The films The Ballad of Little Jo, High Noon, and Rooster Cogburn are all westerns where the roles of women make giant leaps in their statures and standing in the western film genre. Women show in these films that they are stronger and more prominent in their roles.
In the film The Ballad of Little Jo, the main character, Jocelyn, is forced to dress like a man in order to escape her past after a moment of weakness in the face of her family by sleeping with the photographer. In the new town she becomes completely self dependent and even able to use a gun to prove that she had made the transition and could take on the same tasks as a man. Thompkins contests that women are constantly the secondary characters and that they are there for dialogue and to spur on the men in the story. However, Jo goes against these beliefs and is able to provide for herself and establish herself on an even plain.
In Rooster Cogburn, Rooster is a local sheriff who has been stripped of his badge and is forced to chase down the outlaw, Breed, in order to attain the status of sheriff again. During his travels he meets a young woman, Eula Goodnight, and begins to foster a relationship with her. During the film, Eula is able to breakdown Rooster and, through conversation and language, has him let his guard down and express his beliefs and feelings. Thompkins states that women’s use of language is weak and that it only serves to make them inferior and that “opening up” only worsens their position. However, seeing when this film was made, the second coming of the feminist movement, shows that woman can have an impact and that her use of language and words is something that is valued and worthwhile. Not something that is inferior.
High Noon, Will Kane is the local sheriff who has to stand up to the local bad guy, Miller, and his gang. Throughout the film, we are introduced to the character Amy who is against violence and favors peaceful results instead of violence as an answer. However, in the end, she joins Kane in the fight to help him not only defend the town, but to support him in protecting his own self. Thompkins states that in the face of adversity and hardship, women put aside differences and support their man in their time of need. Something Amy did with full commitment.