RSS

Grey, Z., 1937. Majesty’s Rancho. New York, New York Sunday News.

When “Majesty’s Rancho” was first published, in New York Sunday News, 26th September 1937, Zane Grey was 65 years old. It’s prequel, The Light of Western Stars, was published 24 years earlier. I mention this, because I believe it has an impact on the end result of “Majesty’s Rancho“. Later publishings were in hardcover in 1938 by Harper & Brothers, in 1942 as an Armed Services Edition and in 1949 by Zane Grey Western Books.

I had to pull back several times while reading “Majesty’s Rancho” and writing this review because I kept on being hit by a sense of “Huh?” and “Say what?”. One reason was the way Madge/Majesty was treated in the story. Grey did not like a female protagonist who might be perceived as possibly stronger than the male protagonist (Pauly, T.H., 2014). By the time he had finished with Madeline in The Light of Western Stars, Grey had found his recipe for breaking such women down and he used that recipe for what it was worth in “Majesty’s Rancho“. He was apparently not alone in not wanting that. Reviewers and the blurb all seem to agree that she needed taking down a few notches.

One of the reasons I felt this way, was because all the main protagonists and the antagonist blamed Madge for their own behavior. Madge blamed Madge for how she behaved, Uhl (antagonist) blamed Madge for how he behaved towards her, Rollie blamed Madge for how he treated her, Lance blamed Madge for how he behaved towards her and Gene blamed Madge for how he and Lance treated her. Talk about internalizing and externalizing blame in stereotypically gendered ways. The only people who did not blame Madge for their own behaviors were Ren Starr and Nels. These two men were voices of reason throughout the story.

Nels: “Wal, I have. An’ I’m gamblin’ on her, Gene. Wild as a young filly, shore she was. But good as gold an’ as true as steel. When she was heah last I had some jars, you bet. I had to figger oot thet times had changed since you an’ me ran after girls. We’ve stayed right in one spot, Gene, an’ this old world has moved on.”

“Right. I’ll bet you we have it coming to us. Madge said in her letter she was having a crowd of college friends come to visit her.”

“Fine. She did thet last time an’ I never had such fun.”

Another thing I had a problem with was the way Madge was blamed for the current finances of the farm. However, when she left the farm, for The University of Southern California, as a 16 year-old their family was wealthy. Madge, herself, had a fond worth a million dollars and her mother was even wealthier. In addition, their ranch was doing really well. That perception was maintained by both her mother and her father the entire time she was away, meaning Madge spent money accordingly. Instead of letting her know that the Crash on Wall Street in 1929 had affected their family and that they all needed to use less money, they told her nothing. Gene had no head for money and kept making unwise money choices. He was afraid of letting Madeline (his wife) do their books in case she found out he had taken out a mortgage on the ranch. All the way through the story, Lance keeps up an internal ranting towards her spending yet he also kept his mouth shut because of a promise to Gene. Madge had sensed something was off the last time she was home but did not know what it was. Before coming home, she had decided she would be spending the rest of her time and money on the upkeep of the ranch. She just wanted one last summer with friends.

“I get it,” she said, soberly, dropping those penetrating eyes. “I’ve always understood Majesty’s Rancho was mine. You know, just in a vain and playful way, perhaps. How about that, Dad—seriously?”

“Of course this ranch is yours—or will be someday, which is just the same. And a white elephant—my daughter.”

“Not for little Madge. What do you suppose I went to college for? What did I study economics for?… Dad—Mom, I tell you I’m home for good. I’m crazy about my home. It has been swell to have unlimited money. Let me play around this summer—entertain my friends—then I’ll hop to the job.”

Madge/Majesty Stewart is the daughter of Gene Stewart and Madeline Hammond from The Light of Western Stars. She has grown up on an awesome ranch right across the border from New Mexico (Blake, K., 2014). When we first meet her she is an honor student and secretary to the student body at the University of Southern California. She is popular with her fellow students and is considered kind and sweet to others, hardworking and a little wild. Her beauty and spirit attract men to her, some nice and some not so nice (like Honey Bee Uhl). Except for Ren Starr and Nels, all the men we get to know in “Majesty’s Rancho” want to possess Madge.

