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The Trail Driver: Zane Grey (1931)

Sometimes I press publish without meaning to. That happened this time. This is a more coherent review than the horror that was sent out the first time.

Translator: Hansheinz Werner

Translator: Hansheinz Werner

Zane Grey’s stories were mainly written to entertain. Entertainment was achieved through action- and romance-driven stories. For a story written in the early 1900’s, there was quite a bit of cussing and violence. Readers should be aware of changes in word-usage. “Ejaculation” in The Trail Driver is used about conversations: ““World comin’ to an end!” ejaculated Texas Joe.” Commonly used words back then are considered racist today. Views expressed in The Trail Driver romanticize cowboys and discriminate against women, Native-Americans and African-Americans. In most ways The Trail Driver is representative of the propaganda of its day (Wisniewski/Nakamura).

American tribes

Portion of US map compiled by Aaron Carapella detailing Americans in the US before Europeans invaded

By the time of the cattle-drives, most of the Plains Indian tribes had been decimated in the genocide of Native American (Jawort). The Comanche were too busy trying surviving the American Army to fight cattle drives for anything but survival (Miheshua, p. 14).

The Trail Driver enters the US at a turning-point of the cattle-drives (1871). It was first published as a serial in McCall’s Magazine, Oct. 1931—Feb. 1932 and later published as hard-cover by Harper & Bros in 1936. Friesen points out that Zane Grey got the crossing of the Chisholm Trail at Doan’s Store wrong. Other than that, Grey seems to have his facts straight. (VC Friesen, ch. 27).

Adam Brite is a Euro-American, middle-aged, single and childless man. He has just made a profit off a run on the Chisholm-trail and seeks to further that profit by a second run. This time he is overly optimistic in buying 4500 head of long-horns (ornery buggers) plus about 200 mustangs for his remuda.

“A 12-man crew could manage a herd of 2,000 to 3,000 head. The trail boss was the ultimate authority on the trail, like the captain of a ship, and was paid $100 to $125 a month. Of the rest of the crew, the cook was the most important, earning about $60 per month.” (Texas Almanac)

Adam’s role in the story is that of father-figure. He joins in the work and tries to not play favorites. In many ways Brite’s role is to point out to the reader what might be going on inside people’s heads: “that the Uvalde cowboy had been shot through the heart by something vastly different from a bullet.” Sometimes he pranks Joe or Reddie if the mood hits him. I guess Adam is a greedy, kind-hearted racist man who was somewhat aware of his own racism.

The foreman Adam got himself has an excellent reputation. Like any good owner, he lets Texas Joe Shipman handle the crew as Joe sees fit. Joe is “tall amber-eyed, tawny-haired young giant might well play havoc with the heart of any fancy-free girl“. Fortunately, he is much more than that. He has to keep the feisty crew in check. Like he says: “I reckon I gotta make myself disliked,” The person he struggles most with (in true Zane Grey romance style) is Reddie Blayne. Joe organizes defense and offense against cattle-rustlers (Russ Hite and gang) and deals with Commanches. His worst problems are the combination of weather and long-horn cattle. .

Joe brings his friend Less Holden along “No better ever forked a hawse. But Less is the wildest hombre.” We don’t see much of Less during the story. His character is one on the outskirts of the crew and its adventure. Less calls himself a “walking calendar” due to his ability to figure out what day it is. The explanation is quite mundane, but I do not want to be a spoil-sport.

Library of Congress

Photo by William Henry Jackson, 1843-1942

Alabama Moze is the cook. “It took no second glance for the boss to be assured that this cook was a treasure“. He brought his own stocked chuck-wagon. In addition to being the place where food is made, the cowhands sleep under it if it rains. Alabama’s job is tough. In addition to getting up hours before the drivers and wranglers, Alabama has to haul wood whenever it was available or use dried cow/buffalo-turds for his fire. At times the chuck-wagon has to be hauled across rivers that sometimes went wild. Alabama is African-American. Grey shows us how African-Americans were usually (Massey, SA) treated on cattle-runs, “... On the trail it was not usual for any rider to share the tasks of a negro. Manifestly Pan Handle Smith was a law unto himself…”. Being the cook, Alabama was probably treated better than regular African-American cow-hands. He is the only one of the crew whose fate we do not learn.

Pan Handle Smith is a gun-fighter and “might have rode up this Trail with Jesse Chisholm an been doin’ it ever since.” Giff MacShane told me that Pan is Pecos Smith in West of the Pecos. When Adam hires him, Smith is looking to get out of San Antonio. Gun-fighters weren’t bad guys/gals per se. “Pan Handle Smith had been outlawed, but he had really been more sinned against than sinning.” During the story, Smith calms tempers in both cattle and feisty teen-agers and supports Shipman as foreman.

The Uvalde quintet are “de finest an’ fightenest boys I ever seen,“. Their leader is Deuce Ackerman who “appeared to be the most forceful personality“, a quality needed to handle his friends. We see more of him than the other four. San Sabe comes a close second. San Sabe “had Indian or Mexican blood, and his lean shape wore the stamp of vaquero.” He has a lovely voice and it works wonders “That was the magic by which the trail drivers soothed the restless long-horns.” Rolly Little is “small and round. He had yellow hair, a freckled face, and flashing brown eyes, as sharp as daggers.” Ben Chandler is a “typical Texas youth, long, rangy, loose-jointed, of sandy complexion and hair, and eyes of clear, light blue“. His drinking problem gets him into serious trouble with Deuce, Joe and Adam. Roy Hallett is the last of the five. He is “a quiet, somber, negative youth“.

