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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

 

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Posted by on 2018-10-28 in Books

 

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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
 
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Posted by on 2018-08-26 in Movies

 

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The Heritage of the Desert (1910)

Credit: Galactic Central

Credit: Galactic Central

The Popular Magazine starting 15th June 1910 (5 episode serial)
Harper & Brothers, New York 1910
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine starting May 1947
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine (Australia) Dec 1949, Jan 1957, and Jan 1961 (Galactic Central)

The Heritage of the Desert is set to cirka 1878 in Arizona: Lee’s Ferry and Painted Desert (ZGWS).

The Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park;  Credit: Lsaldivar, 20th July 2011

The Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park;
Credit: Lsaldivar, 20th July 2011

John Hare is discovered dying in the desert by Mormons. Because of his settings, Zane Grey often writes about Mormons. Some of his novels are scathing in their critique of their practice of polygamy. But in general he treated them as he treated any other character in his novels. Some were creeps and others were obviously admired by him.

At the very beginning of The Heritage of the Desert we meet a group of men who happen to be Mormons. These guys were worried about helping John Hare who was obviously out to get the outlaw Dene.

“Leave him here,” said one, addressing a gray-bearded giant. “He’s the fellow sent into southern Utah to spy out the cattle thieves. He’s all but dead. Dene’s outlaws are after him. Don’t cross Dene.”

I imagine most of us can relate to not wanting to mess with the baddies. Some of the group decide to leave while August Nabb and his boys decide to save Hare from death by desert.

August Nabb’s party consisted of himself, his sons and his adopted daughter Mescal, wife and other comely women.

Sunset in White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument;  Credit: PDTillman, 15th October 2012

Sunset in White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument;
Credit: PDTillman, 15th October 2012

John Hare had come West for his health. He had been thought a spy. These accusations made it necessary for him to run. Hare had gotten lost and one simply does not get lost in the desert. We quickly see that the outlaws have not given up on finding him.

What Hare discovers is that the regular settlers are harried by two main parties. One of those is the Dene outlaw gang. For the most part these guys steal cattle from the ranchers in the area. Holderness steals something that the people there hold much dearer: Land.

“August, some of our young men need no one to corrupt them. Dene had no great task to win them. He rode in here with a few outlaws and now he has a strong band. We’ve got to face it. We haven’t any law, but he can be killed. Some one must kill him. Yet bad as Dene is, he doesn’t threaten our living as Holderness does. Dene steals a few cattle, kills a man here and there. Holderness reaches out and takes our springs. Because we’ve no law to stop him, he steals the blood of our life—water—water—God’s gift to the desert! Some one must kill Holderness, too!”

Not only does John Hare learn of the troubles the Mormon settlers encounter, he also learns about their faith and discovers that he is in love with Mescal. Loving Mescal is a problem because August Naab would like her to marry one of his own sons.

Painted Desert, Utah;  Credit: Eddie Lluisma

Painted Desert, Utah;
Credit: Eddie Lluisma

As with a couple of his earlier biographical works, we see Zane Grey favoring the romance genre in his writing. I find it fascinating that a man like Grey would be attracted to the romance industry. However, I have come to realize that men often wrote romance back in the day. Most of the authors on the market had male names. I don’t know what the tendency is today.

Back to The Heritage of the Desert. John Hare is very much aware of how much he owes August Nabb.

“They said I fell among thieves,” mused Hare, when he was once more alone. “I’ve fallen among saints as well.” He felt that he could never repay this August Naab. “If only I might live!” he ejaculated. How restful was this cottage garden! The green sward was a balm to his eyes. Flowers new to him, though of familiar springtime hue, lifted fresh faces everywhere; fruit-trees, with branches intermingling, blended the white and pink of blossoms. There was the soft laughter of children in the garden. Strange birds darted among the trees. Their notes were new, but their song was the old delicious monotone—the joy of living and love of spring. A green-bowered irrigation ditch led by the porch and unseen water flowed gently, with gurgle and tinkle, with music in its hurry. Innumerable bees murmured amid the blossoms.

How on earth is he supposed to resolve his obligations to Nabb, his feelings for Mescal and being wanted by Dene and possibly Holderness?

Zane Grey often anonymized real life characters. Given the timeline of the story Cap Brown is a likely candidate for the role of Dene and his gang. (Nichols) It is probable that Holderness was based on the story of the land hungry character of the cattle baron I.W. Lacy.