Lance Sidway is the male protagonist. Much like Madge, he is beautiful, kind and sweet to others, hardworking and a little wild. He loves women and they like him. His financial background is completely different to Madge’s, and that background goes some way in explaining how completely incapable he is of understanding Madge. His mom had died early, the Crash and Great Depression came and took their ranch, he had to quit college, his dad died and Lance had to get his sister’s surgery and recovery paid for. So he and Umpqua, his horse, went to Hollywood and Umpqua made a name of itself. Lance got sick of never making a name of himself, always having to be a stunt or boyfriend to  up-and-coming actors, and having to play second fiddle to his horse. So he left Hollywood with Umpqua to find the Wild West he had heard of.

Lance and Umpqua’s ride from Los Angeles, California to Douglas, Arizona.

What he found was that both he and his horse got into better shape and that the West was not so wild after all.

He knew that arid country, having been to Palm Springs and Indio with motion-picture companies. Still, sight of the rolling wasteland with its knolls of mesquite and flats of greasewood, and the irregular barren mountains zigzagging the horizon, afforded him keen pleasure. How different this country from the golden pastures and black hills and swift streams of Oregon! Lance could not have conceived a greater contrast. And by noonday the June heat of the desert was intense. Sweat oozed out of his every pore and Umpqua was wet. But this heat was what both horse and rider needed. They were heavy from underwork and overeating.

Gene Stewart, Madge’s dad, is also mostly a nice guy. He longs for an exciting past he could understand and not the boring demands of being a settled man to an adult (18) daughter. He projects much of his unhappiness on to Madge and there are moments when she wonders if he really loves her. Grey was 65 when the serial was published. He bemoaned the older, slower days when nature remained unspoiled by automobiles and automatic weapons (Cast, C.C., 2008). Gene is written with this type of spirit. Gene’s wife, Madeline is a background figure who comforts Gene and Madge when needed.

When Madge and Lance meet both fall immediately in love. However, from the time they both meet again at the ranch they treat each other atrociously. If this is love, then I’m not missing anything in my life. Why would Grey write them both so jaded? It’s as though he had seen “Gone With the Wind” and wanted to write something like that. Such “romances” have never appealed to me and I wasn not able to finish either the book or watch the film of “Gone With the Wind“.

The main antagonist of “Majesty’s Rancho” is Honey Bee Uhl. Grey often makes his antagonists cartoonish and Uhl is no exception. He did not feel as dangerous as he should have even when the story got to his main scene. I wasn’t able to believe in him, and I think that was part of my problem with this story.

All in all I have to say that “Majesty’s Rancho” is far from one of Grey’s best works. As far as language, it felt authentic. There were racial slurs typical of white farmers of that time. Most of the time I felt as though I was reading the words of a bitter old man, which Grey probably wasn’t. And the romance was soooo not my style. However, if you are into stuff like “Gone With the Wind” then this might be a story for you.


Available free at Roy Glashan’s Library and Internet Archive.

Reviews:

Translations:

  • Croatian: Grey, Z., 1961/1964/1966/1985. Princezin ranč. Opatija: Otokar Keršovani. Omer Lakomica (Translator).
  • Czech: Grey, Z., 1998. Ranč Majesty. Český Těšín: Oddych. Radomír Karas (Illustrator). Karel Chlouba (Translator).
  • German: Grey, Z., 1952. Majesty; München: AWA-Verl. Dr. Hansheinz Werner (Translator).
  • Hungarian: Grey, Z., 1990. Majesti tanyája. Budapest: Sprint. Pap László (Translator). (2011, Budapest: Fapadoskonyv.hu.
  • Italian: Grey, Z., 1961/1969. Il ranch di Majesty. Milano: Sonzogno. Agnese Silvestri Giorgi (Translator).
  • Norwegian: Grey, Z., 1974. Den fortapte ranchen. Oslo: Ingar Weyer Tveitan. Ulf Gleditsch (Translator). (1988, Fredhøi; 1997, Egmont bøker)
  • Spanish: Grey, Z., 1950. El rancho Majestad. Barcelona Bruguera, 1950. Luis Conde Vélez (Translator).

Bibliography

 

Advertisements
 
1 Comment

Posted by on 2018-10-28 in Books

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Video

Riders of the Purple Sage, 1986 Theatre Adaptation

In 1986 the Hip Pocket Theatre in Fort Worth, Texas filmed the premiere of their version of Riders of the Purple Sage. Based on the make-up the cast wears it seems likely that the theatre adaptation is partly based on the 1925 movie.

