Rosanne: Right. One of the great comparisons people will make – and I adore “Star Wars” and we’re going to talk about “Star Wars” and how that’s really a western –
Rosanne: I adore “Star Wars” but of course, that’s the lesson that you know young Luke Skywalker learns whereas you compare that to – and there’s a lovely Ted Talk that does this – “The Wizard of Oz”, which is a female heroine and what she does is she takes the group around her, empowers all of them to do their best, and as a team they succeed and those – that’s a different look at our West but we know the West did not survive because one or two men took on one or two other people. It survived because great communities of people came together right and did that and on the flip side –when we think about Native Americans – they all fought together as well. It wasn’t just the male warriors. The women were upholding all these things and they also took the brunt of the disease that was passed and all those things. So the community idea is really what – I think – we all succeed at and by not seeing that side of a story, we’re telling men they have too much work to do all by themselves and that’s not fair.
Host: that’s a great way to tell – I’ll teach my daughter that.
The Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting is building a relationship with the Autry Museum of the American West since both organizations are devoted to bringing out more diverse and untold stories. Last year we were able to take our cohort of graduating MFA candidates to the museum’s theatre for a showing of Michael Wilson’s Salt of the Earth and we had plans to present a film of our choice this year – but of course the pandemic changed all that. Instead, Autry Curator Josh Garrett-Davis asked me if I would sit for an interview about female screenwriters in the western genre and so “When Women Wrote Westerns” came to be a part of their “What Is a Western? Interview Series”.
I had a great time discussing so many wonderful women writers – from Jeanne MacPherson to D.C. Fontana to Edna Ferber to Emily Andras. If you love westerns I suggest you watch Josh’s other interviews covering everything from the work of Native Americans in Western movies to films in the western-horror hybrid. —
What this entire presentation
As part of a series exploring the significance of the Western genre and the ways in which the movies shape our understanding of the American West, Autry Curator Josh Garrett-Davis interviews Professor Rosanne Welch about the women screenwriters of Hollywood and their contributions to the Western genre.