The expansion of Utah’s cattle industry during the 1870s and 1880s was built upon four cornerstones that included small operations throughout the state, the cattle barons–ranchers like Preston Nutter, B. F. Saunders, James W. Taylor, the Whitmores, and the McIntyres whose animals numbered in the thousands, Mormon cooperative enterprises some associated with United Orders and others such as the Bluff Pool in southeastern Utah which grew in response to outside threats by the Lacy Cattle Company to take over rangeland and control access to water and other resources, and corporate cattle companies who tapped resources in Great Britain, Pittsburgh and other eastern cities, and even Utah investors to found such companies as the Carlisle Cattle Company, the Pittsburgh Land and Livestock Company, the Webster City Cattle Company and the Ireland Cattle Company among others. (UHG)

"Herd Quitters";  By Charles Marion Russell, 1902

“Herd Quitters”;
By Charles Marion Russell, 1902

Another main character of Zane Grey’s novels becomes extremely visible in The Heritage of the Desert. This character appears in every single one of his Western Romances. In The Heritage of the Desert the name of that character is Painted Desert in Utah. On his earlier journey with Buffalo Jones, Zane Grey seemed to fall in love with the landscapes of Utah, Nevada and New Mexico. Having lived in Utah for a few years I see his point.  Grey’s writing captures the beauty of nature in a manner that even my brain manages to envision.

For Mescal was there. Far away she must be, a mere grain of sand in all that world of drifting sands, perhaps ill, perhaps hurt, but alive, waiting for him, calling for him, crying out with a voice that no distance could silence. He did not see the sharp peaks as pitiless barriers, nor the mesas and domes as black-faced death, nor the moisture-drinking sands as life-sucking foes to plant and beast and man. That painted wonderland had sheltered Mescal for a year. He had loved it for its color, its change, its secrecy; he loved it now because it had not been a grave for Mescal, but a home. Therefore he laughed at the deceiving yellow distances in the foreground of glistening mesas, at the deceiving purple distances of the far-off horizon. The wind blew a song in his ears; the dry desert odors were fragrance in his nostrils; the sand tasted sweet between his teeth, and the quivering heat-waves, veiling the desert in transparent haze, framed beautiful pictures for his eyes.

Wolf kept to the fore for some thirty paces, and though he had ceased to stop, he still looked back to see if the horse and man were following. Hare had noted the dog occasionally in the first hours of travel, but he had given his eyes mostly to the broken line of sky and desert in the west, to the receding contour of Echo Cliffs, to the spread and break of the desert near at hand. Here and there life showed itself in a gaunt coyote sneaking into the cactus, or a horned toad huddling down in the dust, or a jewel-eyed lizard sunning himself upon a stone. It was only when his excited fancy had cooled that Hare came to look closely at Wolf. But for the dog’s color he could not have been distinguished from a real wolf. His head and ears and tail drooped, and he was lame in his right front paw.

Hare halted in the shade of a stone, dismounted and called the dog to him. Wolf returned without quickness, without eagerness, without any of the old-time friendliness of shepherding days. His eyes were sad and strange. Hare felt a sudden foreboding, but rejected it with passionate force. Yet a chill remained. Lifting Wolf’s paw he discovered that the ball of the foot was worn through; whereupon he called into service a piece of buckskin, and fashioning a rude moccasin he tied it round the foot. Wolf licked his hand, but there was no change in the sad light of his eyes. He turned toward the west as if anxious to be off.

“All right, old fellow,” said Hare, “only go slow. From the look of that foot I think you’ve turned back on a long trail.”

Again they faced the west, dog leading, man following, and addressed themselves to a gradual ascent. When it had been surmounted Hare realized that his ride so far had brought him only through an anteroom; the real portal now stood open to the Painted Desert. The immensity of the thing seemed to reach up to him with a thousand lines, ridges, canyons, all ascending out of a purple gulf. The arms of the desert enveloped him, a chill beneath their warmth. (Chapter XIV. Wolf)

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The Heritage of the Desert available on Gutenberg, LibriVoxas MP3

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Posted by on 2014-07-08 in Books

 

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The Young Forester (1910)

Forest Ranger on forest fire patrol duty;   Cabinet National Forest, Montana, 1909;  Credit:

Forest Ranger on forest fire patrol duty;
Cabinet National Forest, Montana, 1909;
Credit:

Harper & Brothers, NY 1910

Zane Grey wrote the Ken Ward Books for Boys as adventure stories for a younger audience. In each of them Kenneth Ward sets off into the unknown and through him Zane Grey gets to present both places and issues that were important to him in a manner that appealed to a younger audience.

In The Young Forester Zane Grey discusses what it meant to be a U.S. Forest Service Ranger through his character Ken Ward. Ward has a dream and that dream is to become a Forest Ranger. He just needs to convince his father to let him go to Arizona so he can check the ranger life out in the company of his friend, Dick Leslie. Dick Leslie has already proven himself as a Forest Service Ranger by having the necessary qualities and having passed the required test.

Ken’s father feels Ken has romanticized the life of a ranger too much, but after Ken has taken him through his own woods he realizes that his son has studied the subject and tried to prepare for what lies ahead. So Ken gets his go ahead on the condition that Ken comes back and continues his studies in the autumn.

On his way West, Ken meets a man called Bluell who lives in Holston (Ken’s embarkation station). Ken manages to settle for the night in a hotel and right away sees that people are a lot tougher than he is. Someone as fresh from the East as Ken is in for a lot of trickery but not all are out to get him.

His very first advice is to keep his mouth shut about going into the Ranger business. Secondly, he shouldn’t talk so much about being from the East. And finally he gets advice on how to handle his riding and pack horse. In all these things Bluell seems to steer him true.

mill-at-tiger-creek

The Tiger Creek Mill; Credit: Sierra Nevada Logging Museum

Certain things come to light that Ken finds odd. Coming across the trail that he had lost the day before Ken sees the same Mexican man who had been following him around the evening before. Then Ken arrives at a mining operation in the hills that is run by Bluell. This operation is cutting an awful lot of trees and Ken wonders at how legal this operation is. Dick Leslie seems to have changed quite a bit. All of these things together and Ken is getting a bit worried.

According to one old (real life) ranger:

The only serious opposition I recall was from contractors undertaking to supply timber needed by the larger mining companies for fuel and mine timbers. They had been accustomed to cut large quantities where they pleased, without payment. When the forest reserves were created, the contractors didn’t even attempt to get permits or purchase the timber from the Government, but would help themselves. That kept my father and the rest of us busy. (Richard H. Hanna)

It just so happens that Bluell represents one such contractor and that they aren’t all that concerned about permits or payments. Illegal logging isn’t something people only did back in the old days when they supposedly did not know better. We are really good at it today as well.

Ward overhears Bluell revealing his thoughts about Ken. It isn’t pretty.

Fire fighters going to the front;   Lassen National Forest, California, 1927 (FHS5536);  Credit: U.S. Forest Service History

Fire fighters going to the front;
Lassen National Forest, California, 1927 (FHS5536);
Credit: U.S. Forest Service History

“His name’s Ward. Tall, well-set lad. I put Greaser after him the other night, hopin’ to scare him back East. But nix!”

“Well, he’s here now—to study forestry! Ha! ha!” said the other.

“You’re sure the boy you mean is the one I mean?”

“Greaser told me so. And this boy is Leslie’s friend.”

“That’s the worst of it,” replied Buell, impatiently. “I’ve got Leslie fixed as far as this lumber deal is concerned, but he won’t stand for any more. He was harder to fix than the other rangers, an’ I’m afraid of him.” he’s grouchy now.

“You shouldn’t have let the boy get here.”

“Stockton, I tried to prevent it. I put Greaser with Bud an’ Bill on his trail. They didn’t find him, an’ now here he turns up.”

“Maybe he can be fixed.”

“Not if I know my business, he can’t; take that from me. This kid is straight. He’ll queer my deal in a minute if he gets wise. Mind you, I’m gettin’ leary of Washington. We’ve seen about the last of these lumber deals. If I can pull this one off I’ll quit; all I want is a little more time. Then I’ll fire the slash, an’ that’ll cover tracks.”

“Buell, I wouldn’t want to be near Penetier when you light that fire. This forest will burn like tinder.”

“It’s a whole lot I care then. Let her burn. Let the Government put out the fire. Now, what’s to be done about this boy?”

Understandably, Ken worries where this is going to end. And so he should.