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 2018-09-22 in Movies

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Video

Riders of the Purple Sage, 2017 Western Opera adaptation

2017 Western Opera adaptation of Riders of the Purple Sage. Information from Arizona Opera.

Jane Withersteen, a devout Mormon woman, has inherited a sprawling ranch from her father. With all the wealth and power her ranch represents, Jane is under pressure from the church to marry Elder Tull and add her land, herd, and spring to the growing Mormon settlement of Short Creek. When Jane resists Tull’s advances, he resorts to threatening to whip her head rider, Venters, on a trumped-up charge. Lassiter, a mysterious gunman, arrives in time to save Venters and drive off the Mormons. Lassiter has come to see the grave of Milly Erne, who was a dear friend to Jane. He asks about Milly’s daughter, who was taken by the church when she was a baby. When rustlers steal one of Jane’s herds, Venters rides off to confront them, knowing the feared Masked Rider is among them. He wounds the Masked Rider, and is astonished to discover a girl named Bess beneath the rider’s mask…. (Arizona Opera)

Craig Bohmler, Composer

Steven Mark Kohn, adapted by Librettist

Ed Mell, Scenic Designer

Fenlon Lamb Fenlon Lamb, Stage Director

Joseph Mechavich Joseph Mechavich, Conductor

Krstin Atwell Ford Kristin Atwell Ford, Co-Producer

Karin Wolverton Karin Wolverton, Jane Withersteen

Laura Wilde Laura Wilde, Jane Withersteen

Morgan Smith Morgan Smith, Lassiter

Joshua Jeremiah Joshua Jeremiah, Lassiter

Joshua Dennis Joshua Dennis, Bern Venters

Amanda Opuszynski Amanda Opuszynski, Bess

Kristopher Irmiter Kristopher Irmiter, Bishop Dyer

Keith Phares Keith Phares, Elder Tull

Hugo Vera Hugo Vera, Judkins


Reviews:

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 2018-09-16 in Movies

 

Tags: , , , ,

Video

Riders of the Purple Sage, 1996 film adaptation

… in 1871. Jane Withersteen, a Mormon-born spinster of 28, has inherited a valuable ranch and spring from her father, which is coveted by other Mormons in the community. When Jane refuses to marry one of the Mormon elders, Deacon Tull. He is angry at her because she has befriended Bern Venters, a young man who works on her ranch and whom she has saved from a brutal whipping at the hand of the Mormons, they begin to persecute her openly. Meanwhile, Lassiter, a notorious gunman, arrives at the Withersteen ranch in search of the grave of his long-lost sister, Millie Erne. It doesn’t take him long to see that this community is controlled by the corrupt Deacon Tull who is a powerful elder. He is trying to take Jane’s land by forcing her to marry him, by harassing Venters and by branding her foreman as a dangerous outsider. He ends up staying on as Jane’s defender while Venters is on the trail of a gang of cattle rustlers that includes a mysterious Masked Rider. Jane is eventually driven off her ranch as the persecution escalates, but she and Lassiter fall in love. Lassiter eventually solves the mystery of his sister’s death when Jane tells him the story of what happened to Millie, and they also discover that the masked rider is Bess, his niece. Tull, Pastor Dyer and the men riding with them are all killed, leaving Jane and Lassiter free to love each other. (RoTPS)

Reviews of the movie may be found on IMDB

Produced by Amer Productions, Rosemont Productions International and Zeke Productions

  • Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, David A. Rosemont, Thomas John Kane and Stella Theodoulou

Directed by Charles Haid

  • Craig West, David Fudge, Dirk Craft, Peggy Stuber

Adapted by Gill Dennis

Cast (in credits order):

Ed Harris Ed Harris …Jim Lassiter; Amy Madigan Amy Madigan …Jane Withersteen

Henry Thomas Henry Thomas …Bern Venters; Robin Tunney Robin Tunney …Elizabeth Erne

Norbert Weisser Norbert Weisser …Deacon Tull; G.D. Spradlin G.D. Spradlin …Pastor Dyer

