My wife uses a crossbow due to the fact that she was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, more commonly known as Brittle Bone Disease. We went through basically the same process as you are right now to get her set up hunting.
As far as the traditional recurve limb compared to cams: This is basically a preference. The recurve style (Excalibur brand specializes in these) are very simply put together. You can change the string in the field all by yourself, there are fewer moving parts, so there are fewer things to break. In my experience, the only performance difference is that they tend to be a bit louder on the shot than a bow with cams. I don't feel this is an issue, because you are really limited to 1 shot anyway. The high bolt speed achieved from a crossbow also tend to offset the "jumping the string" factor. My wife started with an Excalibur that we got on Craig's list for cheap just to be sure she liked it. She killed one deer with it last season. This season we bought her a Parker Tomahawk with cams because the smaller bow fit her frame better, and she can cock it by herself. (the Excalibur was a 200 lb draw, and the length of the pull was too much for her)
Draw weight: You'll find a range of draw weights based on the specific length of the bow, the distance the string travels, the efficiency of the cams, etc.... Most bows are at least 150 lbs. My wife's is 165. In IL the max you can hunt with is 200. Obviously, the higher the poundage the more difficult it is to draw, but nearly all packages will come with a rope cocker that uses hooks and pulleys to make it easier to draw your bow. More importantly than draw weight will be the length of the bow and how well it fits your frame as far as being able to easily cock and shoot the bow. They also make other accessories to help you with cocking the bow. The most common would be a crank style, where you hook the string and crank a handle to cock the bow. Some bows even come with carbon dioxide powered or electri automatic cockers, where you simply push a button... these get pricey.
Bolts: I'd suggest carbon, simply because they tend to hold up to multiple shots better. You can probably find aluminum or even wood, but carbon has performed very well for us.
Scope/no Scope: Again, this is your preference. I personally would always mount a scope on a crossbow. You can get them with the multiple reticles so that you can sight in at 20 yds and have another reticle for 30yds, 40yds, etc... This leads into your accuracy and range questions... You've got it right with accuracy, the more you practice the better. Range is really not more than a vertical bow would be. The bolts do fly somewhat faster, but they are heavier, so they lose their KE at longer ranges faster than an arrow (in my experience). My wife is dead nuts to 40 yds, and beyond that she just isn't comfortable. Take time to sight the scope in and shoot a lot! You'll figure out your own comfort zone. **Remember to check your line of sight with the actual flight of the arrow!! I know people have had a clear view in the scope when they shot, only to see their bolt hit a limb a foot in front of the bow they couldn't see in the scope--This is similar to shooting a gun with a scope**
You can most definitely use a shooting rail, stick, or other rest when shooting a crossbow. The frame of the bow is basically a gun. The one thing to remember is to NEVER allow your fingers to be above the shooting rail (where the bolt sits) when you shoot, or you WILL lose them. The thumb is usually the culprit here... if you wrap your hand around the top of the barrel when you shoot a gun you will have to change your style... The different bows all have different forend styles, so choose one that is comfortable for you to handle and shoot safely.
The only other thing about the bolts is that you need to make sure the nock style is the right one for your bow... Different companies recommend specific styles (you'll see half-moon styles, capture styles, etc...) Using the wrong nock will affect accuracy as the bolt leaves the string. Fletching is pretty much up to you.... You can usually purchase sets of bolts that are designed for the make of crossbow you decide on.
Hopefully this helps you decide what will work best for you. The biggest thing you can do is to find a dealer who will let you actually shoot some different styles of bows before you buy one. We dealt with a small bow shop who specialized in only 3 different brands that had different styles. We had a bow picked out, then we shot some just for the heck of it, and my wife changed her mind to go with the Parker... We spent $700 out the door for a package that included the bow, a Red Hot scope with illuminated 3 dot reticle, rope cocker, quiver and 4 bolts, rail lube, and a case for transportation. We got the bow ready to shoot and already sighted in. She LOVES it... Killed a squirrel with a shot under the jaw this year...I posted a pick in the IL thread
"When a hunter is in a tree stand with high moral values and with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God." ~Fred Bear