In addition, Adam is joined by Hal Bender, “the tenderfoot from Pennsylvania, appeared to be a hulking youth, good natured and friendly, though rather shy“, and Whittaker (no first name) was “a red-faced, sleepy-eyed, young rider of twenty-two, notable for his superb physique“. Finally, at Pecan Swale, their first stop, their last addition in the form of Reddie Bayne arrives: “Before the rider stopped Brite answered to a presagement not at all rare in him—that there were meetings and meetings along the trail. This one was an event.” Brite is correct in his presentiment. No Reddie, no The Trail Driver.

Artist: Edward Rapier, July 27, 1878

Artist: Edward Rapier, July 27, 1878

Shortly after the arrival of Reddie, Grey reveals that Bayne is a girl. While not common, women on the trail were a known phenomenon. They chose this tough life for many reasons. “An’ I got the idee pretendin’ to be a boy would make it easier. Thet helped a lot. But I’d always get found oot.” Turns out the last boss who found her out wants her back. Wallen, a rancher from Braseda, is a nasty guy. He rides into the camp at Pecan Swale demanding Reddie: “… I want this rider, Reddie Bayne. He come to me in a deal I made with Jones at Braseda.” At this point the crew learns that Reddie is a girl. Adam has known it for some time.

Wallen is joined by Ross Hite. Ross is a cattle- and mustang-rustler. “Humph! Mebbe Hite is at the haid of this new game,” declared the boss, seriously. “Cattle-drivers sometimes lose half their stock from stampeders. I’ve heahed of one whole herd bein’ stole.” To add to the tension of the story, Grey throws in Comanche raiders.

The Indian mustangs were haltered to the saplings at the edge of the glade. What a ragged, wild-eyed bunch! They had nothing but halters. These they strained against at every rifle-shot. And more than a few of them faced the covert where the drivers lay in ambush. They had caught a scent of the whites. Heads were pointed, ears high, nostrils quivering.

Even the weather conspires to make life miserable for the drivers. In real life, the weather and ornery nature of the long-horns were enough of a challenge on most drives.

The night fell dark, with rumble of thunder and sheet lightning in the distance. The tired cattle bedded down early and held well all night. Morning came lowering and threatening, with a chill wind that swept over the herd from the north. Soon the light failed until day was almost as dark as night. A terrific hailstorm burst upon the luckless herd and drivers. The hailstones grew larger as the storm swept on, until the pellets of gray ice were as large as walnuts. The drivers from suffering a severe pounding passed to extreme risk of their lives. They had been forced to protect heads and faces with whatever was available. Reddie Bayne was knocked off her horse and carried senseless to the wagon; San Sabe swayed in his saddle like a drunken man; Texas Joe tied his coat round his sombrero and yelled when the big hailstones bounced off his head; bloody and bruised, the other drivers resembled men who had engaged in fierce fistic encounters.

I still enjoy Zane Grey’s stories, but keep on wondering how I would read them if I was Native American or African American. Whenever gender bias comes up, I’m jarred out of the flow. That is most likely a good thing and might well have to do with my sense of fairness evolving. Reading stories that were written almost 100 years ago, is always a strange experience. Noting that many stories today are still as problematic is kind of depressing.

During its heyday, between 1867 and 1884, some five million cattle and an equal number of mustangs were moved along the trail. 


The Trail Driver is available for free at Faded Page and Roy Glashan’s Library


Reviews:


Translations:

  • Croatian: Gonič stada; Translator: Omer Lakomica; Rijeka, Otokar Keršovani, 1966
  • Czech: Jezdci z pastvin; Translator:  Jaroslava  Vojtěchová; Praha: Olympia (to 1992), 1965
  • Finnish: Aavikon ratsastaja; Translator: Werner Anttila; Porvoo, Helsinki, W. Söderström, 1939
  • German: In der Prärie; Translator: Dr. Franz Eckstein, Berlin, Th. Knaur Nachf, 193
    • Sie kämpften sich durch; Translator: Hansheinz Werner; München: F. Schneider, 1969
    • In der Prärie; Translator: Hansheinz Werner; München: Heyne, 1981
  • Hungarian: A vöröshajú leány; Translator: Ruzitska Mária; Budapest, Palladis, 1937
  • Italian: La lunga pista; Translator: Simonetta Damiani; Milano, Sonzogno, 1968 (Cover artist: Guido Crepax)
  • Portugese: O guia da montanha; Translator: Fernanda Pinto Rodrigues; Lisboa: Ag. Port. de Revistas, 1959
  • Spanish: El conductor de manadas; Translator: Lino Novás Calvo / José Luis Fernández; Barcelona, Juventud, 1937

Sources

 

 
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Posted by on 2016-06-08 in Books

 

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Films based on “Wildfire”

1922: When Romance Rides (Wildfire)

  • Directed by Jean Hersholt, Eliot Howe and Charles O. Rush
  • Produced by Benjamin B. Hampton
  • Starring Claire Adams, Carl Gantvoort and Jean Hersholt
    • Harry Van Meter, Charles Arling, Mary Jane Irving, Tod Sloan and Audrey Chapman
  • Portugese: Romance da Planície

