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A gentile sage rider is about to be whipped by the Mormons to coerce the rich and beautiful Jane Withersteen to marry against her will. In desperation, Jane whispers a prayer, "Whence cometh my help!" Just then, an unlikely hero, the infamous gunfighter Lassiter, routs the persecutors and is drawn into this conflict on the Utah-Arizona border. The mysterious loner hires on A gentile sage rider is about to be whipped by the Mormons to coerce the rich and beautiful Jane Withersteen to marry against her will. In desperation, Jane whispers a prayer, "Whence cometh my help!" Just then, an unlikely hero, the infamous gunfighter Lassiter, routs the persecutors and is drawn into this conflict on the Utah-Arizona border. The mysterious loner hires on at Jane's ranch. Through battles with gun-slinging cattle rustlers, cutthroats, and the calculating Mormons, Lassiter unveils his tale of an endless search for a woman who was abducted long ago. Judged by critics to be Zane Grey's best novel, Riders of the Purple Sage changed the Western genre when it was first published in 1912. This novel shows the gritty as well as the gallant in a more candid portrayal of the West than any that had come before it.


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A gentile sage rider is about to be whipped by the Mormons to coerce the rich and beautiful Jane Withersteen to marry against her will. In desperation, Jane whispers a prayer, "Whence cometh my help!" Just then, an unlikely hero, the infamous gunfighter Lassiter, routs the persecutors and is drawn into this conflict on the Utah-Arizona border. The mysterious loner hires on A gentile sage rider is about to be whipped by the Mormons to coerce the rich and beautiful Jane Withersteen to marry against her will. In desperation, Jane whispers a prayer, "Whence cometh my help!" Just then, an unlikely hero, the infamous gunfighter Lassiter, routs the persecutors and is drawn into this conflict on the Utah-Arizona border. The mysterious loner hires on at Jane's ranch. Through battles with gun-slinging cattle rustlers, cutthroats, and the calculating Mormons, Lassiter unveils his tale of an endless search for a woman who was abducted long ago. Judged by critics to be Zane Grey's best novel, Riders of the Purple Sage changed the Western genre when it was first published in 1912. This novel shows the gritty as well as the gallant in a more candid portrayal of the West than any that had come before it.

