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I've always thought of Joanna Pettet as one of the most beautiful and glamorous women of the big screen and small in the latter half of the last century. So it's a pleasant surprise that in Pioneer Woman Pettet ditches the glamor and becomes a hard working Pioneer Woman who salvages her husband's dream of going west.
She faces some real problems as she and husband William Shatner sell all they have in Indiana move west on land Shatner bought from the railroad. Shatner does this unilaterally without consulting Pettet, in those days that is how it was done.
First Shatner gets uprooted from his land by some brothers who've been working it for seven years now. Then he's killed homesteading new land in Wyoming territory.
Pettet makes some critical choices for herself and kids Helen Hunt and Russell Baer. Hard work, a little luck and an understanding an hunky neighbor in rancher David Janssen make her believe that staying might be the best idea.
Pioneer Woman is a sober assessment of what pioneer life was like on the American frontier. Even without Indian wars it was still a rugged existence especially for a woman.
Pettet shows she has the right stuff. In fact this G rated film is actually quite the feminist manifesto.
A great film for family and feminist audiences if you can believe that.
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