So much of what we've seen on TV and film about the Wild West depicts the rugged cowboy who is always ready for a showdown. But the Wild West was much more nuanced than that. In fact, many of the towns in the Wild West thrived because of the women who ran the towns - specifically women in the prostitution industry. While prostitution was at times extremely dangerous, it also gave women economic agency which was rare for the period. It allowed them to build brothels, schools, and stores and even yield political influence in the region.
Jan MacKell Collins
, who appeared on Adam Ruins The Wild West,
joins us on this week's episode to unpack this 'not so polite' (although just as crucial) section of our history books. Jan is the author of six books and is the contributor to Backwoodsman Magazine, Colorado Central Magazine, Frontier Gazette and True West Magazine.