30 review for Riders of the Purple Sage, with eBook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    I've been bamboozled! Duped! Hoodwinked! Fraudulated! Deceived! I've fallen victim to tomfoolery! Shenanigans! Monkeyshines! Nefarious antics! (What's that? Yes, I do own a thesaurus. Why do you ask?) This tricky man Zane Grey fooled me into reading a book of the genre I swore I never would read: the official genre of grocery stores and bargain racks everywhere, capital-R Romance. It all began innocently enough. For one thing, this Riders of the Purple Sage is published by Modern Library. It has b I've been bamboozled! Duped! Hoodwinked! Fraudulated! Deceived! I've fallen victim to tomfoolery! Shenanigans! Monkeyshines! Nefarious antics! (What's that? Yes, I do own a thesaurus. Why do you ask?) This tricky man Zane Grey fooled me into reading a book of the genre I swore I never would read: the official genre of grocery stores and bargain racks everywhere, capital-R Romance. It all began innocently enough. For one thing, this Riders of the Purple Sage is published by Modern Library. It has been heralded as a foundation of the Western genre. Its opening pages depict a woman being harassed by her Mormon patriarchs for cavorting with Gentiles. Things look like they could get messy. Then on the crest of a hill, silhouetted against the setting sun, appears the image of a man and his horse (always disturbing for the bad guys and hopeful for the good guys.) This is Lassiter, a gunslinger of the highest order, and he's here to chew gum and shoot bad guys in the buttocks! And he's nearly out of gum! He's only got like two sticks of Juicy Fruit left. This is not only a great start to a Western. It is the start to a Western. But what does Lassiter do? Does he shoot bad guys in the buttocks? No. Does he shoot them in the head? No. Does he shoot them in the penis? No. For a gunslinger, there is a distinct lack of shooting people in Lassiter's life. What Lassiter does instead is fall in love. And so does everyone else in the book. That would be okay if Zane Grey did it in one of two ways. 1) He could throw in some more shooting. Buttocks, heads, penises, whatever. Just give me some shooting. 2) Or he could write really great prose that makes me have feelings for his characters and tricks me into thinking they are real people. Instead, Grey gives the reader scenes like this: "No more did he listen to the rush and roar of the thunderstorm. For with the touch of clinging hands and the throbbing bosom he grew conscious of an inward storm—the tingling of new chords of thought, strange music of unheard, joyous bells, sad dreams dawning to wakeful delight, dissolving doubt, resurging hope, force, fire and freedom, unutterable sweetness of desire. A storm in his breast—a storm of real love." That's the way characters in this book fall in love. There are plenty of heaving bosoms, but no real emotions. Thus, I propose a makeover for this book. Following are a couple proposed cover designs. If those covers look good to you, you will like this book. Also, there is something wrong with you.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Reading Zane Grey’s 1912 Riders of the Purple Sage is a little bit disconcerting. Expecting a western, and it is, I also got an illustration of religious intolerance and prejudice. Set in Utah in the 1870s, the local political and economic powers that be are Mormon and everyone else is … not Mormon. Throwing around some big-fish-in-a-little-pond clout, the local uber Mormons make trouble for our damsel in distress and the archetypal clad in black loner gunman. Told a little differently and this i Reading Zane Grey’s 1912 Riders of the Purple Sage is a little bit disconcerting. Expecting a western, and it is, I also got an illustration of religious intolerance and prejudice. Set in Utah in the 1870s, the local political and economic powers that be are Mormon and everyone else is … not Mormon. Throwing around some big-fish-in-a-little-pond clout, the local uber Mormons make trouble for our damsel in distress and the archetypal clad in black loner gunman. Told a little differently and this is a sensitive and revealing character study of group dynamics with organized religion as a change agent. Told as it is and it devolves into a melodramatic soap opera. I am reminded of Mark Twain’s funny descriptions of Brigham Young’s household shenanigans in Roughing It. And that leads to the second observation. Akin to John Ford’s 1962 film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, starring John Wayne and James Stewart, Riders of the Purple Sage is that most rare of westerns, and inexplicably, a chamber western. Most of the action either takes place inside or in an isolated scene easily composed on a stage. Much of the conflict is the relationships between characters. It is a romance. And in a sense, are not many adventure stories romantic? Change the names and settings, and this could be a Japanese samurai story. Change it some more and it could be a story from the middle ages, or a Byronic fugue set in Greece. Or even a space opera, set on some distant planet. And further in relation to science fiction / fantasy romances, the language used and sentence structure were reminiscent of Edgar Rice Burroughs, which is somewhat understandable sense both Burroughs and Grey were writing in the early 1900s.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    There are hundreds of novels written in the genre of "American Westerns", most of them written in the first half of the 20th century. Riders of the Purple Sage may be the best of the group. Many people will consider it dated and sterotypical, but Zane Grey was a good writer and he captures with his words the stark beauty of the land and the essence of life in this ever changing landscape. It's worth reading from the historical aspect, and it has a romantic touch as well. Review revised Nov. 2017.

