What was life like in the Wild West for women? As it turns out, it was a surprisingly progressive place in terms of women’s rights. Women could divorce more easily, own property, claim a homestead, open a business, and in some territories even vote. So how did it get to be as progressive as it was?
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Go west, young man.
That’s the phrase you always hear, right? What you never hear is: Go west, young woman.
And yet, as it turns out, the West was a surprisingly promising place for women. And not just ladies of the night, either, but all sorts of women.
See, as we heard last time, the Wild West was one and the same with the Victorian world, and
as much as cowboys struggled to gain respect within traditional Victorian ideals, women struggled even more. I mean, sure, women were celebrated as paragons of virtue, but to avoid falling off that very high pedestal, you had to have the balance of a gymnast. You had to maintain a pristine reputation, unsullied by divorce, any whiff of sexuality, or even public activity of any kind. You had to be a perfect domestic angel. And let us not forget, you also pretty much had to be White.
But in the West, where women were rare and their traditional skills in high demand, women found considerably more freedom. For example, unlike in the East, women could own their own property (with or without a husband, mind you!), divorce more easily, live post-divorce without a ruined reputation, go into business for themselves, and claim a homestead as a single woman all on her lonesome. And territories in the West were even the first to pass women’s suffrage.
But wait, wait, wait. Hold on there, pardner. Are you telling me the West was some kind of feminist fairy tale?
Well, no, it was no fairy tale. It was a tough place for anyone to live, but especially for women, full of misogyny and violence. And those who were not White Anglo-Saxon had a rougher time still.
And yet, believe it or not, in this respect, the Wild West was surprisingly progressive for its day. It’s an upside-down, topsy-turvy view compared to the image you may have received from the movies. But nevertheless, it’s true.
So, what was life like in the Wild West for women? And how did it get to be as progressive as it was?
That’s what we’re talking about in today’s episode. I’m B. T. Newberg, and this is The History of Sex.
I’d like to thank our patron Shannon Kitzel for making this episode possible.
This is part two of our series Sex in the Wild West, and today we’re focusing on women and the surprisingly forward-looking atmosphere in the Western territories of the United States.
In the series Deadwood, there’s a woman (I won’t say who, for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet) who goes into business for herself and opens a bank, which was pretty much unheard of in the 19th century. Similarly, in the much less famous but also excellent series Godless, a woman runs a ranch on her own. Both of these very modern Westerns depict strong female characters venturing into traditionally male occupations. Well, sure, that’s great cinema fit for our sensibilities today, but it’s not historically accurate – or is it?
As it turns out, it just might be the case that these modern, so-called “revisionist” Westerns are more true to history than you might think.
The traditional image of women in the West, both from movies and from academia, is of the sunbonnetted helpmate, bravely but often begrudgingly following a male West into the frontier. They were “gentle tamers” in the words of 20th-century scholar Dee Brown, who was one of the first to recognize the contributions of women to the West at all. However, more recent scholarship, starting in the 80s and continuing into the 21st century, has unearthed the ways in which this image doesn’t even come close to depicting the variety of experience of Western women, much less the ways in which they pushed forward the frontier not only of settlement but of gender as well.
Because although the trek West was led by men in terms of sheer numbers, it was not always led by men on an individual basis. Many women went on their own, or with mothers or sisters (Jensen and Miller, p. 183). When they did make the long wagon journey with men, they encountered a situation along the trail where whatever had to be done had to be done by whoever was available, so gender roles quickly broke down as women helped out with male chores and men helped out with female chores (Gallagher, p. 4). And when they arrived at their destination in the West, they found they were not the same people who had left the rigidly-gendered East.
Despite the largely male-dominated image we get from the movies, the West was a place for women too. And not just as sun-bonnetted drudges following behind some man. The West was in fact a place where women kicked over the traces (kick over the traces: to throw off normal restraints or routine, as a rowdy horse might kick or jump over the traces hitching it to a wagon).
That’s authentic frontier lingo right there, and I’ll continue to point it out as we go along in this series.
So, first off, pop quiz: When did women win the vote nationally in the U.S.? Anyone, anyone?
It was 1919, just after WWI. In our earlier series, Sex in the Third Reich, we saw that Germany beat that by one year, in 1918. Most European nations in the world also passed women’s suffrage around that time or a little earlier.
