Walker Independence's Katherine McNamara Gets Candid On How The Show Handles Sex Work - Exclusive

When it comes to classic Westerns, women aren't always represented positively — whether it's sex workers of the time period or the wives of outlaws. Luckily, Katherine McNamara's new show "Walker Independence" puts a feminist spin on the Wild West where women are more than set dressing. The series shines a spotlight on the women in the late 1800s West without satirizing their very existence. 

There's no denying that brothels were a significant part of the historical West, and "Walker Independence" has its own empowering take on the white doves rather than making them a dramatized butt of the joke like so many Westerns have before. While Mark Sheppard plays a bit of a smarmy guy in charge of paying the white doves, Kate continually pushes for their rights.

The List spoke to McNamara during an exclusive interview where she discussed how "Walker Independence" handles the subject of sex work in the Wild West and how she prepared for the role of Abby research-wise.

White doves of the West

Discussing the portrayal of the white doves of the Wild West, Katherine McNamara said, "We present the world of the West as accurately as it [can] be, in the way that everyone gets through life in a different way."

McNamara explained the importance of respecting everyone's choices regarding what they do with their bodies. "There's [no] judgment placed on anyone's choices as much — unless you're murdering someone, which we also see on our show. It's very much in the way that we try and present things in the world today," she said. "Everyone is doing what they can to survive and to make a living and make a life for themselves ... As long as everyone's free to choose what they are doing, that's how it's been addressed."

While the white doves are ever-present, McNamara noted that it's not a huge plot point yet. But it's on track to gain more significance, she hinted. "We're getting there slowly but surely," she said. "It'll be interesting to see how that progresses moving forward."

A Midwestern woman

Katherine McNamara grew up in the Midwest, so she had plenty of inspiration that helped her prep for the role. "I grew up loving Westerns. I'm a Kansas City girl myself. You take a girl out of [the] Midwest, and she's always going to end up back in a Western, I guess. I tried to do as much research as I could, given that Abby is such a different character and is a woman with such agency," she joked. "[I tried] to find stories of other women that had similar journeys and [see] who they were, because you know they exist, even if we don't often see them in media. There is such a tenacity that you have to have to even survive in that world, especially as a woman at the time and a single woman of the time now."

McNamara was even inspired by real-life women from the time period that helped inform her vision for Abby. "I found so many incredible stories of women on the frontier ... who were creating such wonderful lives for themselves," she noted. "It provided such a wealth of information and makes me feel as though I have a community to draw from and a community to honor in telling Abby's story."

"Walker Independence" airs Thursdays on The CW, with episodes streaming on the website the next day.