“When Zane Grey‘s novel, Wildfire, was filmed here, it somehow turned into a hoary Drury Lane-style melodrama, set in the West instead of England. While chasing an unruly colt through the hills, Lin Slone (Carl Gantvoort) is knocked unconscious. Lucy Bostil (Claire Adams) finds him — a stroke of luck, since her father (Charles Arling), who owns a stable, has a formidable rival in the villainous Bill Cordts (Harry L. Van Meter). Cordts will do anything to make sure his horse beats out Bostil’s in the next race, including drugging the steed. Slone has trained his colt, named Wildfire, to carry a rider, and he gives him to Lucy, providing she ride it in the race. She does, and Wildfire wins. But the story’s not over yet — in one last bit of villainy, Cordts and his half-wit accomplice, Joel Creech (a not-very half-witted Jean Hersholt), kidnap Lucy. Sloan, of course, heads into the mountains and rescues her for the requisite ending clinch. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Reviews:

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1949: Red Canyon (Wildfire)

Red Canyon was one of several medium-budget, Technicolor westerns turned out by Universal-International between 1949 and 1959. Howard Duff plays wandering cowpoke Lin Sloane, who spends most of the film trying to capture a fabled wild stallion. While thus occupied, he finds time to romance Lucy Bostel (Ann Blyth), daughter of the region’s most influential horsebreeder (George Brent). Conflicts arise when Lucy intends to race the captured stallion, much to the dismay of her father; there’s also a major brouhaha involving Sloane’s disreputable family heritage. Red Canyon was adapted by Maurice Geraghty from a rugged novel by Zane Grey. (Film Affinity)

Translation:

  • Austrian: Die rote Schlucht
  • Belgian: Le roi de la vallée
  • Brazil Portugese: Escrava do Ódio
  • Dutch: De Strijd in ‘t rotsgebergte
  • German: Hurrikan (TV) / Die rote Schlucht
  • Danish: De vilde hestes konge
  • Spanish: Huracán
  • Finnish: Tuliharja
  • French: Le mustang noir
  • Greek: Sto farángi tou trómou / Στο φαράγγι του τρόμου
  • Italian: Figlio del delitto
  • Portugese: Sangue Ardente
  • Swedish: De vilda hästarnas dal

Reviews:

  • Fred Blosser: Handsomely mounted and well acted, “Red Canyon” is an engaging, unpretentious tale about second chances that should be better known than it is.”
  • French forum for Western films: “Le jeu des acteurs secondaires est assez intéressant avec un (court) duo étonnant à l’écran : Chill Wills et Edgar Buchanan.”
  • Greenbriars Picture Shows: “… this was among loveliest-shot westerns the decade offered.”
  • James D’Arc: “School was cancelled and workers left their daily labor when Kanab locals were needed to get into costume and become a crowd at the Kanab Race Track for the horse-racing scenes …”
  • Jacqueline T. Lynch (Wonderful review): “Buchanan’s speech is so tangled up in the most outlandish and complicated blustering euphemisms that I’m surprised he could remember half his lines.  I’d love to see the outtakes; they’re real tongue-twisters and he had to have messed up sometimes.”
  • Once upon a time in a Western: “One of the better scenes is watching little Lucy’s reaction as she opens her birthday present from her dad, and finds it complete with corset, bustle and other female do-dads.”
  • Robert Cornell: “Only Chill Will’s typical character acting distinguishes this very minor and rather childish western.”
  • Scott O’Brien: “… Bostel mistakenly buys Lucy a frilly frock for her eighteenth birthday. He may as well have given her a cow pie.”
  • T.M.P., New York Times: “While “Red Canyon” is not a picture to create any special enthusiasm, it runs its course in agreeable enough fashion.”

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Sources

 
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Posted by on 2015-09-15 in Movies

 

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Thunder Mountain (1932)

 Index map of southern and central Idaho mining regions; Credit: Idaho State Historical Society


Index map of southern and central Idaho mining regions;
Credit: Idaho State Historical Society

 

1932: October 22 – December 24: Collier’s Serial. Ten episodes.
1935: New York: Harper and BrothersThunder Mountain - Colliers magazine - 1st installment

I have an admission to make. A great many years ago I lived in Utah for five years with my family and attended High School there and went to Mormon religious classes, called Seminary. In both I learned the history of Mormons and the history of the West. But the only thing I retained about Idaho was potatoes. Idaho was/is known for its potatoes. Until I did the research for my review I knew absolutely nothing about Idaho and its gold rushes. Now I do.

Zane Grey wrote the novel Thunder Mountain while living on Williams Lake. Thunder Mountain derives its name from local Indians that named it after hearing thunder reverberate through the narrow valley forming Williams Lake.

Like many of Zane Grey’s historical romances, Thunder Mountain was based on real life happenings. There were indeed three brothers who came to Thunder Mountain. Their names were Lew, Ben and Dan Caswell. The brothers started their adventure at Thunder Mountain around 1894 and it was the brothers who gave Thunder Mountain its name.

Apparently, Zane Grey made the decision to write about the gold strike at Thunder Mountain in 1931.