Lynn Wanlass Lynn Wanlass …Hester Brandt; Bob L. Harris …Collier Brandt

Jerry Wills …Oldring; Rusty Musselman …Matthew Blake

Tom Bower Tom Bower …Judkins; Erin Neal …Background

Stunts by Alvin William ‘Dutch’ Lunak, Chris Branham, Fenton Quinn, Glade Quinn, Gwynn Turnbull Weaver, Jim Wilkey, Johnny Hock, Mark Warrick, Mike Watson, Monty Stuart, Rusty Hendrickson

Music by Arthur Kempel and Bill Purse

Cinematography and editing by William Wages and David Holden, Skip Adams, Amy Carey, LaReine Johnston, David D. Williams

Effects by

  • Thomas Fife, Mitchell Medford and Matt Vogel
  • John R. McConnell, Phillip O’Hanlon, Ray McIntyre Jr., and Reid Paul

Costume, Wardrobe and Make-up by

  • Durinda Wood
  • Cynthia D. Brenner, Bill Edwards, Judy Evers, Kris Hemenway and Amy J. Roberts
  • Richard Arias, Daniel Curet, Paul Huntley, Bren Plaistowe and  Jeffrey Sacino

Wranglers: Don Holyoak, Jesse Shepard, Joe Taylor and Rusty Hendrickson


Translated sub-titles and/or dubbing:

  • Austrian: Erbarmungslos und gefährlich
  • Brazilian Portugese: Cavaleiros do Crepúsuclo
  • Bulgarian: Ездачите от лилавите салвии
  • Finnish: Purppuratasangon ratsastajat
  • French: Les cavaliers de la mort
  • German: Lassiter – Erbarmungslos und gefährlich
  • Greek: I orgi tis moiras
  • Hungarian: Vadnyugati történet
  • Polish: Purpurowy jezdziec
  • Romanian: Secta profitorilor
  • Serbian: Veličanstveni jahači
  • Spanish: El jinete púrpura
  • Swedish: Viddernas ryttare
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 2018-09-09 in Movies

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Video

Riders of the Purple Sage, 1931 film adaptation

1931: Riders of the Purple Sage: Information from IMdB

A Remake of two earlier silent films … Seeking traces of his lost sister and her two young daughters, Jim Lassister reaches the Utah ranch of Jane Withersteen. He offers to help save Jane and her property from the depredations of a gang of crooked officials, organized under Judge Dyer. (Les Adams)

Produced by Fox Film Corporation

  • Edmund Grainger

Directed by Hamilton MacFadden

  • 2nd assistant director Earl Rettig

Adapted by Barry Conners, John F. Goodrich and Philip Klein

Cast:

George O'Brien George O’Brien …Jim Lassiter

Marguerite Churchill Marguerite Churchill …Jane Withersteen

Noah Beery Noah Beery …Judge Dyer

Yvonne Pelletier Yvonne Pelletier …Bess

James Todd …Vern Venters

Stanley Fields Stanley Fields …Oldring

Lester Dorr Lester Dorr …Judkins

Shirley Nail …Fay Larkin

Frank McGlynn Jr. Frank McGlynn Jr. …Adam Tull, Gang leader

Joe Brown …Bit Role

Dick Hunter …Rider

Cliff Lyons Cliff Lyons …Jed

Frank Meredith …Court Extra

Herman Nowlin …Rider

Vinegar Roan …Rider

Delmar Watson …Young Boy

Music by R.H. Bassett and Glen Knight

Cinematography by George Schneiderman

Costumes by Dolly Tree

Art by Don B. Greenwood

Stunts by Cliff Lyons

Presented by William Fox


Dubbed translations:

  • Austrian: Ritter der weiten Wüste
  • Brazilian Portugese: O Passo da Morte
  • Italian: L’amazzone mascherata
  • Portugese: O Salto Decisivo
  • Swedish: Den maskerade ryttaren
  • Ex-Yugoslavia Serbian: Jahaci rumene kadulje

Reviews:

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 2018-09-02 in Movies

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Video

Riders of the Purple Sage, 1925 film adaptation

1925 Riders of the Purple Sage: Information from IMdB

Riders of the Purple Sage is a 1925 American silent western film … the film is about a former Texas Ranger who pursues a corrupt lawyer who abducted his married sister and niece. His search leads him to a remote Arizona ranch and the love of a good woman. (Wikipedia)

Produced by Fox Films Corporation

Directed by Lynn Reynolds

Adapted by Edfrid A. Bingham

Cast:

