The Guns of Fort Petticoat (1957)

Approved   |    |  Action, Romance, War

The Guns of Fort Petticoat (1957) Poster

Union Army deserter, Lt. Hewitt, trains a rag tag band of all-female homesteaders to defend themselves against a Comanche tribe on the warpath.


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User Reviews

7 October 2003 | Poseidon-3
Audie Get Your Gun!
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.

Critic Reviews


Release Date:

April 1957



Country of Origin


Filming Locations

Amado, Arizona, USA

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