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The Ballad of Little Jo (1993)

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After being thrown out of her home, a young woman decides to disguise herself as a man to survive the ruthless Wild West.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry Grey
Beatrice Grey
Jasper Hill
Olinda Turturro ...
Jeffrey Andrews ...
Mrs. Addie
Peadair S. Addie Sr. ...
Mr. Addie


Based on a true story, this is the tale of Josephine Monaghan, a young woman of the mid-nineteenth century who is thrown out of her parents' home after being seduced by the family's portrait photographer and giving birth to his child. Josephine quickly learns that young, female, pretty, and alone are a bad combination for life in the wild west. In her desperation to survive, Josephine disguises herself as "Jo", a young man, and struggles to make a life for herself in a dingy frontier mining town. Can "Little Jo" live and love without revealing his secret? Written by Martin Lewison <lewison@pitt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In the Wild West, a woman had only two choices. She could be a wife or she could be a whore... Josephine Monaghan chose to be a man.


Drama | Romance | Western

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and some violence | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 August 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Balada do Pequeno Jo  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,773, 22 August 1993, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Eryn L. Bent. See more »


When Jo pulls the money out of the pouch in the general store, the way she holds the money and pouch changes in the next shot. See more »


Little Jo Monaghan: Why can't we live as we are?
See more »

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User Reviews

27 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

This is a great western that is hardly even known. It's directed by Maggie Greenwald and stars Suzy Amis as a woman in a rich family who is kicked out after she has a kid out of wedlock and she decides to go west. Amis knows she isn't going to survive as a woman because on the first night she is almost raped by two soldiers and barely escapes. So Amis decides to dress as a man and then makes a big cut on her face so it will leave a scar. Amis winds up staying in a mining town and the people believe she's man. Ian McKellen is a man who takes Amis in and shows her the ropes but he can get pretty violent when he's drunk. Amis doesn't stay with him long and winds up buying a place away from town so she can have her privacy. It's a great movie and i can't see why it isn't more well known.

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