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Cattle Annie, born as Anna Emmaline McDoulet (November 29, 1882 - November 7, 1978), was a young female outlaw in the American Old West, most associated with Jennie Stevens, or Little Britches (1879 - Date of death unknown). Their exploits are known in part through the fictional 1981 film, Cattle Annie and Little Britches, starring Amanda Plummer in her film debut as Cattle Annie and Diane Lane as Little Britches.
A short life of crime
Anna McDoulet was born in Lawrence in Douglas County in eastern Kansas, to James C. and Rebekah McDoulet. She was one of eight children. The McDoulets moved to Coyville in Wilson County in southeastern Kansas, when Anna was four years of age. The child worked as a dishwasher in a hotel and performed other odd jobs whenever they were available. When she was twelve, the family moved to the Otoe Reservation near Skiatook, north of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was in the northern Oklahoma Territory where her outlaw exploits began. Annie and her friend, Little Britches, became enchanted with popular accounts of the Bill Doolin gang, stories available through dime novelists like Ned Buntline, particularly known for his promotion of Buffalo Bill Cody as a western hero and showman.
Cattle Annie and Little Britches roamed the former Indian Territory for two years. They stole horses, sold liquor to the Pawnee and Osage Indians and warned warned outlaw gangs of the whereabouts of law-enforcement officers. The two sometimes operated together and at other times solo. They donned men's clothing and wore pistols on ther hips, having quickly become skilled horsewomen and markswomen. Their exploits brought them headlines from Guthrie, the capital of the Oklahoma Territory, to Coffeyville in southeastern Kansas, where the Dalton gang attempted in vain in 1892 to rob two banks simultaneously.
Cattle Annie was only thirteen in 1895, when she was captured by U.S. Marshals Bill Tilghman and Steve Burke. Though Burke caught Cattle Annie fairly easily as she was climbing from a window, Tilghman had a more difficult task in apprehending Little Britches, who became involved in a physical confrontation with Tilghman before he subdued her.The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, however, maintains that Bill Tilghman had nothing to do with the apprehension of Little Britches and that neither young bandit had direct connection to the Doolin gang.
Cattle Annie received a one-year sentence in the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Framingham, Massachusetts. Because of poor health, Annie was paroled but remained in Framingham. She told corrections officers that if she had then returned to Oklahoma she would likely have reverted to a life of crime. In 1898, she was employed as a domestic by Mrs. Mary Daniels in Sherborn south of Framingham. A few months later, it is believed that she moved to New York City, where she may have died of tuberculosis.
Annie's later years
Though Annie's life is one of considerable folklore, by 1901 she had returned to Oklahoma, where she married Earl Frost of Perry. The couple had two sons, Robert C. Frost (1903-1993) and Carlos D. Frost, before they divorced in 1909. The museum in Guthrie maintains that Annie married a second time—to Whitmore R. Roach (1879-1947), a native Texan, veteran of World War I, and a painting contractor in Oklahoma City, where they lived after 1912, having resided the preceding two years in Fort Worth, Texas. This "Emma McDoulet Roach," as reads the tombstone in Rose Hill Burial Park in Oklahoma City, died in 1978, just a few weeks shy of her ninth-sixth birthday. Her newspaper obituary makes no mention of the "Cattle Annie" days or even the first name "Anna" but uses the reduced "Emma" from "Emmaline". The obituary indicates that she had been a bookkeeper in her later working career. Her services were held in the Olivet Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, of which she was a member. She was also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.
Meanwhile, Little Britches also served a short sentence at the reformatory in Framingham, but her whereabouts thereafter remains an unsolved mystery. The syndicated television series, Stories of the Century, starring and narrated by Jim Davis, maintains in a 1954 episode that Little Britches, played by Gloria Winters, was last seen performing charity work in a New York City slum. Other reports indicate that Little Britches returned to Oklahoma, married, reared a family, and led an exemplary life in Tulsa.
In the film, directed by Lamont Johnson, Amanda Plummer and Diane Lane are joined in their portrayals of Cattle Annie and Little Britches by Burt Lancaster as an historically inaccurate and much older Bill Doolin, Rod Steiger as Marshal Bill Tilghman, Scott Glenn as William M. "Bill" Dalton, and Buck Taylor as the outlaw Dynamite Dick, presumably Dan Clifton, or "Dynamite Dan."
- Anna Emmaline "Cattle Annie" McDoulet Roach. findagrave.com. Retrieved on December 28, 2012.
- Cattle Annie & Little Britches. ranchdivaoutfitters.com. Retrieved on December 27, 2012.
- Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters, p. 325. University of Oklahoma Press at Norman, Oklahoma (1979); ISBN=978-0-8061-2335-6. Retrieved on December 27, 2012.
- Cattle Annie. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Retrieved on December 31, 2012.
- Stories of the Century: "Little Britches", June 17, 1954. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on December 28, 2012.
- Cattle Annie and Little Britches. Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved on December 27, 2012.