Miss Kitty
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I bet you've never heard old Marshal Dillon say
Miss Kitty have you ever thought of running away
Settling down would you marry me
If I ask you twice and beg you pretty please
She'd've said, "Yes" in a New York minute
They never tied the knot
His heart wasn't in it
He stole a kiss as he rode away
He never hung his hat up at Kitty's place

(from) Should've been a Cowboy Toby Keith

Basic Information

Miss Kitty was the owner/operator of the Long Branch Saloon in Gunsmoke, and she gave her name to the Trope of an older woman who runs a Saloon, Brothel or other Den of Iniquity in the Wild West.

She's the employer of a bevy of Saloon Girls, who may be legit Can-Can Dancers or Prostitutes, and may match the tropes of Soiled Dove, The Vamp or Two Bit Whore. See Saloon for more ideas on the business she owns and runs.

She's smart and charismatic, and has to stand firm and harsh at times to keep her girls and her business safe. This may overlap with the characterization tropes of Mama-Bear and/or Team Mom. She may also be a Soiled Dove or The Vamp herself. The original Miss Kitty was the widow of a deceased criminal, and was an old flame of the local Town Marshal, so if you're looking for an example to crib notes off of, well, there you go.

For a real-life example, see Julia Bulette.



Game and Story Use

  • Very easily recycled to all sorts of settings.
    • For example, see Nandi from the Firefly episode Heart of Gold, featuring what is very clearly a wild west brothel recycled in space.
  • For a less family friendly example, try playing the character closer to Max from Black Sails - who is very much a criminal in her own right - or even darker, by remembering that "Miss Kitty" is still a brothel madam and playing her as a sort of distaff Fagin, luring young girls into a life of prostitution as well as (very likely) dealing in petty theft, the recreational drugs trade, blackmail and other forms of vice, crime and private espionage.
  • Also, bear in mind that, despite what Mr. Keith goes on to say, California in that era, whilst adequately supplied with whisky and gold, was actually very short of women. Recruitment was liable to be something of an issue - the few women prepared to travel that far to prostitute themselves probably couldn't afford to.
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