The Ballad of Little Jo

  • Film
  • Westerns
Maggie Greenwald's third film is inspired by the true story of a woman who in 1866 passed herself off as a man to survive the masculine brutishness of the American frontier. Expelled from her well-to-do New York home, for a pre-marital affair, Josephine Monaghan (Amis) heads West, and, taking refuge in trousers, cutting her hair and scarring her face, becomes 'Little Jo'. This is relatively unexplored terrain, and the film gets much mileage and fun out of the sex-role reversal, especially upon the arrival of Jo's lover and servant, the long-haired Tinman Wong (Chung), who sews and bakes apple pie. The mud and desperation of the frontier is vividly rendered, but the film is marred by a lack of emotional drama.

Release details

Duration: 121 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Maggie Greenwald
Screenwriter: Maggie Greenwald
Cast: Suzy Amis
Bo Hopkins
Ian McKellen
David Chung
Carrie Snodgress
Sam Robards
Beau Bridges
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