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Tuesday, October 18

A 19th Century Romance in a Western Setting

Gentle Readers,

Raquel Sallaberry from Jane Austen Em Português sent these links to me. As I watched this episode of Wagon Train, I didn't know what to think. Is this truly a spoof of Pride and Prejudice? I don't think so. It's more of a mish-mash between Sense and Sensibility, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Gone With the Wind, and Bonanza, with some Pride and Prejudice thrown in. Wagon Train was a hugely popular show in the 60's. Back then, serious scripts alternated every other week with comedic scripts, as in this instance. Major Adams, played by Ward Bond, is the beleaguered leader who must escort the five women safely and chastely to California, keep jealous wives happy (and their husbands from ogling the girls), and fend off the amorous intentions of the widow Steele.

The premise of The Steele Family Story is hilarious. Mrs. Steele, a widow, and her four daughters, Faith, Hope, Charity, and Prudence are all heading west.  The comedy of the scenes is heightened by the fact that these western ladies are perfectly coiffed at all times and wear quintessential 60's makeup. Life on the dusty trail doesn't affect them one bit - each remains clean, their dresses perfectly ironed, with not one hair out of place, regardless of how much dust the wagons and horses stir up. The four daughters meet four eligible men, including a Mr. Dashwood and Mr.Collingsworth, a henpecked young man ruled by his mama, whose looks are greatly enhanced when he loses his thick spectacles. If you feel like taking a trip down nostalgia lane, while gently laughing (think of the silly comedy in Lost in Austen), then kick back and enjoy.

Thank you, Raquel, for an enjoyable hour.


Southerner said...

Well. as you say, Vic, the make up coiffures and dresses remain in pristine condition throughout evn when Prudence trips up and falls over i the dust and dirt. She must have some sort of magnetic field around her that repels all things nasty!!! Love the scene by the river showing, apparently, a married man making up to a young girl. You have got to admit the producers tried to be historically authentic even if it was made light of.

I do get what Raquel is on about. Most of it is drawing room drama with marriageable young women and men, and mothers henpecking them.And it is set in the 1830's or could be earlier. (Just Googled Wagon Trains and the history of The West Ha! Ha!)

Raquel Sallaberry said...


I have loved the name of the most imprudent girl: Prudence!

Connie B said...

I enjoyed the video and am looking forward to watching more. Thanks for posting this.

Alison E. Bruce said...

Except that I felt like decking the Major for his comment about them "only being females", I enjoyed the western take on P&P. As for the costuming and makeup, it was no sillier than Seven Brides or Harvey Girls. Thanks for the show.

Laurel Ann (Austenprose) said...

I found this hilarious. There is no doubt by the names used that the writer was paying homage. Very funny. Thanks for sharing.

P.S. The Mr. Darcy character seemed more like Col. Brandon in some respects.