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The Guns of Fort Petticoat (1957)

Approved | | Action, Romance, War | April 1957 (USA)
Union Army deserter, Lt. Hewitt, trains a rag tag band of all-female homesteaders to defend themselves against a Comanche tribe on the warpath.



(screenplay), (story)


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Complete credited cast:
Lt. Frank Hewitt
Anne Martin
Hannah Lacey
Mary Wheller
Cora Melavan
Emmett Kettle
Ernestine Wade ...
Lucy Conover
Isobel Elsom ...
Mrs. Charlotte Ogden
Stella Leatham (as Patricia Livingston)
Kim Charney ...
Bax Leatham
Salt Pork


Lt. Frank Hewitt deserts the Union Army to warn former Texas neighbors of impending Indian attacks triggered by Army massacre. He overcomes initial distrust and convinces the homesteaders (all women whose men are away fighting in the Confederate Army) to take refuge in an abandoned mission. He trains them to fight and shoot in anticipation of the attack. The only other man at the mission runs away o save his scalp and ends up leading the Indians back to the mission. Surrounded and outnumbered, the defenders prepare for the final assault.. Written by Rita Richardson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


GOOD WOMEN...BAD WOMEN...BRAWLING WOMEN...BRAVE WOMEN! They were all soldiers in skirts!


Action | Romance | War | Western


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

April 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Fort der mutigen Frauen  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Opening credits: Near the close of the Civil War the Northern Cavalry made every effort to keep the Indian on the reservation. See more »


Many of the women are firing Winchester rifles that were not invented until about 10 years after this movie was said to take place. See more »


Edited into Land Raiders (1969) See more »


Lardy Dah
Written by Fred Karger and George Marshall
See more »

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User Reviews

Audie Get Your Gun!
7 October 2003 | by See all my reviews

The title of this film almost sounds like it will be a comedy.....sort of like "F Troop" meets "Petticoat Junction". It is, however, a relatively serious affair with some decent action sequences and some (sometimes unintentional) amusing moments. Murphy stars as a Cavalry Lieutenant who deserts his post in order to go a warn the people of his nearby hometown of an impending Indian attack. Unfortunately, virtually every man is gone from the area and the remaining women all resent him for wearing the blue instead of the gray uniform. Once the Indians start to make their mark, the ladies begin to change their mind and Murphy rounds them all up in an abandoned mission, determined to convert them into soldiers for their own sake. An already slightly campy film (check out the Indian grandma doing a child's hair at her camp right before a marauding cavalry unit appears), gets even loonier at this point. The mere idea of women brandishing guns and fighting physically must have been otherworldly in 1957. The enterprise is treated with all the expected attention and detail for the curio that it is. Murphy refers to the ladies as "men" and appoints sergeants, etc... He drills them in target practice, hand to hand combat and skirt-tucking (turning skirts into makeshift pants!) Naturally, there is every type of woman imaginable.....the old love, the new love, the haughty rich bitch, the one "in trouble", the religious fanatic, the tart, etc... What gives the film a great boost in the arm is the irascible, irreplaceable presence of burly, sarcastic Emerson as the leader of the women. Always intriguing to watch, she gets a plum role here as a bossy, tough, but good-hearted pioneer woman. It also helps that the film isn't dumb enough to suggest that this sort of thing wouldn't lead to casualties. So the unusual aspect of seeing women holding a fort with guns is accented and enhanced by seeing some of them take a fall as well. This adds to the realism of a film which is, at heart, pretty trite and coy. There are some fairly tough scenes and the Indian attack is actually pretty tense. (And it's awful nice of the Indians to wait and WAIT before coming until Murphy has trained all the gals, drained the water from the well, taught them how to make "bombs" and ammunition and solved various other problems!) Maley as a saloon singer and Elsom as a society matron help push the camp envelope. A few other ladies (like the one who gets upset and literally gobbles like a turkey with her face in the ground) take it even further, but Nolan rips it open. She is downright embarrassing as a devout Christian who clutches her Bible and spouts messages of nonviolence. However, when push comes to shove and arrows come to necks, she has a freak-out scene that is one for the books! Even with the pat situations and mundane dialogue, there's a certain curiosity value to the film and scattered laughs throughout (Wade, as Elsom's maid, has a real zinger of a closing line for her character!) Grant would later become better known as Mrs. Bing Crosby.

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