Where did Elmer Keith spend most of his hunting and outfitting days? He was a guide for many years in the state in which he lived. In 1931, Keith guided the author Zane Grey and friends in the Middle Fork country. It was from this trip that Grey wrote the novel “Thunder Mountain”.

Real-life Emerson brothers;  Credit: Idaho State Historical Society

Real-life Emerson brothers;
Credit: Idaho State Historical Society

There were several gold rushes in the US and they were all mad affairs. Once the magic word “gold” was heard, people left their families and homes to seek after what they thought would be easy money. In the case of the Thunder Mountain rush, the magic words came from the Caswell brothers. We, however, are concerned with the fictional story.

One night when the afterglow of sunset loomed dull red upon the pool and the silence of the wilderness lay like a mantle upon the valley, the old beaver noticed a strange quivering ripple passing across the placid surface of her pool. There was no current coming from the brook, there was no breath of wind to disturb the dead calm. She noticed the tremors pass across the pool, she sniffed the pine-scented air, she listened with all the sensitiveness of a creature of the wild.

From high up on the looming mountain slope, from the somber purple shadow, came down a low rumble, a thunder that seemed to growl from the bowels of the great mountain.

Thunder Mountain comes to life and hundreds of years before the Emerson brothers enter life, gold begins to make its appearance near the surface of Thunder Mountain.

For long there was nothing. The valley seemed dead. The mountains slept. The stars watched. Wild life lay in its coverts. Then there came a ticking of tiny pebbles down the slope, a faint silken rustle of sliding dust, a strange breath of something indefinable, silence, and then again far off, a faint crack of rolling rocks, a moan, as a subterranean monster trying to breathe in the bowels of the earth, and at last, deep and far away, a rumble as of distant thunder.

Once again Thunder Mountain wakes. This time, those who hear are the Sheepeater Indians fleeing from soldiers taking over their lands. They decide to listen to its voice and move on.

Thunder Mountain - This is the valley all rightEnter the Emerson brothers (Sam, Jake and Lee/Kalispel/Kal). The Emerson brothers are the ones who begin the race for gold, but they are not the ones who end it. Indeed, once Kal comes back from getting supplies (Jake has gone off to stake a claim) he discovers the valley full of prospectors and empty of Sam. The main man in the valley, Rand Leavitt, claims that he had found the valley abandoned, but Lee suspects Rand of being his brother’s killer:

“Leavitt, I’ll let you off because men like you hang themselves,” declared Kalispel, bitterly. “But I’m accusin’ you before this crowd. You’re crooked, you made away with my brother an’ jumped his claim. I call on all here to witness my stand against you an’ my oath that I’ll live to prove it.”

Rand and Kal are our main male characters with Cliff Borden and Jake as their respective seconds. There are two female lead characters. One is Sydney Blair, the Easterner come west with her father. Sidney falls under the spell of Rand Leavitt while her father struggles with drinking and gambling. Nugget (Ruth) is a dance-hall girl. The job of a dance-hall girl was to get the customers to buy drinks and to dance with the men who came into the hall. They were generally considered bad girls but not “the worst sort” (Painted Ladies).

Knowing exactly who is good or bad in many of Zane Grey’s historical romances can be a difficult thing. Perhaps being able to tell good from bad has something to do with the lengths to which his characters are willing to go to satisfy their wishes. Rand Leavitt and his compatriots are certainly willing to do a great many nefarious deeds to maintain control of the wealth discovered in the valley (Thunder City). Kal and his brother have more scruples.

Sidney and her father seem to be kind of pitiful characters. Falling for Rand (or at least seeming to fall for Rand) has made Sidney blind and deaf to the evidence mounting against her love. That’s nothing new. I see that all the time in real life. Cognitive dissonance is painful and exhausting. I’ve been through it myself and taking off the blinders hurts. Sidney is in for a whole lot of pain.

Roosevelt Idaho - Monumental Creek - Thunder Mountain

Credit: Idaho State Historical Society

Nugget/Ruth is tougher sort. She has had to support herself to survive. Being a dance-hall girl would have exposed her to a plethora of personalities, traits and temperaments. Such a job would have shown her the worst and the best of men. Maintaining her belief in people and life must have been difficult. I imagine all dance-hall girls struggled with that. It is not a life I would choose for a daughter or son of mine, but it is a whole lot safer than needing to prostitute yourself. Like today, prostitutes had it rough.

Kal. Hmmm. I can understand him. Accepting responsibility for my actions was something I struggled with for a long time. Or perhaps it was more a case of accepting responsibility for the consequences of my actions. Kal has a tendency to make excuses for what has happened in his life. There are probably always mitigating circumstances in lives. But what happens, happens no matter what the circumstances were. At least that is what I have found and that is an acknowledgement we see Kal grow into as the story progresses.

Happy endings? Perhaps, but not really. As in real life, dreams are broken and so are lives. Some of the characters find peace in their hearts in spite of what they have been through to get there. I guess that could be called a happy ending.

And Thunder Mountain? Well Thunder Mountain continues to stand today and still sheds its skin from time to time, as I imagine it will continue to do for a long time to come.

