Westward the Women – a great classic Western romance movie


Like a lot of people in my generation, I grew up watching old westerns on TV. That included the classic shows like Bonanza and Big Valley. But I loved movies the best and have seen probably all of them at least once. Some many, many times.

No question, my all-time favorite is Westward the Women. Why? Because at its heart, it’s a romance. Crusty and skeptical wagon master Buck Wyatt is hired to bring a wagon train of respectable women across the country to a small California town populated entirely by men. Fifi Danon and her friend are showgirls trying to escape their current circumstances for a better life. Because “their kind” are being rejected as potential wives, the pair change clothes and masquerade as respectable women in order to join the wagon train.



From the moment the group starts out, the journey is beset with problems. Some of them are external. There’s a flood, an attack, a treacherous descent through the mountains, and a stampede. Then there are the emotional conflicts. A woman is raped. A young man is accidentally killed. A pregnant woman goes into labor. A group of men and women and abandon the wagon train, leaving the rest short-handed and defenseless. And all through their many trials, the completely inexperienced and struggling to survive women hold onto the hope that there’s a man waiting for them at the end of their destination.


Buck and Fifi constantly bicker. Why? Well, they’re fighting their mutual attraction. Buck is moving on to the next wagon train after this. He isn’t about to settle down, much less with a soiled dove. Fifi isn’t interested in a man who can’t see beyond her showgirl past and love her for the good person she is at heart. But, of course, they surprise each other, fall in love, and the journey teaches them both what’s really important in life.

My absolute favorite part of the movie is when the women finally arrive in town. They refuse to go any further until Buck brings them materials so that they can fashion decent clothing. They won’t meet their future husbands in torn, filthy clothes. Turns out, there’s no women’s garments in a town full of men. So, Buck returns with tablecloths and curtains and blankets and whatever else can be found, which the women then make into outfits that manage to be utterly charming.

If you’re a fan of old Western movies and haven’t seen Westward the Women, check out this gem. And then let me know what you think!

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Cathy McDavid has been penning Westerns for Harlequin since 2005. With over 55 titles in print and 1.6 million-plus books sold, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll. This “almost” Arizona native and mother of grown twins is married to her own real-life sweetheart. After leaving the corporate world seven years ago, she now spends her days penning stories about good looking cowboys riding the range, busting broncs, and sweeping gals off their feet — oops, no. Make that winning the hearts of feisty, independent women who give the cowboys a run for their money. It a tough job, but she’s willing to make the sacrifice.

34 thoughts on “Westward the Women – a great classic Western romance movie”

    • I checked and didn’t see any place where it can be watched for free. I guess just keep an eye out of you get any of the cannels or streaming services that show old Westerns.

  1. Good morning, Cathy! Now this is a movie that I would enjoy! Classic romance – all the right conflict and lots of action.

    I’m so glad you recommended it. I’ve made a note. I get in a real rut watching the same stuff on TV and – yuck! – the news. I need something just like WESTWARD THE WOMEN to enjoy.

    Great blog!!

  2. I would like to see the movie, it looks and sounds like it would be one I enjoyed very much!

  3. I think I’ve seen this before, just recently, on GRIT TV. I’ll have to pay more attention next time, as I usually read through movies I have on! Sometimes I only read through commercials, and sometimes miss the whole movie!

  4. I saw the movie yrs ago loved it. They didnt give women credit or bravery then and they dont now.

  5. I have loved watching this movie and them jumping off the raised floor to go with their intendeds!

  6. I have seen this movie at least three times. It is very enjoyable and educational. Women had it rough in those days. I do not think I could have withstood all the incidents they had to face. What stamina and courage they had to have to endure and to tough it out!

  7. I love wagon train books and movies. I even did my senior paper on the Oregon Trail years ago. I haven’t seen this movie yet but I will be watching it. Thank you for letting us know.

  8. It sounds like a movie I saw years ago. If it isn’t the story line is the same, but I couldn’t remember the title. It was a good movie.

  9. Cathy, I adore this movie! Having seen it so many times, I can almost quote the passages by heart. Each time I watch the movie, it reinforces my belief that I should have been born in the 19th century just so I could have crossed the country my wagon train. For me the best part was at the end when each of the women meet the man they selected…as if it was fate all those months ago. It’s a HEA to the nth degree!!! The Italian mother who lost her son discovers her husband-to-be is also Italian; a woman who was near-/far-sighted removes the glasses from her intended so she can see him clearly; and a bride-to-be who said she thought her intended looked taller in his picture, and he replies “I’m tall enough”. Honestly, melts my heart.

    • The ending is the best part. And remember the gal pinning the picture of her man on her mule’s tail so she can look at it the entire trip while she’s driving the wagon. Great story-telling 🙂

  10. I didn’t;t go to the movies when this came out and never did see it on TV. I did watch the previews on line. It looks like it would be a good movie. What surprised me was the emphasis on the women and how capable they were. A feminist message before its time. The didn’t get credit often enough for how well they shared the burden and weathered the hardships over the years. We have a good used DVD store in town and I will look for this movie next time I am in town.

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