The brooding Western genre has always been billed as a male driven one (like with, most Hollywood genres.) Anyway, the whole scintillating desert brimming with outlaws, gunslingers, and really gruff Sheriffs has been largely monopolised by swaggering men and their outrageously big guns….
Anyway, in the deserts and dust-filled down live a large amount of women who do much more than shriek and show their bloomers to wily men. To celebrate the release of Jane Got a Gun, here’s a list of Wonderful Women from the West!
Calamity Jane – Calamity Jane (1953)
The musical hijinks of the titular character has enhanced Sunday viewings for half a century. Generations have poured their hearts and lungs into the story of a Whip-Cracking Lass and her adventures in love, outlaws, and protecting her little town from conmen. It’s perhaps Doris Day’s most acclaimed work: Her bright eyed, blond-haired locks in chaps, sparring with…well…chaps… will put a spring in your step and a song in your heart. Not only that, the romance that blossoms between Jane and Wild Bill is fantastic!
Mattie Ross – True Grit (2010)
At just fourteen, Hailee Steinfeld was one of the youngest actresses to ever be nominated for an Academy Award and it was through this Coen Brothers’ remake in which she earned the acclaim. Though we are still utterly repulsed by the idea of reboots and classic films getting a shake over, occasionally, a brilliant adaptation worms its way and could, possibly, be better than the original. It helps that you have a stunning female lead charging across the screen with all the might and will to find the men who killed her father. She also serves as a great buffer to Jeff Bridges’ stern and incomprehensible Cogburn.
Broomhilda Von Shaft – Django Unchained (2012)
Django Unchained is, of its most simplistic nature, a fairy-tale where a Prince saves a Princess from a wickedly moustached villain. The Quentin Tarantino Western romp is by far one of his best in terms of characters and narrative. Whilst you could easily sluice Broomhilda down to just a Damsel in Distress, awaiting her titular husband to come save her, the brilliant Kerry Washington really instils resilience, determination, and survival into her character. She’s a woman who walked through fire and will do so again to get her freedom with the man she loves in a completely engaging way.
Helen Ramirez – High Noon (1953)
Katy Juardo’s stunning portrayal of a grieving woman is every bit as steely and strong as modern female characters. Though the main character really flocks to Amy Fowler, it’s Helen Ramirez’ quiet and unassuming hero who is a complete powerhouse of a woman. Comforting her dying husband by a lake, Ramirez is fiercely capable yet fragile and emotive. The performance here helped her Juardo score an Academy Award nomination, being the first Latin American actress to do so.
Annabelle Bransford – Maverick (1994)
Oh, I’m not going to lie. This film is a complete joy to me and, whilst it may be cheesy and outrageous, it makes me laugh every time. Plus, it stars one of the best actresses of all time Jodie Foster who puts up with the gruff of Mel Gibson and James Garner. Based on a television series of the same name, Maverick sees men battle out their wits with a high-stakes poker game across the river. Jodie Foster’s Annabelle matches every man she meets in daring battles and escapades, all whilst wearing a corset. Fun, hilarious, and great to watch, Maverick is another family adventure great!
Who would you add to the list?
JANE GOT A GUN IS OUT ON DVD AND BLU-RAY NOW
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