The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson


The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson is set in 1893, and centres on the heavily pregnant Molly Johnson and her children who struggle in isolation to survive the harsh Australian landscape after her husband left to go droving sheep in the high country.

One day, she finds a shackled Aboriginal fugitive named Yakada wounded on her property and forms an unlikely bond with him. Yadaka helps her with the birth and burial of her stillborn baby.

Molly soon becomes the target of the suspicious lawman Nate Clintoff. After learning that Molly’s drover husband is missing he sends his assistant Trooper Leslie to investigate. The encounter between Molly, the trooper and Yakada turns deadly and results in a tragic chain of events with Molly becoming a symbol of feminism and anti-racism.

The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson is a reimagining of Leah Purcell’s acclaimed play and Henry Lawson’s classic short story. A searing Australian Snowy Mountains revenge Western with love, family, protection, survival, truth, misogyny and racism at its heart, it asks the question: how far do you go to protect the ones you love?


Leah Purcell - Molly Johnson
Rob Collins - Yadaka
Sam Reid - Sergeant Nate Clintoff
Jessica de Gouw - Clintoff’s wife Louisa
Benedict Hardie - Trooper Leslie
Harry Greenwood - young stockman John McPharlen
Malachi Dower-Roberts
Tony Cogin
Release dates
14 October 2021 - Australia
PG - Parental guidance

Leah Purcell adapted the original short story by Henry Lawson into a play in 2016 and a novel in 2019. This is her debut feature film.

Shot on location in Adaminaby, Snowy Mountains, the Monaro Plains and in Western Sydney.

The Aboriginal character of Yadaka is based on Purcell's great-grandfather.

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Cite this page

Korff, J 2022, The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson, <>, retrieved 25 July 2024

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