Thursday, 15 October 2009


Teenage angst and juvenile delinquency does not seem to fit in with the Old West scene. It's not a subject that writers write about.
Yet in Oklahoma in 1895 a couple of teens caused a lot of problems for the law.
Anna Emmaline McDoulet and Jennie Stevens were just 17 and 16 years of age when they went on a teenage rampage and caused the law a lot of problems.
Despite her age Jennie Stevens had already been married twice. Neither marriage had last long but, then, Jennie was not ready to settle down.
Anna McDoulet was a restless figure with a romantic interest in the outlaws of the old west and the Doolin-Dalton gang or Wild Bunch in particular. Whether this came from the books by Ned Buntline or not I'm not sure. More probably by their very reputation.
They met some members of the Wild Bunch at a country dance and were soon involved with the gang. They sold licquor to the Pawnee Indians, indulged in horsetheft and were spies for the gang.
Both girls kept their eyes and ears open and kept the gang informed about the whereabouts of the law who were hunting them down.
Jennie was captured once and managed to escape by stealing the deputy's horse.
After two years of creating havoc the pair, who were known as Cattle Annie and Little Britches, were captured by the lawman Bill Tilghman. Both were sentenced to Reform School after which they faded from history. No one knows what happened to them after that though it is suspected that Anna McDoulet may have died in 1978.
The story of Cattle Annie and Little Britches has been turned into a novel by Robert Ward (1977). And a 1980 film with Amanda Plummer as Cattle Annie and Diane Lane as Little Britches. Also Burt Lancaster stars as Bill Doolin and Rod Steiger as Bill Tilghman.


  1. A great subject for a Young Adult Western novel. Maybe Peter Averillo should write it.

  2. Hmm...I don't know that I'd entirely agree with your opening here. You'll find a fair lashing of teenage angst and delinquency in the new BHW release Misfit Lil Robs the Bank.

  3. Sorry, Chap O'Keefe maybe I should have said not many writers. I forgot that Lil was 19. She is rather rebellious.