Now, when did women win the vote in the Western territories of the U.S.? Anyone, anyone?
The first to pass full women’s suffrage was the territory of Wyoming, which did so right after it first formed as a territory, granting the vote all the way back in 1869. That’s exactly 50 years before national suffrage in the US. In other words, for pretty much the entire heyday of the cowboy, from the end of the civil war in 1865 to the closing of the frontier in 1890, the timespan of pretty much all those Western movies you’ve seen, women in Wyoming territory could head to the polls right alongside everyone else. And she could run for public office too.
Utah Territory followed closely a year later in 1870. Meanwhile, suffrage bills came within a hair’s breadth of passing in Washington, Nebraska, Dakota, Kansas, Oregon, and California. There was something in the air in the Western states and territories.
Now, to be clear, this comes with a whole lot of asterisks, the biggest of which was that it really only had White women in mind. I mean, it applied to all women technically. Full suffrage in Wyoming Territory did extend also to women of color, and some did actually vote in the ensuing election of 1870, but there was a hair in the butter (hair in the butter: a delicate situation). As Wyoming Supreme Court Justice John Kingman recalls in the city of Cheyenne:
“Carriages were employed by the candidates to bring ladies to the polls. At the hotel were a number of colored girls employed as servants. After a while a carriage drove up with four of these colored girls in it. They were helped out, and as they went up to the polls the crowd quietly parted; they voted and returned to the carriage without a word said. Then I breathed freely; I knew that all was safe.” (WyoHistory.org)
As you can clearly hear in those words, the situation boiled with tension. It wasn’t that these were women (I mean, candidates were literally drawing in women by the carriage load); rather, it was specifically that these women were Black. Kingman clearly feared violence would erupt. This was, after all, only 5 years after the Civil War and the end of slavery. And, as Kingman himself notes, Wyoming was full of Southern men and Copperheads (i.e. Northerners who supported secession and came to the territories to avoid being drafted into the Union army). So, election day could easily have turned into lynching day.
Fortunately, it didn’t. Justice Kingman let out a sigh of relief as the event passed without note. But clearly, it was a matter of tension. That women of color would also be allowed to vote was not assumed.
And you know, seen in that light, imagine the courage it must have taken for those four Black women to step out of that carriage and brave the ballot box on that tense Wyoming day. I’m sure they knew just as much as the justice how much danger they were in. And yet, they did it anyway. Those women had grit. (grit: unyielding courage, stamina, and fortitude).
But grit wasn’t always enough. Even after it became clear that Black women could in fact vote legally under the new law, many still were not able to do so in practicality, due to widespread voter suppression.
Moreover, some women suffragists, before and after, actually campaigned on an explicitly White supremacist agenda, arguing that the vote for women would increase the White tally.
One broadside poster from 1912 headlines: “Votes for Women Will Improve the Electorate,” and goes on to say, “It will more than double the native White majority” (Women at the Center). It then provides male and female population figures comparing “foreign born”, “Negro”, and “native White” populations. The pamphlet shows with mathematical precision how suffrage would increase the White vote tally over and against Blacks and immigrants. So, that’s pretty darn clear: some campaigned for women’s suffrage using explicitly White supremacist arguments.
Now, let’s talk about that poster’s phrase “native White,” because from our perspective today, the first thing that probably comes to mind from the word “native” is Native Americans. But if you said “Native American” to whoever composed this poster, they would have understood you to mean a White person who was not a recent immigrant. Meanwhile, actual Native Americans, i.e. American Indians, are nowhere to be found in this poster. They’re not even an afterthought here. And yet, as we all know, this was all happening on lands which had been stolen from them.
So, in short, when we talk about the Western territories being progressive for women, there are some pretty big asterisks on that statement. Nevertheless, the achievement of women’s suffrage in Wyoming Territory, and then in Utah Territory, and it’s near-achievement all across the West, was still a landmark for women’s rights. And it happened right there in that least-expected of places, the Wild West.
Why Early Suffrage in Territories
So, how were women able to win the vote so early in the West? There were several reasons.
The first was pure political process: territories only required a majority vote and the governor’s signature, but states required a full-on constitutional amendment, which demanded a 60% vote in both houses, governor’s approval, and approval of the people in a special election (Fleming). So, that made it easier to pass in terms of pure voting mechanics.