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Thunder Mountain available at Ron Glashan’s library

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Reviews:

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Translations:

  • 1935-1939: Das Goldgräbertal (German)
  • 1935: Il monte del tuono
  • 1939: Ukkosvuori (Finnish)
  • 1963: Gullgraverbyen (Norwegian)
  • 1936: Hromová hora (Czech)

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Sources

 
1 Comment

Posted by on 2014-09-04 in Books

 

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Betty Zane (Ohio River I) (1903)

Heroism of Miss Elizabeth Zane, 1851

Popular Graphic Arts; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-2355

Charles Francis Press, New York, 1903

Parents’ Magazine Press, 1947

In this busy progressive age there are no heroes of the kind so dear to all lovers of chivalry and romance. There are heroes, perhaps, but they are the patient sad-faced kind, of whom few take cognizance as they hurry onward. But cannot we all remember some one who suffered greatly, who accomplished great deeds, who died on the battlefield–some one around whose name lingers a halo of glory? Few of us are so unfortunate that we cannot look backward on kith or kin and thrill with love and reverence as we dream of an act of heroism or martyrdom which rings down the annals of time like the melody of the huntsman’s horn, as it peals out on a frosty October morn purer and sweeter with each succeeding note.

Betty Zane portrait from Zane Grey novel. Credit: West Virginia Division of Culture and History

Betty Zane portrait from Zane Grey novel.
Credit: West Virginia Division of Culture and History

The 1700’s was was a time when American Indians were becoming increasingly hostile. No wonder. The invaders were moving farther and farther west and were basically squatting on American Indian land. I can’t say I would be too happy about that myself.

These reckless bordermen knew not the meaning of fear; to all, daring adventure was welcome, and the screech of a redskin and the ping of a bullet were familiar sounds; to the Wetzels, McCollochs and Jonathan Zane the hunting of Indians was the most thrilling passion of their lives; indeed, the Wetzels, particularly, knew no other occupation. They had attained a wonderful skill with the rifle; long practice had rendered their senses as acute as those of the fox. Skilled in every variety of woodcraft, with lynx eyes ever on the alert for detecting a trail, or the curling smoke of some camp fire, or the minutest sign of an enemy, these men stole onward through the forest with the cautious but dogged and persistent determination that was characteristic of the settler.

They at length climbed the commanding bluff overlooking the majestic river, and as they gazed out on the undulating and uninterrupted area of green, their hearts beat high with hope.

The keen axe, wielded by strong arms, soon opened the clearing and reared stout log cabins on the river bluff. Then Ebenezer Zane and his followers moved their families and soon the settlement began to grow and flourish. As the little village commenced to prosper the redmen became troublesome. Settlers were shot while plowing the fields or gathering the harvests. Bands of hostile Indians prowled around and made it dangerous for anyone to leave the clearing. Frequently the first person to appear in the early morning would be shot at by an Indian concealed in the woods.

General George Rodgers Clark, commandant of the Western Military Department, arrived at the village in 1774. As an attack from the savages was apprehended during the year the settlers determined to erect a fort as a defense for the infant settlement. It was planned by General Clark and built by the people themselves. At first they called it Fort Fincastle, in honor of Lord Dunmore, who, at the time of its erection, was Governor of the Colony of Virginia. In 1776 its name was changed to Fort Henry, in honor of Patrick Henry. (From prologue)

As we see from Zane Grey’s prologue the men who set out to settle new land did not care what it took to acquire that land.

Back then a common term for the American Indian was savage. I imagine a term like that made it easier for the people coming to conquer lands to justify their deeds. Like the many stories of people coming from other places and taking land from the natives, this era in the history of the US nation is something one needs to regret. While both sides of the battle for land were guilty of atrocities, there is no doubt which side bears the greater blame. That does not exclude individuals from being able to perform heroic deeds to save their own group from destruction. Elizabeth Zane was such a person.

Elizabeth “Betty” Zane McLaughlin Clark (July 19, 1765 – August 23, 1823) was a heroine of the Revolutionary War on the American frontier. She was the daughter of William Andrew Zane and Nancy Ann (née Nolan) Zane, and the sister of Ebenezer Zane, Silas Zane, Jonathan Zane, Isaac Zane and Andrew Zane. (Wikipedia)

The main attraction of the story about Betty Zane’s deed for me is the fact that we finally get to hear about a woman being the great example to follow. Zane Grey’s stories are filled with women who are strong. But he cannot help himself when he lets patriarchy shine through his depiction of his ancestor and the other women of his stories.

Elizabeth Zane - Poem from St NicholasBut what can women do in times of war? They help, they cheer, they inspire, and if their cause is lost they must accept death or worse. Few women have the courage for self-destruction. “To the victor belong the spoils,” and women have ever been the spoils of war.

No wonder Silas Zane and his men weakened in that moment. With only a few charges for their rifles and none for the cannon how could they hope to hold out against the savages? Alone they could have drawn their tomahawks and have made a dash through the lines of Indians, but with the women and the children that was impossible.

“Wetzel, what can we do? For God’s sake, advise us!” said Silas hoarsely. “We cannot hold the Fort without powder. We cannot leave the women here. We had better tomahawk every woman in the block-house than let her fall into the hands of Girty.”

“Send someone fer powder,” answered Wetzel.

“Do you think it possible,” said Silas quickly, a ray of hope lighting up his haggard features. “There’s plenty of powder in Eb’s cabin. Whom shall we send? Who will volunteer?”

Three men stepped forward, and others made a movement.