  4. 4 out of 5

    El

    Summary: Sage sage sage sage, sage sage Mormon sage. Purple sage sage sage and Gentiles, sage sage sage sage and sage. Sage! Sage sage sage sage riders sage sage. Sage sage if sage sage thunder. Sage sage sage; sage sage sage sage. Mormons sage sage sage sage, sage sage shot, sage sage sage sage. And sage sage. There were some other words and stuff, but really this book is about sage. Mormons, Gentiles, and some other things are mentioned, but the focus is on the sage. The color of the sage, the t Summary: Sage sage sage sage, sage sage Mormon sage. Purple sage sage sage and Gentiles, sage sage sage sage and sage. Sage! Sage sage sage sage riders sage sage. Sage sage if sage sage thunder. Sage sage sage; sage sage sage sage. Mormons sage sage sage sage, sage sage shot, sage sage sage sage. And sage sage. There were some other words and stuff, but really this book is about sage. Mormons, Gentiles, and some other things are mentioned, but the focus is on the sage. The color of the sage, the things in the sage, the way the sage looks, the way the sage feels, the sage the sage the sage. I took to counting the amounts of times the word 'sage' was used - 237 . This isn't a big book. Do the math. That's a lot of freaking uses of the word 'sage'. Sometimes Grey would get clever and hyphenate words: sage-slope, sage-bordered, sage-riders, sage-brush... but that doesn't trick me. It still tastes the same, no matter how you cook it. Clearly the words 'plant' and 'shrub' were considered too dull for use in this story. Did you know the sage was purple? It was ALL PURPLE. There was a lot of purple sage. There's no other way to describe such a sight. All of this aside, the story actually isn't so bad. It's hard to muddle through some of the especially purple prose (for lack of a better phrase - like sage, prose can only be purple), but I was surprised that there's an actual story here. An interesting one at that. Wikipedia calls the story "complex" and I can't say I disagree. I don't know Westerns very well. I watched a lot of reruns of The Lone Ranger when I was a kid (and harbored a weird kid-sized crush on Clayton Moore as a result) but that was pretty much it. I don't like John Wayne. Since we weren't allowed to play games as children that might have been remotely violent, the concept of playing Cowboys and Indians was probably out of the picture. As I got older the idea of reading a Western never appealed much to me, and as an adult working in a bookstore I realized that those Longarm books by Tabor Evans are the male equivalent of Harlequin romances read by so many women. (Hello, LONGARM, that's dirty.) And Louis L'Amour? Snooze. My point here is that I have always expected Westerns to be sort of... formulaic. And boring. Lots of guns and dust and prejudiced comments about women and their place in the world. But then once upon a time about nine years ago I took a Greyhound bus from Pittsburgh to Memphis to visit my parents for Thanksgiving. And on the way there (or maybe the way back) I looked up from whatever book I was reading at the time (I know it wasn't a Western) to find we were stopped in downtown Zanesville, Ohio. ZANESVILLE. Whut. There wasn't much to Zanesville that I could see and I don't think more than one person actually got on the bus at that point (he might have been the sole person living in Zanesville for all I knew). But here's the thing I decided after that trip and stopping for 5-10 minutes in the town where Zane Grey was born: One day I would read a novel by Zane Grey. Of course the minute I got home I put the thought out of my head because there were prettier, shinier books that should be read. Then a couple years ago I found this book in the clearance section and realized I had no more excuses. It had to be read. So I bought it. And then promptly forgot about it. Because that's how I roll. What matters is that I read it now, I made good on my promise to Zane Grey and the entire town of Zanesville (population 25K+). I always sort of thought this was his first novel, but it turns out he wrote at least nine books before this one - that this one happens to be his best-known. Despite everything above, I honestly did not hate this book. It was actually a little exciting in parts (in the same way I found The Lone Ranger exciting as a kid watching it on TV), but I was so horribly distracted by the amount of repetition included. I assume this is because Grey himself wasn't actually a writer to begin with - according to my copy's introduction, he was a dentist first, only beginning to write at the prompting of his wife. I am interested to see how his writing in some of his other books stack up. This particular book ended so suddenly (another annoyance) that I probably need to at least read the sequel, The Rainbow Trail. I'm not a huge fan of cliff-hangers and this book has one. And I'm dying to know if The Rainbow Trail has as much freaking sage, or if Grey moves on to new words. Like 'trail'.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    Zane Grey's "Riders of the Purple Sage" is probably one of the most famous westerns ever written, but, despite its popularity since it was first published in 1912, the book may not hold as significant a place in the Canon of the American West for the simple reason that, until 2005, many people had never actually read the book that Grey wrote. When it was first published, as a serial in Field & Stream magazine, the editors had trimmed much of the original manuscript. When it was ultimately re- Zane Grey's "Riders of the Purple Sage" is probably one of the most famous westerns ever written, but, despite its popularity since it was first published in 1912, the book may not hold as significant a place in the Canon of the American West for the simple reason that, until 2005, many people had never actually read the book that Grey wrote. When it was first published, as a serial in Field & Stream magazine, the editors had trimmed much of the original manuscript. When it was ultimately re-published in book form, much of the trimmed material never made it back. Not only that, but much of the book was actually re-written by the publisher, ostensibly to be more palatable and inoffensive to gentle readers. One could argue that the editors and publishers were simply "improving" upon Grey's tendency for purple prose (and many people did, apparently), but essentially what it boiled down to was censorship, a topic which is foremost on most people's minds here on Goodreads. Thankfully, Jon Tuska, with the help of the Ohio State Historical Society, in 2005, published a simple paperback version that restored as fully as possible the original, uncut version of Grey's western masterpiece. Much of the cut material had to do with Grey's criticisms of Mormonism and organized religion in general. Never having read the bowdlerized version prior to this, I can't make a comparison. I have no idea what was added or changed in this restored version. I don't think it matters, though. What matters is that the book that Grey wrote is what readers are reading with this edition, and that's the most important part. Grey was an incredibly prolific writer, even if he wasn't a notably excellent one. He wrote for pulps early in his career, so most of what he wrote was paid for by the word. He wasn't writing for awards. He was writing to put bread on his table. Yet, there is something beautiful and dynamic in his writing. His joy and love for the American West and unsullied Nature is evident in his descriptions of the wide-open prairies and deserts and canyons of the Wild West. His books are populated by dynamic, lovable characters who live, and love, in the moment. I daresay that Grey was the western's equivalent of Charles Dickens. "ROTPS" has a carefully-crafted convoluted plot of which Dickens would be jealous. Jane Withersteen, a proud Mormon woman, is left the only heir to a vast plot of valuable land and a large herd of cattle, a plot of land that Elder Tull, the vicious leader of the Mormon church, covets. He also wouldn't mind seeing Jane added to his group of wives. The man she loves, the ranch-hand Venters, has been captured and sentenced to death (on clearly trumped-up charges) by Tull's men, but before the dastardly execution happens, a lone figure on horseback rides into town. It's Lassiter! The notorious gunslinger and killer of men saves Venters, inexplicably, and returns him to Jane. They are grateful but confused. Lassiter wants to know where a certain grave of a young girl is. Jane knows who he is talking about, but she can't figure out for the life of her what Lassiter would want with the information. She keeps it to herself. Lassiter stays on to help. Venters, following the trail of a masked horse thief, follows the rider into a secluded oasis in the desert, a place he calls Surprise Valley. After a gunfight, he unmasks the masked villain only to find that it is woman, the most beautiful creature he has ever laid eyes on. He nurses her to health, and tries to discover the secret of her identity. It's no secret, though, that she has fallen in love with him. And, despite his love for Jane, he has begun to have feelings for this girl, who calls herself Bess. Lassiter, in the meantime, has thoughts of settling down, and those thought generally tend to involve Jane. This is such a ridiculous soap opera romantic story, and yet it is incredible, and I loved every darned bit of it. Supposedly, Grey wrote a sequel to this book, and I reckon that I will search through hell and high water to find the darned thing...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lewis Weinstein

