Fu and Nola are some of my favorites too. And now I REALLY want to see 'Stagecoach' because Dallas sounds so fantastic. Great list, Olivia!

  7. I've seen just a few of these: Stagecoach, The Apple Dumpling Gang, and The War Wagon (haven't seen that one in years!), but good choices! I feel like the character of Dallas, like a lot of elements in Stagecoach, has been imitated so many times that it begins to be a little tiresome, but when you try to forget about that and go back and watch the movie just for itself, you appreciate how good it is.

    I'd have to think a while before doing a whole list of favorite heroines, but one who sticks in my mind is perhaps an unlikely pick: Clementine Carter from My Darling Clementine, which I reviewed for last year's Western Week. She's just such a lovely combination of sweet and sensible.

  8. I LOVE lists and much enjoyed your post! (As a side note, I think Dusty absolutely counts. She was one of the first 'western' heroines I ever saw in film -- and definitely the one that got me intrigued/starting to love them. ;D)

    And squeeeeeee...!!! I was scrolling through and couldn't believe my eyes when I got to your choice for heroine #1! And then I was reading through your summary and happened to think, "I wonder if she remembers our conversations about this last year? That'd be fun." Then you actually linked over to my review! Wowza. And awwww.... thank you so much for your kind words, dear!! ;)

    Also, I don't know if you're collecting links too, but here's my review post for this year: http://ladyofanorien.blogspot.com/2016/08/movie-review-westward-ho-wagons-1956.html

    Thank you so much again for hosting this! It's been a splendiferous week... I've really and truly heartily enjoyed it!!

  9. Soooo . . . apparently I never responded to any of these comments??

    *face palm*

    *goes away and hides in a corner*

    I'm so sorry, y'all. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR COMMENTS. <3


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