“They’d plug a man full of lead afore he’d get ten foot from the gate,” said Wetzel. “I’d go myself, but it wouldn’t do no good. Send a boy, and one as can run like a streak.”

“There are no lads big enough to carry a keg of powder. Harry Bennett might go,” said Silas. “How is he, Bessie?”

“He is dead,” answered Mrs. Zane.

Wetzel made a motion with his hands and turned away. A short, intense silence followed this indication of hopelessness from him. The women understood, for some of them covered their faces, while others sobbed.

“I will go.” (Chapter XIV)

And so Elizabeth gets the chance to shine, to show the world that women are more than they are allowed to be in a society where women are thought to the be the nurturers not the protectors. She shows that if there are people in war who have courage it is the women who are expected to support but not chance their own lives. Not matter what my views are on the conflict between the various sides of the American Revolution and the Anglos against the Native Americans, Elizabeth Zane is to me a person whose courage shines as the sun.

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Available at Lambertville Library (with illustrations by Louis F. Grant)

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Reviews:

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Translations:

  • Bosnian: Posljednji graničar; Kapić, Dika; Sarajevo, Oslobođenje, 1990.
  • Croatian: Betty Zane (Posljednji graničar); Lakomica, Omer; Rijeka, Otokar Keršovani, 1960.
  • Czech: Betty Zane; Vorel, Josef, Brno, Návrat, 1927.
  • Dutch: Betty Zane (Een kind van het Westen); Roldanus, Jr., W J A; Utrecht, A.W. Bruna & Zoon’s. Uitgevers-Maatschappij, 1925.
  • Estonian: Betty Zane; Tallinn, Olion, 1996.
  • Finnish: Betty Zane (seikkailukertomus Pohjois-Amerikasta intiaanisotien ajoilta); Nyman, O. E.; Helsinki, Kirja, 1925.
  • German: Betty Zane (Heldenmädchen von Fort Henry); Werner, Baudisch, Paul; Berlin, Th. Knaur Nachf., 1928.
  • Hungarian: Betty Zane: regény (A vadon leánya); Zigány, Árpád; Budapest, Palladis Rt. Kiadasa, 192-.
  • Italian: Betty Zane; Pitta, Alfredo; Milano, Sonzogno, 1932.
  • Norwegian: Betty Zane; Thue, Hans Fr.; Oslo, Fredhøi, 1920. (Gratis tilgang Nasjonalbiblioteket for norske IPer)
  • Serbian: Betty Zane; Kumanac, Vlado; Zagreb, HRT Naklada, 1944.
  • Slovakian: Neodovzdaný list; Dzurillová, Elena & Schnitzer, Teodor; Bratislava, Mladé letá, 1985.
  • SpanishLa heroína de Fort Henry: Betty Zane; Gols, Joan; Barcelona, Juventud, 1929.

    • Catalan Spanish: Betty Zane; Jané, Jordi; Barcelona, Joventut, 1989

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Sources

 
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Posted by on 2014-07-13 in Books

 

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Riders of the Purple Sage (1912)

Mormon polygamous family

Mormon polygamous family

Field & Stream,  January 1912 – July 1913
Grosset and Dunlap, 1912

Riders of the Purple Sage By: Greg Martin,

Riders of the Purple Sage
By: Greg Martin,

Riders of the Purple Sage was set to Southern Utah around the time of 1871. (ZGWS) At this point in time Mormons had a bad reputation, and rightly so in many instances. Polygamy was common practice among the leaders. Sometimes they would even marry the wives of “lesser” men. Whether they actually stole the wives of gentiles, I do not know.

Zane Grey was generally positive to Mormons. But when it came to their views on women and their practices with regard to polygamy he was not a fan. (Romancing the West) In fact Zane Grey considered the plural wives of mormon polygamous marriages to be the unhappiest women on the earth.

Wanted sign for patriarchsJane Withersteen’s was a Mormon woman of privilege. Her father had been Patriarch Withersteen and a fairly wealthy man. When he dies and leaves his land to Jane, she is left with more choices than quite a few widows of the time. One of those choices is to be kind to Gentiles. Some of them worked for her on her farm (Ventner) and the recently arrived gunman, Lassiter. Both try to protect Jane from the Elders of the Mormon church.

It was still daylight in the open, but under the spreading cottonwoods shadows were obscuring the lanes. Venters drew Jane off from one of these into a shrub-lined trail, just wide enough for the two to walk abreast, and in a roundabout way led her far from the house to a knoll on the edge of the grove. Here in a secluded nook was a bench from which, through an opening in the tree-tops, could be seen the sage-slope and the wall of rock and the dim lines of canyons. Jane had not spoken since Venters had shocked her with his first harsh speech; but all the way she had clung to his arm, and now, as he stopped and laid his rifle against the bench, she still clung to him.

“Jane, I’m afraid I must leave you.”

“Bern!” she cried.

“Yes, it looks that way. My position is not a happy one—I can’t feel right—I’ve lost all—”

“I’ll give you anything you—”

“Listen, please. When I say loss I don’t mean what you think. I mean loss of good-will, good name—that which would have enabled me to stand up in this village without bitterness. Well, it’s too late…. Now, as to the future, I think you’d do best to give me up. Tull is implacable. You ought to see from his intention to-day that—But you can’t see. Your blindness—your damned religion!… Jane, forgive me—I’m sore within and something rankles. Well, I fear that invisible hand will turn its hidden work to your ruin.”

