Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Making of Guns of Ponderosa -- Part X


Richard Wheeler wrote a western novel entitled Drum's Ring. The heroine, Angie Drum, is a frontier woman who took over her husband's newspaper after his death. She uses the paper to expose graft and corruption in the town, including that of her own son, the mayor.

My Prudence Comstock is a young Angie Drum. She has found her niche in the newspaper business, and loves writing scorching pieces about the town, from her viewpoint. In reporting happenings, she also climbs on the soap box to preach to her readers about the kind of town she believes Ponderosa can be.

Although Prudence did not come to the same end as Angie, she did come very close.

Women in the west were no pansies. Take Lee Whipple-Haslam, for example. (notice the last name, lol). She was hired by Wells Fargo to ride a frequently robbed stagecoach. She was to provide detailed descriptions of the robbers. That she did. Height. Size. Clothing. Blood seeping through one man's glove. Cataract in another man's eye. Lee's testimony convicted the robbers. Lee was a typical westerner. She wanted revenge, was very aware of class distinctions, hated Chinese, and was all in favor of linchings. Information about Lee and other women in the west can be found in So Much to Be Done, a book edited by Ruth B. Moynhan, Susan Armitage, and Christiane Fischer Dichamp. You can find the book here.

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