Tom Mix Tom Mix …Jim Carson aka Jim Lassiter

Beatrice Burnham …Milly Erne

Arthur Morrison …Frank Erne

Warner Oland Warner Oland …Lew Walters aka Judge Dyer

Wilfred Lucas Wilfred Lucas …Oldring

Mabel Ballin …Jane Withersteen

Charles Le Moyne Charles Le Moyne …Richard Tull

Harold Goodwin Harold Goodwin …Bern Venters

Seessel Anne Johnson …Bess as a Child

Hank Bell Hank Bell …Barfly

Gary Cooper Gary Cooper …Rider

Mark Hamilton Mark Hamilton …Outlaw Mr. Tull’s Gang

Fred Kohler Fred Kohler …Henchman Tom Metzger

Charles Newton …Henchman Joe Herd

Marian Nixon Marian Nixon …Bess Erne

Joe Rickson …Henchman Dave Slack

Anne Shirley Anne Shirley …Fay Larkin

Cinematography by Daniel B. Clark

Costumes by Sam Benson

Music by composer William P. Perry

Presented by William Fox


Reviews:

Dubbed translations:

  • Austrian: Der Rächer/Die Todesreiter
  • Brazilan Portugese: O Passo da Morte
  • Finnish:
  • German: Der Rächer
  • French: Tom le vengeur
  • Hungarian: A legjobb rossz ember
  • Polish: Jezdzcy purpurowego stepu
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 2018-08-26 in Movies

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Video

The Border Legion, 1940 film adaptation

The Border Legion, 1940: Information from IMdB

Produced by Republic Pictures

  • Associate producer Joseph Kane

Directed by Joseph Kane

Adapted by Olive Cooper, Louis Stevens and George Carleton Brown

Cast:

Roy Rogers Roy Rogers …Dr. Stephen Kellogg, aka Steve Kells

George 'Gabby' Hayes George ‘Gabby’ Hayes …Honest John Whittaker

Carol Hughes Carol Hughes …Alice Randall

Joe Sawyer Joe/Joseph Sawyer …Jim Gulden

Maude Eburne Maude Eburne …Hurricane Hattie McGuire

Jay Novello Jay Novello …Santos

Hal Taliaferro Hal Taliaferro …Sheriff Amos Link

Dick Wessel Dick Wessel …Oscar Red McGooney

Paul Porcasi Paul Porcasi …Tony

Robert Emmett Keane Robert Emmett Keane …Willets

Eddie Acuff Eddie Acuff …Ticket Agent

Chuck Baldra …Townsman

Ed Brady Ed Brady …Gambler

Fred Burns …Miner

Bob Card Bob Card …Townsman

Spade Cooley Spade Cooley …Musician

Victor Cox …Barfly

Art Dillard …Saloon Patron

Curley Dresden …Miner

Joel Friedkin …Gus

Chick Hannan Chick Hannan …Henchman

Lew Kelly …Miner

Jack Kirk Jack Kirk …Jack

Cactus Mack Cactus Mack …Henchman

Ted Mapes Ted Mapes …Miner

Leo J. McMahon …Barfly

Art Mix Art Mix …Henchman

Monte Montague Monte Montague …Joe

Jack Montgomery Jack Montgomery …Henchman

Post Park …Henchman

Edward Peil Sr. Edward Peil Sr. …Barfly

Pascale Perry …Hank

Trigger Trigger …Steve’s Horse

Henry Wills Henry Wills …Miner

Bob Woodward Bob Woodward …Henchman

Music by Milton Rosen

  • Musical director Cy Feuer
  • Title music by William Lava
  • Stock music by Joseph Nussbaum

Cinematography by Jack A. Marta

  • Supervising editor Murray Seldeen
  • Editing by Edward Mann

Production Manager Al Wilson

Stunts by Yakima Canutt, Art Dillard, Ted Mapes, Leo J. McMahon, Jack Montgomery,  Post Park, Henry Wills, Bob Woodward, Bill Yrigoyen, Joe Yrigoyen


Reviews:


Subtitles/Dubbed translations:

  • Brazilian Portugese: Legião da Fronteira
  • Greek: Tromokratai ton synoron/Τρομοκράται τον συνόρων
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 2018-08-19 in Movies

 

Tags: , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: