Zane Grey’s Wild West

A Study of 31 Novels


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About the Book

This is a literary discussion of one-half of Zane Grey’s Westerns, selected to best show the broad scope of this popular author’s interests in the West. The text explains how these novels “work,” while pointing out Grey’s ecological concern for the natural world—its vastness, color and beauty. Wild nature provides a powerful setting but is a determinant of action and of character too.
The range of subjects encompasses not only cowboys but also prospectors, foresters and other frontiersmen, from the end of the Revolutionary War to the flapper era of the 1920s. World War I veterans, including an American Indian, are portrayed in several books, and women are colorful main protagonists in others, all uniquely characterized. Grey’s sure ear for dialogue is key to his vivid presentation of the ideals of the Old West.

About the Author(s)

Retired teacher Victor Carl Friesen lives in Rosthern, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Bibliographic Details

Victor Carl Friesen
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7779-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1273-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1
The Novels 7
1. Betty Zane: The First Western Frontier 11
2. Riders of the Purple Sage: ­Mill-­Wheel of Place and Action 18
3. Desert Gold: More Than Money 25
4. Last of the Duanes: Undying Passion 33
5. The Light of Western Stars: Living Western Style 39
6. The Rainbow Trail: Love Story 46
7. The Border Legion: Titanic Evil Forces 52
8. Wildfire: The West Ablaze 59
9. The U. P. Trail: Romance of a Railroad 65
10. The Man of the Forest: Mind and Instinct 72
11. The Desert of Wheat: I.W.W. and WWI 78
12. Wanderer of the Wasteland: Learning to Live 85
13. To the Last Man: A Feud Mentality 92
14. The Call of the Canyon: Going Home 99
15. The Vanishing American: A Thoreauvian Native 105
16. Tappan’s Burro: No Greater Love 113
17. Code of the West: Growing Up in the Twenties 119
18. The Thundering Herd: A Buffalo Saga 125
19. Wild Horse Mesa: One Grand Spectacle 132
20. Under the Tonto Rim: A Backwoods Tale 138
21. Forlorn River: Prolonged Drought and Money Madness 144
22. Valley of Wild Horses: A Cool Reckless Spirit 151
23. Nevada: Life of a Gunman 157
24. The Shepherd of Guadaloupe: Love and Malice 164
25. Rogue River Feud: Low Ebb and Recovery 171
26. Robbers’ Roost: Road to Regeneration 176
27. The Trail Driver: An Arduous Trek 182
28. Thunder Mountain: ­Gold-­Rush Cowboy 188
29. Knights of the Range: Western Chivalry 194
30. Woman of the Frontier: The Best Years 200
31. Western Union: A Great Achievement 207
Bibliography 215
Index 219

Book Reviews & Awards

Charles G. Pfeiffer Award for Academic Excellence in Research and Writing—Zane Grey’s West Society