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The Young Lion Hunter (Ken Ward II) (1911)

06 Jul
Pumawithdogs-copy

Mountain lion being hunted by hounds (hunting dogs)Credit: Grand Canyon National Park Museum Collection

Harper & Brothers, New York, 1911

The Young Lion Hunter is set to the summer after The Young Forester. Ken Ward has spent a year in college and wishes to work another summer as a Forest Service Ranger. Supervisor Birch allows it and Kenneth off for Utah.

At Holston he is met by his old friends, Dick Leslie and Jim Williams. At first they do not recognize him. Ken has changed quite a bit during his year at college.

To me Ken Ward had changed, and I studied him with curious interest. The added year sat well upon him, for there was now no suggestion of callowness. The old frank, boyish look was the same, yet somewhat different. Ken had worked, studied, suffered. But as to his build, it was easy to see the change. That promise of magnificent strength and agility, which I had seen in him since he was a mere boy, had reached its fulfilment. Lithe and straight as an Indian, almost tall, wide across the shoulders, small-waisted and small-hipped, and with muscles rippling at his every move, he certainly was the most splendid specimen of young manhood I had ever seen.

As a surprise, Ken has brought his younger brother Hal along. Their father had indicated his strong wish for this to happen. Freckles and red hair were Hal’s distinguishing marks along with an attitude that needed trimming. The 14-year old and his brother fit the mold that Zane Grey cast his sibling characters in. Hal is the intense, live in the moment type. Ken is more of the thoughtful and forward-thinking personality.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon;  Credit: Visit Southern Utah

North Rim of the Grand Canyon;
Credit: Visit Southern Utah

Dick Leslie explains that Ken will be his helper. Hiram Bent, game-warden, wishes for the rangers to hunt cougars. They are “thick as hops” and Bent wishes them gone. The area they will be hunting in is the north rim of the Cañon–Grand Cañon in Coconina.

Hal proves that he will not be bullied about his looks or about his riding-abilities. Choosing the finest looking mustang also brings him to the ground a few times before he learns that these mustangs “need” spurring to be ridden. Sounds pretty awful to me and maybe it is. That was the way it was done back then and Hal eventually learned how to handle his choosy pinto.

Pinto Mustangs Credit: Hest.no

Pinto Mustangs
Credit: Hest.no

Let’s face it. People are racists / ethnicists / culturalists /classists / genderists etc. We all are to one degree or another depending on the kind of propaganda we grew up with. Although Zane Grey could be considered one of the authors with a pro-Native American view, he was still a product of the propaganda he had grown up with. So you will to see some stereotyping here with regard to the Navajo guide the foursome have hired for their wildlife management job.

Hal is exposed to the camp-life of the rangers, the wildness of the Grand Canyons and a type of people he was not used to back East. Like Ken did the previous year, Hal loses many of his blinders during the trip and the four end up very definitely having an adventure.

“Hounds runnin’ wild,” yelled Hiram.

The onslaught of the hunter and his charger stirred a fear in me that checked admiration. I saw the green of a low cedar-tree shake and split to let in the huge, gaunt horse with rider doubled over the saddle. Then came the crash of breaking brush and pounding of hoofs from the direction the hounds had taken. We strung out in the lane Hiram left and hung low over the pommels; and though we had his trail and followed it at only half his speed, yet the tearing and whipping we got from the cedar spikes were hard enough indeed.

A hundred rods within the forest we unexpectedly came upon Hiram, dismounted, searching the ground. Mux and Curley were with him, apparently at fault. Suddenly Mux left the little glade and, with a sullen, quick bark, disappeared under the trees. Curley sat on his haunches and yelped.

“Shore somethin’s wrong,” said Jim, tumbling out of his saddle. “Hiram, I see a lion track.”

“Here, fellows, I see one, and it’s not where you’re looking,” I added.

“Now what do you think I’m lookin’ fer if it ain’t tracks?” queried Hiram. “Hyar’s one cougar track, an’ thar’s another. Jump off, youngsters, an’ git a good look at ’em. Hyar’s the trail we were on, an’ thar’s the other, crossin’ at right angles. Both are fresh, one ain’t many minnits old. Prince an’ Queen hey split one way, an’ Mux another. Curley, wise old hound, hung fire an’ waited fer me. Whar on earth is Ringer? It ain’t like him to be lost when thar’s doin’s like this.”

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The Young Lion Hunter on Gutenberg

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Reviews: Charles Wheeler

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Translations:

  • 1952: Ken der Pumajaeger (German)

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Sources

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Posted by on 2014-07-06 in Books

 

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