But there were other, much more interesting reasons as well.
The most important reason was quite simple: on the frontier, women were rare. And that meant their skills were in demand.
This is how rare women were. In 1870, in Oregon the ratio of males to females was 2 to 1, in Arizona 4 to 1, Nevada 5 to 1, Idaho and Montana 8 to 1. Other places could be even higher, especially in the early days. In Colorado in 1860, the first year of the gold rush, the ratio of males to female shot to a whopping 34 to 1. Such numbers leveled off with time, but in Wyoming on the eve of passing suffrage, the ratio there was still 6 men for every woman (Jensen and Miller, p.189). So, women on the frontier were rare.
That made them in demand. And I don’t mean just as sexual objects. They were in demand also because they had valuable skills – skills that may not have been appreciated until they were gone, but once they were, boy were they missed. Cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening, childrearing – all the traditionally female-coded skills. These were all things men would line up for. So, on the frontier, when a woman brew a strong cup of Arbuckle’s (Arbuckle’s: coffee), or cooked a batch of bear signs or splatter dabs (bear signs: donuts; splatter dabs: pancakes), you know darn well people would come from miles around and pay top dollar.
In short, women were in demand, and that empowered them to make demands. That is how women managed to win the vote in a place like Wyoming. And the situation was similar all over the West. Suffrage bills came within a hair’s breadth of passing in all over the frontier, Wyoming just happened to be one of two places it did in fact pass.
The other was Utah, and the situation there was actually rather different. Unlike in most other places, the sex ratio in Utah Territory was more or less 1:1 due to the settlement of Mormon families in whole. However, Mormon culture led to progress for women in some surprising ways.
That might sound like an oxymoron to some. The most widespread stereotype of Mormons is that they were polygamous, which may not sound very progressive. Now, to be clear, the vast majority of Mormon churches ban polygamy today, and even in the 19th century only about 20-30% of families ever practiced it (Flake, p. 65, 192). Nevertheless, it was a historical practice, and it did have certain effects that contributed to the territory’s receptivity to women’s suffrage. Historian Winifred Gallagher describes the situation:
“Mormon women… lived within a patriarchal structure, but even before the rights movement, they enjoyed what amounted to divorce on demand and certain property entitlements. Men obliged to build the New Jerusalem mandated by God needed capable partners who could function independently and make decisions; many had to support themselves and their children during their husbands’ frequent absences on church business or visits to other, sometimes distant families. Accordingly, Mormon girls were raised to be self-sufficient and resourceful rather than dependent on men.” (Gallagher, p. 63)
Gallagher goes on to note the suffragist activities of Mormon women, including Emmeline Woodward Harris Whitney Wells, an influential journalist in Salt Lake City, who even ran for public office, and wrote “All honor and reverence to good men… but they and their attentions are not the only sources of happiness on earth, and need not fill up every thought of woman” (quoted in Gallagher, p. 64).
Whatever else you might say about the historical practice of Mormon polygamy, it does seem to have contributed to the early victory of suffrage for women in Utah Territory.
So, in short, women in the West were relatively empowered compared to back East. In the case of Utah, that came from cultural or religious sources, whereas across most of the West it was due to the scarcity of women. Women were in demand, that gave them power, and they used that power to expand beyond the strict walled garden of Victorian traditionally female-coded affairs.
So, women won the vote early. That’s huge, but that wasn’t all that made the West a place for women. Not by a longshot. What about the rest of women’s experience? How else did the progressive mood of the frontier impact their day to day lives? We’re going to find out in just a moment, but first, we’ll take a short break, and we’ll be back after this.
With the added respect gained from being in demand, women found themselves able to push the boundaries into more male-coded frontiers.
For example, Clara Shortridge Foltz became the West Coast’s first female attorney. Laura de Force Gordon became California’s second female lawyer and first female newspaper publisher. Esther Hobart Morris of Wyoming became the nation’s first female judge. Oregonian Bethenia Owens-Adair became a doctor. Susan La Flesche Picotte of the Omaha tribe became the nation’s first Native American doctor. Martha Maxwell became a renowned hunter, naturalist, and taxonomist. And then of course there were women like Annie Oakley, who achieved international fame as a crackshot sharpshooter.
These women pushed the boundaries of what it meant to be a women. But it wasn’t only these intrepid pioneers who benefited from the progressive attitude of the frontier. The average Jane Doe also saw her lot improve.
For one thing, compared to the East, women were much more free to divorce. In the East, one might find her reputation ruined for life from such a scandal, but in the West, where wives were hard to come by, men couldn’t afford to be choosey, while women could. If they found themselves in a poor match, they had the power to leave. As in the East, they still needed a legal reason, like adultery, desertion, or extreme physical abuse, but many Western courts were more lenient.
Gallagher writes: “Many courts tacitly acknowledged that the real issue was often incompatibility, however, and added ‘mental cruelty’ to the list. Judges also frequently awarded the custody of children to mothers rather than fathers, which was rare back East. California allowed divorce in 1850 and soon granted the most decrees of any state in America. By the next decade, the Dakotas, along with Utah, were dubbed ‘divorce mills'” (p. 48-49).
So, women in the West had more power to divorce, more legal means to do so, and suffered less stigma for doing it.
For another thing, women were more able to attend college. The Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862 created nearly 100 tuition-free coed colleges, two-thirds of which were in the West. (Gallagher, p. xx)
Next, women could establish a homestead in their own name, with or without a husband. The Homestead Act, also in 1862, allowed homesteaders to claim 160 acres of “free” land (actually Native American land, but we’ll leave that for now) (Gallagher, p. xix). The only provision being they had to live on it for a number of years and improve the property in a process called “proving up”, which women, with their traditional domestic skills, often proved better able than men to successfully achieve. Between 1863 and 1889, in Minnesota alone, some 2400 female heads of household homesteaded in their own name (Gallagher, p. 70).
Finally, women in the West could own their own property. It didn’t matter if they had a husband or not, their own stuff was their own stuff. Now, not only did this grant women greater independence, but it also meant they could be proprietors of their own businesses.
This was radical. In the East, especially the South, any whiff of public activity might tarnish a respectable lady’s reputation (Gallagher, p. 24). But in the West, necessity allowed much more leeway. And you remember that list of highly in-demand skills? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to realize the business potential there. Many women got quite flush. (flush: prosperous, rich)
As Gallagher puts it: ” Seizing an economic opportunity available to them nowhere else, some ambitious women, most from the working class, rushed to supply the miners with the domestic skills that husbands got for free” (p. 15).
A vivid example of entrepreneurial adventure can be found in the story of Luzena Stanley Wilson. In 1849, she moved to California with her husband for the gold rush. In the town where they arrived, she found herself one of only three women in a town of 6000. You can imagine how that turned out. Gallagher relates:
“One morning, a man paid her $5 for a breakfast – about $168 today – and she noted that ‘if I had asked ten dollars he would have paid it'” (p. 15).
Sensing opportunity, Wilson resolved to open a boardinghouse, and brought her husband in has a partner. Note the word “partner” – it was not automatic that he was involved; they were voluntary business partners.
They sold their oxen, and with the proceeds bought a boardinghouse. Wilson’s reaction upon her first visit to the shabby place is priceless:
“several miners drank at a bar, one lonely man wept over a letter, some invalids slept, and from one bed ‘stared the white face of a corpse… a silent unheeded witness to the acquired insensibility of the early settlers'” (p. 16).
Undaunted, though, Wilson cleaned the place up, named it the El Dorado, and soon was raking in the dinero (dinero: money). Soon she had up to 200 boarders paying $25 each a week (more than $800 each today).
In the end, however, she came a cropper. (come a cropper: to come to ruin) Fire destroyed the El Dorado, leaving her broke and homeless, but she landed on her feet:
“Traveling through the fertile Sacramento Valley, they paused at a pleasant spot near Vacaville, where Wilson soon set up shop beneath an oak tree, posted with a sign reading WILSON’s HOTEL. The first customers of yet another successful female enterprise dined atop stumps and slept behind hay bales” (p. 19).
Many others followed Wilson’s example, each to her talents. Mary Ballou, for example, brewed coffee that was “strong enough for any man to walk on who had faith as Peter had” (p. 18). I’m not quite sure what that means, but it sounds good! I’d pay four bucks for that!
In short, women found a surprisingly progressive atmosphere in the West, where their relative scarcity placed their traditional skills in high demand, resulting in political, legal, and material improvements.
