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Women and the World of Dime Novels

Mollie (Mary) Hanley

Example of:
The independent woman
The sundered lover

Featured in:
The Rover of the Woods; or, The Warrior's Last War-Whoop

The rover of the forest

Mary was a beauty, delicate and fair, and seemed better fitted to adorn a drawing room than to figure as the heroine of a backwoods tale. And yet, though fair, she was possessed of both nerve and vigor, and could handle a rifle or wield an axe with wonderful precision and ease. (10-11)

Mollie has neither rifle nor axe with her when she is attacked by a panther at the beginning of the story. She is saved by the timely appearance and intervention of Wilton Boyd. Wilton is taken with Mollie, and he proposes marriage. Mollie, however, is already in love with, and promised to, a young man named Arthur, and she spurns Wilton's advances. He does not take her refusal well, and he replies with threats.

"… [Arthur] has not long to live if I fail in my mission!"
"And what, pray, may your mission be?"
"To ask you to be my wife!"
"That will never be," she said. "You had my answer before."

Wilton reveals that Arthur has been captured by the Oneida, who are Wilton's friends and allies. Wilton attempts to coerce Mollie into marriage by offering Arthur's life as an exchange. Mollie has already met Crazy Kate, the first victim of Wilton's villainy, and armed with this knowledge, she continues to refuse him, though she doesn't see an easy way out of her dilemma. She goes to her father for advice about her decision.

"He said that … he would not lift a finger or speak a word unless I became his wife. Did I do right, my father, when I spurned the wretch?"
"You did right; you did as I would have my daughter do with such reptiles."

Wilton does not give up easily, even after Kate defends Mollie and chases him away. He returns to attack Mollie’s house with a band of Oneida Indians. In the end, Mollie and her friends are victorious, Arthur is safely rescued, and Mollie, after spending most of the novel apart from her chosen lover, is able to marry the man she truly wants.