I've just seen three more of the films recommended in Leonard Maltin's 151 Best Films You've Never Seen. These three were all stinkers. I'm really surprised Maltin likes these films. Having said that, I've never thought much of Maltin's recommendations, and so far my prejudice has been reinforced by seeing the movies he singles out in this book--and I'm still in the "B"s. I saw American Dreamz, The Ballad of Little Jo, and The Big Hit. None of these three have much to recommend them in my view. Save your time and money.
A woman with a child born out of wedlock on the East Coast flees to the West (leaving her child behind). She finds life tough as a single woman. The film suggests the only roles available to her are wife or whore. The central character, however, chooses an alternate path through life: she becomes a man, by cropping her hair, dressing as a man, and working as a man. She eventually finds a place among the people she settles near. In a subplot, the Chinese laborer she takes on as a manservant becomes her lover. Almost no one else knows she is a woman until she dies and the undertaker begins to prepare the body for burial. Everything else that happens is pretty much standard western fare.