Beyond Racial Boundaries
Women saw substantial improvements in the West, but then again there were those pesky asterisks. What about women of color? What about Black women, Asian women, or Native American women? Did they enjoy similar improvements in their day-to-day lives? Were they also able to vote, divorce more easily, own property, homestead in their own name, or own businesses?
Well, on the one hand, Black and Asian women were also scarce, and so you might wonder if they didn’t also see at least some benefit, albeit perhaps manifesting in different ways within their own cultures. And technically, the laws underlying many of these privileges, such as suffrage and the Homestead Act, did not specifically deny any race. We saw earlier how Black women were in fact allowed to vote in Wyoming, held breaths notwithstanding.
However, I could not turn up any research that positively showed an improvement for women of color. I mean, first off, Native American women, not being citizens until 1924, would have enjoyed few if any of the legal privileges mentioned. Before the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, there were pathways to citizenship for Native Americans set up under various acts, but they usually involved giving up the tribal way of life in one way or another, and going through the same naturalization process as an immigrant coming in through Ellis Island. So you have a situation where the vast majority of Native American women were legally treated as aliens in their own land, and likely saw few of the benefits we’ve been talking about.
Meanwhile, for Blacks and Asians, the mood was trending not in a progressive direction but in a regressive one. See, at the very same time that bills for women’s suffrage were being put before Western states and territories, so too were laws against miscegenation, i.e. intermarriage between races, which usually specifically called out Blacks and Asians as forbidden from marrying Whites. And while the suffrage bills struggled to pass, the miscegenation laws breezed through with little objection. Now, I realize that’s not really in the same category as most of the privileges we’ve been talking about in this episode, but it does show a general hardening of racial attitudes during this period. So, I struggle to believe that women of color would have shared in much of the improvement we’ve been talking about. In fact, I suspect rather the opposite.
Nevertheless, there were success stories for women of color during this period. They were fewer and farther between, but they were there. For example, there was Colorado’s Clara Brown, a Black laundress who became an investor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist (Gallagher, p. 30). Mary Ellen Pleasant, also Black, was an abolitionist with her own business empire (Gallagher, p. 29). There was Sing Choy, the unofficial leader of Tombstone’s Chinese community in the 1880s, who supplied labor and opened laundries, restaurants, gambling halls, opium dens, and a general store (Craven). We already heard mention of Susan La Flesche, the Omaha tribeswoman who became the nation’s first Native American doctor. There was also Zitkála-Šá, Dakota writer, rights activist, and musician (Gallgher, p. xx). And there was Nampeyo, a Hopi potter who led a renaissance of Hopi pottery, and is still considered one of the most influential Hopi artists even today (Craven).
Now, the successes of these women of color may have been in spite of, rather than because of, the mood of the day, but they were successes nonetheless. And they deserve credit all the more for that reason.
So we have a bit of a split story between White women and women of color, but then there were those who fell somewhere in-between.
Mexican American women at this time were not not considered White at this time, but they were not quite fully White yet either. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War and ceded to the U.S. much of what is now the Southwest, guaranteed Mexicans citizenship without reference to race. Thus, with this precedent, they avoided the kind of miscegenation laws that oppressed Blacks, Asians, and sometimes Native Americans. Legally speaking, they were White. However, their Whiteness continued to be questioned in actual practice. For example, as historian Rachel F. Moran writes: “whatever the law, registrars often informally denied marriage licenses to Mexicans who looked too dark to marry a White person” (p. 8). Moreover, the Rodriguez court case in 1897 begrudgingly upheld the citizenship rights of Mexican Americans as White legally, but remarked that they were probably not white according to anthropology (Gross, p. 198). Thus, Mexican American women found themselves in an in-between state, a sort of racial no-woman’s land. Correspondingly, they may have enjoyed some of the privileges we’ve discussed today, but not all, or not fully.
Nevertheless, there are success stories there too, such as entrepreneur and casino-owner Doña Gertrudis Barceló, whom Gallagher calls “Santa Fe’s most powerful women” (p. 32).
Thus, the story of women of color, and women who were White but perhaps not quite fully White according to people of the time, was one of struggle. The mood was not trending in their favor, but some still managed to make a go of it. And when they did, you can bet that they waked snakes. (wake snakes: to cause a fuss, raise a ruckus).