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The Young Forester (Ken Ward book for boys) available on Gutenberg

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Posted by on 2014-07-07 in Books

 

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Sunset Pass (1928)

Sunset Pass - American Magazine

American Magazine, April – October 1928
Grosset and Dunlap, 1931

W. H. D. Koerner is one of the illustrators of Zane Grey novels. He illustrated all seven episodes of the American Magazine publication of the Sunset Pass story published in 1928 from April to October.

Trueman Rock returns to a town he has not seen for six years.

“At the end of the flagstone walk Rock hesitated and halted, as if surprised, even startled. Across the wide street stood a block of frame and brick buildings, with high weatherbeaten signs. It was a lazy scene. A group of cowboys occupied the corner; saddled horses were hitched to a rail; buckboards and wagons showed farther down the street; Mexicans in colourful garb sat in front of a saloon.

Memory stirred to the sight of the familiar corner. He had been in several bad gun fights in this town. The scene of one of them lay before him and a subtle change began to affect his pleasure in returning to Wagontongue. He left the station.

But he had not walked half a block before he came to another saloon, the familiar look of which and the barely decipherable name–Happy Days–acted like a blow in his face. He quickened his step, then, reacting to his characteristic spirit, he deliberately turned back to enter the saloon. The same place, the same bar, and the faded paintings; the same pool tables. Except for a barkeeper, the room was deserted. Rock asked for a drink.”

Trueman walks the halls of memory with the people of today discovering what he is made of, who his true love is and what needs to be done to protect those he cares for. A walk down memory lane with the faces of today in front of you will often challenge previous assumptions. So too with Trueman. Some of those I called my dearest friends have now become as strangers to me because our paths through life have become too dissimilar. Sadly, our changes have not been compatible.

Illustration from American Magazine by WDH Koerner

Illustration from American Magazine by WDH Koerner

Trueman Rock becomes enchanted with Thiry Preston and decides to ask for a job with Gage Preston. Gage Preston seems to be the money of the Wagontongue-Winslow area. His son Ash is considered a bad apple. Every one of Trueman’s old friends warn him against taking up work with the Prestons due to Ash’s reputation and beginning suspicions about the wealth of the family. Rock is struck with his love for Thiry and ignores the advice but keeps his eyes open for potential trouble.

Sunset Pass is based on a real life incident – like many of Zane Grey’s other stories. In real life we meet the Marley family of the Flagstaff-Winslow, Arizona area.

The Marley family had moved into the area from Texas. They had brought some cattle with them and these were let loose on the range (although the other ranchers there did not welcome them). Babbitt’s, Hart’s and Gibbon’s outfits ranged with theirs. Marley’s branched out into the slaughtering business and built a slaughterhouse just outside of Winslow. The Marley’s made one gigantic mistake. The amount of cattle slaughtered and shipped out was way out of their league. Rube Neill started investigating.

“February 1911, Rube Neill, Sheriff Joe Wood of Navajo County and Les Hart, learning that the Marleys were out gathering cattle, went down to Jack’s Canyon and concealed themselves among the rocks where they would have a good view of the corral and slaughterhouse.

It was nearly sundown when they saw Marley and his sons drive a herd of cattle into the corral of the slaughterhouse. They waited until they heard the sound of the kill, and went down.”

The Marley’s were caught red-handed. (PEC, 1966)

Trueman Rock worries about the implication of Thiry not telling anyone about what her family is doing. He fears that she will be thought guilty by association. With him being as besotted with Thiry as he is, Trueman does not want this to happen. When he discovers that others seem interested in what is going on at the Preston ranch, Rock knows that it is only a matter of time before all is revealed.

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Sunset Pass on Gutenberg

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Navajo county history

Prescott Evening Courier – Nov 1, 1966

The Coconino Sun from Flagstaff, Arizona,  November 1, 1912: Pages 7 and 11

 
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Posted by on 2014-07-05 in Books

 

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Desert Gold (unabridged: Shower of Gold) (1913)

Desert Gold - Zane Greys Western Magazine

The Popular Magazine Mar 1, Mar 15, Apr 1, Apr 15, May 1 1913
Harper & Brothers, New York, 1913
Field and Stream Jan, Feb, Apr, Jul 1915, Feb, Apr 1916
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine Jun 1948
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine (Australia) Jan 1950, Dec 1956

Tecolote Camp Pinacate Cholla;  Credit: Jack Dykinga

Tecolote Camp Pinacate Cholla;
Credit: Jack Dykinga

I have created a post of the prologue of Desert Gold. Victor Carl Friesen has commented on it being a short-story all by itself, and I thought I would follow up on that idea (ZGsWW)

Desert Gold was set to about 1911 in Altar Valley in Arizona and the Pinacate Range in Sonora (ZGWS).

