Gunslingers and Penslingers: Tenacious Women of the Wild West

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Wild west women sharpshooters, gunslingers, spies, prostitutes, stagecoach robbers, authors, and more!

Presented by Dr. Renea Frey

Women in the 19th century American west, while still constrained by the conventions of the time, had relatively more freedom to transgress norms in the “wide open spaces” of uncharted territory. Some women became sharpshooters, gunslingers, spies, prostitutes, or stagecoach robbers, while others wrote about the difficulties encountered in the lonely, harsh conditions. This presentation will discuss some of the infamous women of the West, such as Calamity Jane, Annie Oakley, Belle Starr, Julia Bulette, Willa Cather, Susan Shelby Magoffin and others.

Renea Frey is a professor of Rhetoric and the Writing Program Director in the English Department at Xavier University. Her research interests include nineteenth-century, persuasion, culture, and discourse, including women’s writing and diversity rhetorics.



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