Friday night was dinner and a movie night.  Mom worked nights. My sister was usually busy with friends. That left Dad and me to eat at Chins or The Taxi Cab Café and then stroll down the block to Partrick’s Candy for a pound of light chocolates – vanilla, mint, walnut, and maplenut filling only – to share during the show.

Dad always picked the movie and he always chose a western. Secretly, I had a crush on Clint Walker and James Gardner, but John Wayne was perfectly acceptable. I fell in love with the wide-open scenery in those westerns, adored the morality plays all done up with horses and dust and smoking pistols, fell for the slow-talking men every time. But what I did not enjoy – what made me squirm in my seat, look over at Dad to catch his reaction – was the role of women in those old movies.

McLintock is a classic example. I mean, what woman wouldn’t fall for a guy who lifted her skirt and publically spanked her to demonstrate his need to be boss and hers to be dominated. There were strong women in these movies, oh, yes, but women who, ultimately, submitted to the stronger men in their lives. That’s a powerful message for a thirteen year-old girl in 1963.

Forty years after those Friday night movies with Dad, I had the great good fortune to attend the Northwest Arkansas Writer’s Workshop in Fayetteville, Arkansas for several years. The NWAWW is the creation of Dusty Richards and Velda Brotherton. Brotherton writes cross-genre, and makes it all look easy. Dusty writes westerns. Period. 120 westerns at last count. There are no better teachers and mentors for a new writer.

Under their influence, I decided to try my hand at writing a western or two. But, from the beginning, I wanted my westerns to show a truer picture of women in the old west. A picture that investigated the complexity of these women and the hardships they endured.

Think crossing the prairie in a covered wagon is difficult? Try it while pregnant.  Imagine homesteading with your nearest neighbor miles away would test your gumption? Try it while nursing a baby. Think cooking over an open fire would be challenging?  Try it while caring for an energetic toddler.

I was determined to write westerns that told the truth about women’s lives. So when AIW Publishing decided to put together Unshod, an anthology of traditional and contemporary short stories, I was delighted to have a story included. If you enjoy good writing, you’ll like this anthology. The book has been out a little over twenty-four hours and it’s already on Amazon’s Best Seller List. If you’re a fan of the western short story, you are going to find yourself grinning from ear-to-ear. Along the way, you just might discover nine new authors whose work you’ll want to follow closely.

As for me, I’ve downloaded Unshod. My light chocolate creams are safe in their white Partrick’s bag. I intend to curl up and indulge in some fine western story telling. Somewhere Dad is grinning. I know he is.


About Author and Speaker Pamela Foster

Pamela Foster is a speaker and author. Her first book, Redneck Goddess, is available at local bookstores and on Amazon. Her second book, Bigfoot Blues, will be available in August 2012.
This entry was posted in About Writing, pamela foster, staci troilo, joan hall, p.c. zick, janna hill, michele jones, francis guenette, lorna faith, jan morrill, Uncategorized, westerns, women writing, unshod, anthology,. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to UNSHOD

  1. Joan says:

    Pamela, I grew up watching westerns and still enjoy a good John Wayne movie – even a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western. I enjoyed your story, and you are correct women didn’t have it easy in those days. They had to be strong.

    I can also remember my father reading Louis L’Amour books and can imagine he is smiling down right now.

  2. Love being part of this short story anthology. I enjoyed every story in the book!

  3. You hit the nail on the head with early westerns. Strong women dominated by stronger men. It’s good to show how women can handle themselves independently.

  4. Jan Morrill says:

    I wish I’d known you at thirteen. You were strong even then. Me? I don’t remember even questioning the submissive role of women, which is strange, considering how strong my mom was! Very nice post, Pam. Can’t wait to read your story! Love you!

  5. Lorna Faith says:

    Loved reading about your childhood Western movie nights with your Dad, Pamela 🙂 How fun! We didn’t have a T.V. until I was 16 years old – so I didn’t see John Wayne until much later – but I remember reading westerns stories too and loving them. Sounds like you also had a strong mom… what an inspiration!

  6. P. C. Zick says:

    Thank you for this post!

  7. Herb Hawn says:


    I’ve been looking for something to read that is different. I think that you just told me what it will be. Thanks.

    There is a statue in Ponca, Oklahoma (?), dedicated to Pioneer Women. It is a beautiful statue showing a woman in full skirts hugging her children. I tried three times before I found the associated museum open. What you say about the woman’s role is so true. It took a strong person to make that trip. Women certainly didn’t get a free ride.


    – herb


  8. Natine says:

    Checked in to see what you’re up to, and NEW STORY! Heading over to Amazon to get my copy. My husband loves westerns – grew up with them – and he’s an avid John Wayne and Clint Eastwood fan. McLintock was the first JW movie I knew by name; I was maybe 11 when I saw it on late-night TV while babysitting. You’re right; message was not a good one for impressionable girls.

  9. Herb Hawn says:


    I did click on your new book and it seems to be free on Amazon. I like the price but that is not helping you very much??

    I’m sure that I will enjoy it though.

    How is Jack doing? I hope that life is good for you two. Veronica and I are doing well.

    – herb hawn


    C 501-681-2056

    Those who do not read have no advantage over those who cannot read. ________________________________

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