“Invisible hand? Bern!”

“I mean your Bishop.” Venters said it deliberately and would not release her as she started back. “He’s the law. The edict went forth to ruin me. Well, look at me! It’ll now go forth to compel you to the will of the Church.”

“You wrong Bishop Dyer. Tull is hard, I know. But then he has been in love with me for years.”

“Oh, your faith and your excuses! You can’t see what I know—and if you did see it you’d not admit it to save your life. That’s the Mormon of you. These elders and bishops will do absolutely any deed to go on building up the power and wealth of their church, their empire. Think of what they’ve done to the Gentiles here, to me—think of Milly Erne’s fate!”

New Riders of the Purple SageLassiter is looking for his sister, Milly Erne. He fears she has been kidnapped by Mormon Elders. Sadly, he discovers that to be the truth and also discovers that she has already died. Milly Erne was lured away from her husband by Mormon Bishop Dyer. Dyer then turned her over to Withersteen who tied her up and raped her until she became pregnant with his child. Millie was then hidden away with the other wives of Patriarch Withersteen.

Jealousy and greed always looks for an excuse to do what is “right”. Elder Tull wants both Jane and her farm, but she does not want him. You all know that he is not going to be happy about Jane refusing him. The elders decide to use nefarious methods to carry out their goal and they do seem to succeed for a while. Gradually they frighten away most of her cowboys, and rustlers steal away her cattle, but the gunman Lassiter stands by her as the inevitable confrontation draws near.

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Riders of the Purple Sage on Gutenberg

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Reviews:

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Translations:

  • 1924: Purppurarinteiden ratsastajat (Finnish)
  • 1924: Den sorte rytter (Norwegian)
  • 1924: Purpurviddernas ryttare (Swedish)
  • 1930: Das Gesetz der Mormonen (German)
  • 1932: La valle delle sorprese (Italian)
  • 2008: Librivox recording
  • 1976: Lassiter (Italian)

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Films/Movies

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Sources

 
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Posted by on 2014-07-05 in Books

 

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The Desert of Wheat (1918)

lossy-page1-402px-'Patriots_Use_Corn_Meal._It_Cannot_Be_Shipped._It_is_Splendid_Eating._It_is_Cheaper_Than_Wheat_Flour._It_Saves_Wheat...._-_NARA_-_512550.tif

The Country Gentleman, May 4, 1918 ff.
Harper & Brothers, New York, 1919
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine, December 1948
Zane Grey’s Western Magazine (Australia) Aug 1950, Oct 1959 (Galactic Central)

During World War I, German saboteurs in the United States used anthrax and glanders to sicken more than 3,500 horses before they were shipped from U.S. ports to the British and French armies. (Biowarfare Against Agriculture)

Produce and live stock that need to be transported into battle-fields are great targets for the enemy. The Germans were no strangers to biowarfare during World War I, so Desert of Wheat was well within the realm of possibility of what might have occurred. Not only that, but Desert of Wheat made a wonderful piece of propaganda for the US and allied side of the war in its depiction of young Dorn going off to fight his German ancestral lands.

The changes brought about by the new century were many. Most of these were of an industrial nature but also included a change in the desire of the working person to be used and abused by their employers. All change has the potential of changing the lives of some into something not quite as exclusive as it used to be and will often be perceived as a threat. As such, Grey’s Desert of Wheat also made for a wonderful work of propaganda.

Zane Grey's Western Magazine;  V 2 #10 December 1948

Zane Grey’s Western Magazine;
V 2 #10 December 1948

Through thrills, romance, adventure and nature Zane Grey had the needed tools to get his message across to the reader. Propaganda is a daily factor of our lives. Sometimes it is cleverly hidden and sometimes the messages are fairly clear. Seen as far from the events as 2014 is, I find it fairly simple to realise what Grey is doing with Desert of Wheat. He does it cleverly and it might not have been such a simple matter to become aware of his tactics back in 1919. Hind-sight is, after all, such a wonderful thing.

He went into the big, dimly lighted dining-room. There was a shelf on one side as he went in, and here, with his back turned to the room, he laid the disjointed gun and his hat. Several newspapers lying near attracted his eye. Quickly he slipped them under and around the gun, and then took a seat at the nearest table. A buxom German waitress came for his order. He gave it while he gazed around at his grim-faced old father and the burly Neuman, and his ears throbbed to the beat of his blood. His hand trembled on the table. His thoughts flashed almost too swiftly for comprehension. It took a stern effort to gain self-control.

Evil of some nature was afoot. Neuman’s presence there was a strange, disturbing fact. Kurt had made two guesses, both alarmingly correct. If he had any more illusions or hopes, he dispelled them. His father had been won over by this arch conspirator of the I.W.W. And, despite his father’s close-fistedness where money was concerned, that eighty thousand dollars, or part of it, was in danger.

Kurt wondered how he could get possession of it. If he could he would return it to the bank and wire a warning to the Spokane buyer that the wheat was not safe. He might persuade his father to turn over the amount of the debt to Anderson. While thinking and planning, Kurt kept an eye on his father and rather neglected his supper. Presently, when old Dorn and Neuman rose and left the dining-room, Kurt followed them. His father was whispering to the proprietor over the desk, and at Kurt’s touch he glared his astonishment.

