Director Jorge López Portillo
Producer Glen H McCarthy & Jim Ross
Written by Mortimer Braus & Jack Pollexfen

Marshall Kirk Reed Jeff Morrow
Missouri Lady Ellen Downs Merry Anders
Jim 'Missouro Kid' Downs Jim Ross
'Big Pearl' Jackson Irish McCalla
'Faro' Kitty Brewster Kathy Marlowe
Maria 'The Knife' Garcia Lucita Blain
'Crazy' Hanna Gates Dee Carroll
Bigfoot Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams
Joe Robert Caffey
Deputy Tom Ames George Kramer

In interviews Irish frequently identified this film as her favourite of the five feature films she made between 1959 and 1962.  She said it was because it was in colour and because it was a western. ("I have always been partial to western films.  I love being around Western people.  I was brought up around Western music in a small town.  My dad loved western music, so I heard it on the radio all the time.  My grandmother had a lot of songbooks and I would learn the songs.")  She also said that she had to learn to smoke a cigar for this film; not an easy feat for a nonsmoker. ("I couldn't taste any food for a week because of that.") (Ultra Filmfax).  The film was shot in Brackettville, Texas, where The Alamo would also be shot later in 1960 (see Irish's story of visiting the set on Page 4 - Irish on Tour in the Personal Appearances section).  According to a web page on Merry Anders, the star of the film, the production was $18,000 overbudget after only three days of shooting.  It was also reported that novice executives on the set assumed that the unprotected girls were "up for grabs" and managed to "get to" all of them except Merry Anders and Irish McCalla, who stuck close together for protection for the duration of the shoot. (Glamour Girls)  It is difficult to establish from this brief description whether "get to" means "seduce" or something more sinister.
One day on set during the shooting of this film one of the crew walked past the table where all of the principal actresses were eating and noticed that they were all left-handed.  Black and Feret have suggested that the film could have been called Five Bold Left-handed Women. (Black & Feret)  The four actresses playing the other female killers in this film were nearly all B movie regulars:

Merry Anders - plays Ellen (far right in vidcap below), who is convicted of shooting Marshall Reed's previous deputy.  She had a small role in the film of How To Marry A Millionaire (1953), which starred Marilyn Monroe, and went on to star in the television series of the same name.  She appeared in seven films in 1957 alone and went on to numerous television appearances on shows like Perry Mason, Dragnet and Gunsmoke.

Kathy Marlowe - plays Kitty (third from left in vidcap), who shot her lover when he deserted her for another woman.  She was an ex-beauty queen who was once billed as "That girl on fire who starts in where Mansfield and Monroe leave off."  She had a bit part in The Pajama Game (1957) with Doris Day and went on to star in the sleazy potboiler, Girl With An Itch (1958).

Lucita Blain - plays the Young Mexican Maria (third from right in vidcap), who killed a man in self-defence.  The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) claims that this is the only film that this actress appeared in.  I did, however, find a reference to a 1960 film called Dinosaurus! that mentions her, but IMDb credits this to a different actress named Luci Blaine.

Dee Carroll - plays Hanna (second from right in vidcap), an unstable woman who strangled her own baby.  She appeared in almost 40 films between 1945 and 1980.  She played the telephone operator in Tarantula (1955), she was a regular on the television soap opera Days of Our Lives in the mid-Seventies, and her final film was the complex cult classic The Stunt Man (1980), which starred Peter O'Toole.  In this film she has no speaking lines but screams occasionally.

The film also starred science fiction film legend Jeff Morrow as Marshall Kirk Reed.  Morrow's most memorable films were This Island Earth (1955), The Creature Walks Among Us (1956) and The Giant Claw (1957).  Also featured was Guinn "Big Boy" Williams, a rancher's son whose tall, muscular frame was perfectly suited to playing the dim, quick-tempered, but basically decent, sidekick roles he specialised in.  Later the same year (1960) Irish would visit "Big" at his ranch in Texas while she was making a personal appearance tour (read the full story on Page 4 - Irish on Tour in the Personal Appearances section) (IMDb).

This film is a true delight for fans of Irish.  The acting lessons she had taken with Jeff Corey had definitely paid off (see the Other Sheena Anecdotes section in the Television - Filming In Mexico page).  She is confident, cocky and humourously sassy as the gun-toting, cigar-smoking, ruthless killer, Big Pearl, a part that suits her Midwestern-bred tomboy personality perfectly.  It is a shame that the only surviving print of this film has suffered so severely from colour loss (see colour vidcaps below).  It's not difficult to see why Irish identified this as her favourite film of the five she made.  She obviously had a lot of fun with the role.

Texan Marshal Kirk Reed and his new deputy must transport five women killers to prison by stagecoach.  On route they pick up a stranded traveller, who is actually a quick-witted bandit named The Missouri Kid who is seeking an opportunity to free his wife, one of the prisoners.  The Missouri Kid steals a horse and carry's off Ellen, his wife, at the first opportunity but the marshal pursues the couple and manages bring Ellen back to the coach.  The Kid has been wounded, but escapes.  While returning to the coach Reed and Ellen begin to develop a romantic interest in each other and he realises she is innocent .  Hannah, another prisoner, is abducted by marauding Comanches when the party stop at a coach resthouse and is later found, raped, severely injured and soon dies.  The Missouri Kid is recaptured but he and Big Pearl, a mean killer, soon formulate an escape plan.  The marshal, his deputy and the coach driver are all taken prisoner and The Missouri Kid and three of the women escape in the stagecoach but are attacked by Indians. Ellen and The Missouri Kid are killed and the surviving women are taken to prison. 

Ultra Filmfax magazine No. 66, Apr/May 98
Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen website
• The Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
• The poster at the top of the page is from my private collection
• The colour photo of Irish McCalla as Big Pearl and Big Boy Williams as Bigfoot is from Celebrity Sleuth magazine, Vol 9 No. 9, 1996
• The original Japanese poster is from my private collection
• All black-and-white photos from this film are from my private collection
• The two colour vidcaps are from my DVD-R of this film
• See a good selection of vidcaps from this film at Kenny Joe Wilburn's Five Bold Women page on his site

• This film is occasionally offered on both DVD and video on eBay

SHEENA © is the property of Sony Pictures Corporation
This independent, non-profit, fan-based analysis of the Sheena material is copyright © 2005 Paul Wickham