The 19th-century American West proved a hospitable, if tumultuous, environment for women seeking employment as prostitutes. Yet traditionally such women have been relegated to the margins of western history, considered to be either unimportant or too difficult to find in the historical record. More recent assessments that explore the patterns of the women's West suggest that prostitutes, workers in the emergence of western America, should be more central to the narrative.

Definitions of prostitution tend to focus on its commercial nature. Prostitution is typically described as an action by which one or more persons, for a monetary sum or material goods, engage in sexual activity with a customer or a series of customers. To be a prostitute one does not need to work exclusively at ...

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