That leaves this episode on a bittersweet note as we prepare to ride off into the sunset here. The Wild West was a surprisingly progressive place, with asterisks. It saw substantial improvements, but the realization of those improvements may have depended on the color of one’s skin. It was a place for women, but not necessarily for all women. It just goes to show that progressive in one way does not necessarily equal progressive in another.
And you know, just because the West was not exceptional in every way, doesn’t erase the fact that it was exceptional in the ways we’ve been talking about. Women did win suffrage early, and many could divorce more easily, own property, claim a homestead, and open a business. It was not like that back East.
So, by way of conclusion, I can say, however bittersweetly, that the frontier had a far richer relationship to women than I ever expected. The sun that blazed over the covered wagons and the stagecoaches and railway lines cast its light not only on men but also on women. Women too cast long shadows in the Wild West.
When I first started researching this topic, I figured our episode on the typical Jane Doe of the West would be a little bland. I too had been taken in by the sunbonnetted helpmate stereotype. I mean, sure, I had seen modern Westerns with strong female characters. The series Deadwood shows a respectable lady doing business on her own and even opening a bank. And, a little less famous, the series Godless depicts a woman running her own ranch. But I just assumed that was modern sensibilities reflected in modern cinema. I never dreamed it was actually grounded in historical accuracy.
But it is. As we’ve seen today, these modern, so-called “revisionist” Westerns are actually sometimes more true to history than the traditional John Wayne, Gary Cooper, or Clint Eastwood flick.
The fact of the matter was that women were scarce on the frontier, and thus their skills were in demand. Being in demand, they had more power to make demands. Consequently, the Wild West became a more progressive place for women than you may ever have suspected. They could divorce more easily and with less stigma. They could homestead in their own name. They could own their own property. They could go into business for themselves. In Wyoming and Utah Territories, they could vote. The West was a place for women too.
On the other hand, that didn’t mean the West was a perfectly safe place for them. As we’ll see next time in our episode on cross-dressing on the frontier, many women felt unsafe traveling alone, and cross-dressed as men in order to arrive unmolested at their destination. So, no, it was no feminist fairy-tale, but it was a place that was far more female-friendly than we are typically led to believe.
And consequently, many answered that fateful call:
Go west, young woman.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for you today, folks. I hope you learned something today; I certainly did. If you like what we’re doing here, you can subscribe, rate, and review on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast platform. Or you can pledge on Patreon, where $5 a month gets you a portrait drawn in the time period and culture of your choosing. I will draw you as a plucky, upstart suffragist braving the ballot box, or a pioneering entrepreneur challenging norms for that sweet cha-ching. Or whatever you want. I’ll make you look awesome, I promise. Just go to http://www.patreon.com/btnewberg. That’s patreon.com/btnewberg.
Next time, we’re going to veer into the queer as we explore the surprisingly high number of cases of cross-dressing on the frontier. What was it like for those who dressed as men or as women contrary to social expectations? Why did so many do it? One reason, as we just heard, was for women to feel safe traveling, but there was a whole lot more than that, stuff that raises questions of identity, gender fluidity, and social rebellion.
That’s planned for next episode, if all goes well. Fingers crossed.
Alright folks, I’ll see you next time. I’m B. T. Newberg, and this is The History of Sex.
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Sources for Authentic Frontier Lingo
Other audio from:
“Girls Gone Wild (West)” skit mixed from “Wild West Piano Music” from Addison ZP, “Festival Sounds” by Played N Faved, “Female Crowd Celebration” by Free Sound Effects, “Old Camera Flash Sound Effect” by EPICSoundFX, “Sound Effect Gavel Hit Call to Order” from SoundEffects HD Indie Studios, “Cow Moo Sound Effect” by Nagaty Studios, “Hand Saw Sound Effect” by Nagaty Studios, “Cash Register Sound Effect” by Played N Faved, “Horse Cart (Carriage) Sound Effect” by Chandar Prakesh, “Coins Sound Effect” by Nagaty Studios, “Pencil Writing Close Sound” by Best Music BS, and “Giddy up” by AngryJeezus.
All narration and voice acting by B. T. Newberg
Victorian lady silhouette from PublicDomainPictures.net