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Women and the World of Dime Novels

The Indians' Captive

"As you may imagine, I am not here without an object, and that object is to attempt the rescue of a young lady from the hands of the savages."
Big-Rifle Nick (19)

With many dime novels set during moments of colonial expansion, it is not surprising that women are frequently taken captive by the Indians. Some women sit quietly in captivity, hoping for rescue, fearing it will never come. But many are willing to escape, if the opportunity presents itself. The more daring women are even willing to kill to make their way to freedom.

Indian captivity also frequently presents an opportunity for a man (White or Indian) to press his attentions on a woman he desires, though such attentions are never well received. In the end, captivity usually provides the chance for a hopeful lover to rescue his inamorata, or for a kind stranger to save and protect a woman who will steal his heart. Either way, when these women return home, it is always on the arm of a man they intend to marry. Click on the pictures below to explore their stories.


Meet the Women:

Big-rifle Nick
Adeline Rushford
Esther Morse
Marie de Mendez