WORLD WAR I: BATTLEFIELD. Gun crew, Regimental HQ Co., 23rd Infantry, 2nd Division, firing a 37mm gun during an advance through Belleau Wood, France, June 1918.

WORLD WAR I: BATTLEFIELD. Gun crew, Regimental HQ Co., 23rd Infantry, 2nd Division, firing a 37mm gun during an advance through Belleau Wood, France, June 1918. Image No. 0004498. Credit: The Granger Collection, NYC

When Kurt arrives at the battlefield he discovers what war is all about and what its ramifications in in his life and in the lives of the other soldiers out fighting each other.

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The Desert of Wheat on Gutenberg

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Reviews:

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Films/Movies

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Translation:

  • 1965: Vesten i flammer (Norwegian)

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America Declares War on Germany, 1917

Anti-war resolution passed by the 1916 convention of the Industrial Workers of the World

Biowarfare Against Agriculture

Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s

Out of the Dust: Dust Bowl Causes, Conflict and Resolution

The Prevention of Stinking Smut of Wheat and Loose Smut of Oats

War Propaganda: World War I: Demons, atrocities, and lies

 
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Posted by on 2014-06-19 in Books

 

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Under the Tonto Rim (The Bee Hunter) (1926)

View to the east from Cedar Ridge, Arizona;  Credit: Trung Q. Le

View to the east from Cedar Ridge, Arizona;
Credit: Trung Q. Le

Tonto Rim was first serialized under the name of The Bee Hunter in The Ladies’ Home Journal, February-May 1925. In 1926 Harper & Brothers, New York published it in book form.

“Grey introduced the state’s magnificence to thousands of his readers through his numerous novels set in Arizona, including: “Call of the Canyon,” “Under the Tonto Rim,” “The Rainbow Trail,” among many others. His descriptive books drew people to the state and yet now he was upset at their presence.  In 1923, the Flagstaff Coconino Sun newspaper had interviewed Grey, who encouraged Flagstaff to develop its tourist facilities. A follow-up interview four years later found Grey pleased with what Flagstaff was doing in regard to tourist accommodations. A few years after that, Grey wrote a letter to the editor saying there were now too many tourists and he wasn’t coming back.

Grey’s Tonto Basin cabin (more like a lodge) was built in 1920-21. True to his word, Grey never returned to it or Arizona, and by the 1950s, the cabin was falling into disrepair. It was purchased by a private party and restored, only to burn to ashes during the 1990 ‘Dude’ forest fire. A few items were salvaged and put on display at a Payson museum. Funds were raised to reconstruct the cabin in Payson’ Green Valley Park in 2003. Grey shunned Arizona due to the increasing tourists, yet the tourists still seek him and his legacy.” (I shall never come back to Arizona)

Bee hunting Missouri

Bee hunting Missouri

Tonto Rim is supposed to be a conservation and social commentary novel (ZGWS). As we see above, Zane Grey was not pleased with all of the effects of  his environmental engagement. But today National Parks can be found Zane Grey’s three favorite states: Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. Tonto Rim might also be said to be a comment on what the East defined as politically correct.

When young Lucy Watson leaves home she feels there isn’t anything holding her there. Her younger sister Clara had done a shameful thing in eloping with a cowboy and Lucy wanted away from the stigma of being the daughter of a saloon keeper.

Lucy realized that actually to experience loneliness, to be really cut off from family and friends, was vastly different from the thought of it. She had deliberately severed all ties. She was alone in the world, with her way to make. A terrible blank sense of uncertainty assailed her. Independence was wholly desirable, but in its first stage it seemed hard.

Four Peaks - Arizona - EJ PhotoBefore the time of telephones and air flight distances were more acutely felt, something we rediscover when we visit places where people depend on their feet or some form of animal for transportation.

Lucy has very strong opinions about her sister’s elopement and states that she will NEVER, EVER, EVER marry someone as uncouth as a cowboy or bee-hunter or white-mule drinker (distilling alcohol). Yummy, yummy – she had better hope that her words taste well. Her opinions about what entails a proper way of life will be challenged. She both educates and is educated.

These backwoodsmen are not Bluebeards (serial killers of spouses) or Mormons, though they are strong on gettin’ wives. They are a clean, hardy, pioneer people. Edd Denmeade, for instance now—he’s a young man the like of which you won’t see often. He’s a queer fellow—a bee hunter, wonderful good to look at, wild like them woods he lives in, but a cleaner, finer boy I never knew. He loves his sisters. He gives his mother every dollar he earns, which, Lord knows, isn’t many….

Dance at the Myrtle SchoolhouseEverything is not about work and education. There is also time for play – or courting. The area sets out to show Lucy that they are worth sticking with and she does her best to fit in and try to understand the people of Cedar Ridge.

Lucy discovers that not all cowboys, bee-hunters and moonshiners are as she had thought. And who turns up during the story? Well, you are welcome to find out.

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Under The Tonto Rim on Gutenberg

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Reviews:

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Films/Movies

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Translations:

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Bluebeard

Efficient Hunting of Feral Colonies

Free Dictionary

Hunting Wild Honey

I shall never come back to Arizona

Arkansas Arthropods in History and Folklore: Honey Bees

 
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Posted by on 2014-06-11 in Books

 

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