Adventure is a vague term, a term often used as something people long for. “My life is so boring, why can’t something exciting happen?” As a child I often found myself romanticizing the lives of the main characters of Zane Grey’s novels. “I want that” is one thought that would go through my head (in Norwegian: “Jeg skulle ønske det kunne skje med meg”). Then adventure of a different sort came into my life and I discovered it was not how I thought it would be. Reading Zane Grey’s texts now makes me appreciate the life I have even more. The “good old days” simply were not especially “good”.

Nogales_Arizona_1910-1920

Nogales Arizona 1910-1920
Real-life Casita
Border marker between the US and Mexico

Richard Gale is at the point I was before my own adventures. He wanted away from the demands of his life. So, he did what a lot of people of the same mind in the US at that time did. He went West, to New Mexico. Around 1911 New Mexico was definitely an adventurous place with plenty of danger and excitement. Richard Gale embraces that adventure and finds himself both loving and hating it.

It was reflection such as this, only more serious and perhaps somewhat desperate, that had brought Gale down to the border. For some time the newspapers had been printing news of Mexican revolution, guerrilla warfare, United States cavalry patrolling the international line, American cowboys fighting with the rebels, and wild stories of bold raiders and bandits. But as opportunity, and adventure, too, had apparently given him a wide berth in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, he had struck southwest for the Arizona border, where he hoped to see some stirring life. He did not care very much what happened. Months of futile wandering in the hope of finding a place where he fitted had inclined Richard to his father’s opinion.

Richard Gale’s father is the Governor. His father is like many of Zane Grey’s fathers. Mr. Gale expects Richard (Dick) to fail and come crawling back home to daddy.

In Casita Dick meets an old friend. George Thorne is with the Ninth Cavalry of the army. Their assignment is to patrol the border and to the best of their ability uphold the peace. Richard’s arrival is at a time when Mexico seems just about to erupt in revolution. George is glad his commission expires in three months. At the time Dick met George, George was trying to get his sweetheart back from the rebel leader Rojas. Richard helps Thorne rescue Mercedes Castanrdes.

Desert Gold - Pancho VillaIn Desert Gold Rojas is called the Robin Hood of the poor. Pancho Villa held that role in real life. Like Rojas Villa was a strict leader. Many of the deeds performed by Villa are the same as the ones performed by Rojas in Desert Gold. Loved by some hunted by others.

Thorne sends Richard and Mercedes into the desert. He is afraid of what Rojas and his people will do. George has to return to his division and help them out against any potential explosion from the Mexican side.

In the desert Dick and Mercedes meets a couple of Anglo cowboys and go with them to the ranch of the Beldings by Forlorn River. Among the Beldings is one Nell. Nell is a lovely young girl with whom all young men seem to fall in love. She and Richard are about to become the main couple of the story with George and Mercedes as their side-kicks.

Desert Gold - Uprising_of_Yaqui_Indians_Remington_1896 Cowboys, cavalry , bandits, Native Americans and rangers all depend upon their horses. Horses have a large role in Desert Gold. Both greed and friendship play a part in the relationships we see between people and the horses we meet. And it really is no wonder that the relationship between human and horse was close. In their work both Thorne and Gale could be out on the range for days and weeks at a time. Some of the areas they ventured into were inhospitable for life of such size. Depending on the love of your horse could end up being a matter of life or death.

This lonely horseman bestrode a steed of magnificent build, perfectly white except for a dark bar of color running down the noble head from ears to nose. Sweatcaked dust stained the long flanks. The horse had been running. His mane and tail were laced and knotted to keep their length out of reach of grasping cactus and brush. Clumsy home-made leather shields covered the front of his forelegs and ran up well to his wide breast. What otherwise would have been muscular symmetry of limb was marred by many a scar and many a lump. He was lean, gaunt, worn, a huge machine of muscle and bone, beautiful only in head and mane, a weight-carrier, a horse strong and fierce like the desert that had bred him.

