Thoughts on Godless episode 1 “An Incident at Creede”

Michelle Dockery in Godless

I started watching Godless last night. I only watched the first episode, “An Incident at Creede.” I intend to keep watching, but I had a few bothersome thoughts about this episode I want to mention. After I finish the season I’ll have more to say. I hope by then I will be less picky and more pleased.

The Netflix series is supposed to be about a town full of only women, with Michelle Dockery touted as the star. Michelle Dockery’s character, Alice Fletcher, doesn’t even live in the town! She lives on a remote ranch with her son Truckee (Samuel Marty) and Truckee’s grandmother Iyovi (Tantoo Cardinal).

Iyovi is apparently Paiute – she’s shown speaking Paiute. It’s possible that a Paiute woman could have been in that area in 1884, but the Paiute didn’t normally make Colorado or New Mexico their home.

I grew up in Colorado. My dad used to take us fly fishing in Creede. It looks nothing like what we see in Godless. I know the series was filmed in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area, but they could have come closer than they did to southwestern Colorado mountains and rivers in appearance.

There are far more men than women in the series. Jack O’Connell plays a character named Roy Goode who shows up wounded at Alice Fletcher’s ranch. Jeff Daniels is bad guy Frank Griffin, who is hunting Roy Goode. Sam Waterston is a Marshall who wanders by the female filled town of La Belle to warn the nearly blind sheriff (Scoot McNairy) that Frank Griffin and his gang are on the way and have been robbing and killing in every mining town in Colorado.

Basically, there are men on horses everywhere.

La Belle is a fictional town. In the story it’s located in the New Mexico Territory. (New Mexico didn’t become a state until 1912.) La Belle looks a lot more like a mining town than the Creede set did.

Only one woman in the town of La Belle does more than act like an extra. That is the sheriff’s sister Mary Agnes (Merritt Wever), called Maggie for short. She’s probably a better shot and a lot braver than her vision impaired brother. Since she had actual lines in episode 1, we should see more of her.

What about that town full of women? Only incidental to episode 1. (Talk about false advertising. Why not just advertise it as a Western?) Maggie is the only woman in town with a name so far, let alone lines to speak. Well, okay. A schoolteacher (Tess Frazer) in the town did get a couple of lines.

I’m not going to give up on a series that puts Michelle Dockery and Tantoo Cardinal together in the same house with nothing but smarts and a rifle to protect them. I hope I get more involved in the story as I continue to watch and can forget about all the things I see that are nagging at my critical mind about the opening episode.

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