Opportunity in the West: The Social and Economic Life of the Western Frontier Prostitute

Publication Year



History, American West, society, economics, prostitution


Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social History | United States History | Women's History | Women's Studies


In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, on the western frontier the "oldest profession in the world" prospered like never before. It was a hard life with many risks, but the potential for great profit lured many woman into this career. In the West, prostitution was a dark profession which rarely lived up [to] the stories of a luxurious and profitable life. While at first some woman made huge sums of money selling sex, soon the potential for riches was seen by corrupt men and women. For many American women prostitution seemed more profitable than washing clothes, cleaning homes, or being some man's wife. Earning ten to twenty dollars a day, a prostitute could make ten times what many other laborers could. For many women, this was a risk worth taking.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status


This document is currently unavailable online.