The rider fitted the horse as he fitted the saddle. He was a young man of exceedingly powerful physique, wide-shouldered, long-armed, big-legged. His lean face, where it was not red, blistered and peeling, was the hue of bronze. He had a dark eye, a falcon gaze, roving and keen. His jaw was prominent and set, mastiff-like; his lips were stern. It was youth with its softness not yet quite burned and hardened away that kept the whole cast of his face from being ruthless.

Zane Grey’s other favorite character of his novels is one here as well. Arizona, New Mexico and Utah’s natures feature heavily in his story, and according to some critics this where Grey shows his mettle as an author. Others find him too wordy. All of his words strung together makes the landscape come alive for me. There is no doubt in my mind that Grey’s greatest love affair was with the landscapes of his stories. No doubt at all.

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Desert Gold on Gutenberg

Shower of Gold, Kindle

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Magazines: The Beaver Herald 1923

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Posted by on 2014-07-04 in Books

 

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The Light of Western Stars (1913)

Munsey’s Magazine, May – December 1913
Harper & Brothers, New York, 1914
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine, November 1949 (RGL)
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine (Australia) Jul 1951, Sep 1958
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine (UK) v1 #6 195? (Galactic Central)

The Light of Western Stars was first published as a serial in Munsey’s magazine in 1913 then published as a novel in 1914. Its backdrop is most likely the beginnings of the Mexican revolution. Set to somewhere around 1912 in the San Bernardino Valley in Arizona and the Peloncillo Mountains in New Mexico the musings about interesting times in the novel do seem to indicate that incursions of guerilla had started. (ZGWS) Because of this forts were built along the border just in case.

Francisco-I-Madero-contra-Porfirio-Diaz-Historia-de-la-Revolucion-MexicanaMadeline (Majesty) Hammond had come to El Cajon in New Mexico to visit her brother, Alfred. She longed to see him again and to get away from the life of a socialite back East. Socialiting had lost its appeal and Madeline now longed for a life with greater meaning than the one she had lived. Once she arrives in El Cajon Madeline discovers that all is not well. For one thing her brother has not received notice of her coming, and for another she meets trouble in the form of Gene Stewart.

Ochard in El Cajon ca. time of novel

Ochard in El Cajon ca. time of novel

Her brother is not doing as well financially as he had intimated in his letters to his sister. Indeed, his financial situation is rather dire. Madeline steps in and supports him both financially and by trying to become part of the life he leads. She buys land for herself and discovers that the West is both wilder and tamer than she had thought and that people were not always what they first seemed.

“He’s sure going to feel the ground,” said Florence, smiling at Madeline. “Miss Hammond, I suppose that prize horse of yours—White Stockings—would spoil his coat if he were heah to roll in this greasewood and cactus.”

During lunch-time Madeline observed that she was an object of manifestly great interest to the three cowboys. She returned the compliment, and was amused to see that a glance their way caused them painful embarrassment. They were grown men—one of whom had white hair—yet they acted like boys caught in the act of stealing a forbidden look at a pretty girl.

“Cowboys are sure all flirts,” said Florence, as if stating an uninteresting fact. But Madeline detected a merry twinkle in her clear eyes. The cowboys heard, and the effect upon them was magical. They fell to shamed confusion and to hurried useless tasks. Madeline found it difficult to see where they had been bold, though evidently they were stricken with conscious guilt. She recalled appraising looks of critical English eyes, impudent French stares, burning Spanish glances—gantlets which any American girl had to run abroad. Compared with foreign eyes the eyes of these cowboys were those of smiling, eager babies.

“Haw, haw!” roared Stillwell. “Florence, you jest hit the nail on the haid. Cowboys are all plumb flirts. I was wonderin’ why them boys nooned hyar. This ain’t no place to noon. Ain’t no grazin’ or wood wuth burnin’ or nuthin’. Them boys jest held up, throwed the packs, an’ waited fer us. It ain’t so surprisin’ fer Booly an’ Ned—they’re young an’ coltish—but Nels there, why, he’s old enough to be the paw of both you girls. It sure is amazin’ strange.”

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The Light of Western Stars available on Gutenberg

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Border War (1910-19)

 
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Posted by on 2014-07-03 in Books

 

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