    Set in 1871, published in 1912. This story is far more than a western adventure, although it is surely that. There are deep and tender relationships among the characters, including impressive and moving portrayals of the two women who are central to the story. There are also many matchless descriptions of the magnificent western landscape. But what is most powerful is the scathing denunciation of the vicious Mormon practices of control exercised against anyone who stands up against the leadershi Set in 1871, published in 1912. This story is far more than a western adventure, although it is surely that. There are deep and tender relationships among the characters, including impressive and moving portrayals of the two women who are central to the story. There are also many matchless descriptions of the magnificent western landscape. But what is most powerful is the scathing denunciation of the vicious Mormon practices of control exercised against anyone who stands up against the leadership, particularly a woman. If these descriptions are true, and I have no reason to believe they are not, it is a truly disgusting portrait. How long did it take the Mormons to grow past that history, or do remnants still persist? I am struck that the description of the Mormons in 1871 is like that of other "controlling" religions and cults in the past and today.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ted

    This isn't really a review, because the only thing I remember about this book is that I read it over fifty years ago. Probably ought to read it again, I'm sure it would be fun. Better yet (?) I now have two other books by Grey: The Desert of Wheat and Western Union. I picked them up a couple months ago when I visited The Country Bookshop in Plainfield Vermont, just to see the place where a dear friend of mine, now passed away, had worked for many years. The books were in a large bookcase outside This isn't really a review, because the only thing I remember about this book is that I read it over fifty years ago. Probably ought to read it again, I'm sure it would be fun. Better yet (?) I now have two other books by Grey: The Desert of Wheat and Western Union. I picked them up a couple months ago when I visited The Country Bookshop in Plainfield Vermont, just to see the place where a dear friend of mine, now passed away, had worked for many years. The books were in a large bookcase outside the shop, on a covered porch, labelled "Free. Really Free!!!" It would be interesting to see what I would feel about Grey's writing style, now that I've spent five decades reading scores of many more accomplished and more literary authors. Perhaps it wouldn't stand up to that five-star vague recollection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Previous review: A Firing Offense Next review: Ghosts of Belfast More recent review: ___ Previous library review: New Hampshire Robert Frost Next library review: It Can't Happen Here Sinclair Lewis

  8. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Lassiter is a very angry man.His sister and only living relative, disappears from her home in Texas. (The only person he loves in the world) Kidnapped?Who knows,but the brother will search as long as it takes ,to find her.(Similar to The Searchers film) After years on the long weary road, the gunman discovers the sister, in an unmarked lonely grave, in southern Utah.The former cowboy seaks revenge, he has killed before, he will again .Complications occur when he meets Jane Withersteen , a rich l Lassiter is a very angry man.His sister and only living relative, disappears from her home in Texas. (The only person he loves in the world) Kidnapped?Who knows,but the brother will search as long as it takes ,to find her.(Similar to The Searchers film) After years on the long weary road, the gunman discovers the sister, in an unmarked lonely grave, in southern Utah.The former cowboy seaks revenge, he has killed before, he will again .Complications occur when he meets Jane Withersteen , a rich landowner, he begins to stop hating .Lassiter reputation scares the areas small town .It's controlled by a religious sect, that doesn't like nonmembers. The townsmen keep trying to kill him but he's hard to eliminate.Jane hires Lassiter to prevent her cattle and prize horses, from being stolen.Did I mention all the vegetation is purple in the territory!Purple here, purple there ,purple everywhere!The inevitable showdown happens,with an unique ending.Is it paradise or death for the couple?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Reading a classic Western novel was a to-do on my book bucket list. I'm not sure why because I've never had a high opinion of TV or movie westerns. After finishing Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey I can scratch "classic Western" off my list and add another 4-star book to the "read" column. Oh yeah, there is some cheesy, over-dramatic scenes in this book, particularly at the end. There is the courageous too-good-to-be-true heroine, several men who want her, beautiful sunsets and numerous men Reading a classic Western novel was a to-do on my book bucket list. I'm not sure why because I've never had a high opinion of TV or movie westerns. After finishing Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey I can scratch "classic Western" off my list and add another 4-star book to the "read" column. Oh yeah, there is some cheesy, over-dramatic scenes in this book, particularly at the end. There is the courageous too-good-to-be-true heroine, several men who want her, beautiful sunsets and numerous mentions of the beautiful purple sage, but somehow, I wouldn't change an inch of type. Perhaps, its because I listened to the audiobook with a narrator who sounded like he could have lived back then or perhaps its just because this book was everything I thought a Western should be. I don't know but I liked it. Will I start reading Westerns? No, I don't want to press my luck and ruin my good memories of this one. 4.0 stars

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I read a large number of Zane Grey books back in the 60s and 70s and this one is a story of almost iconic proportions. The gunman in black who seemingly rides in from nowhere, but here we fill in a lot of the usual blanks. Warning: The book is very well written (a little dated, and florid in places. My dad always said Grey could spend 2 pages describing a bush.) and an exciting story. I think I ought to mention however that the book features a rather unflattering view of Mormons. I won't make apo I read a large number of Zane Grey books back in the 60s and 70s and this one is a story of almost iconic proportions. The gunman in black who seemingly rides in from nowhere, but here we fill in a lot of the usual blanks. Warning: The book is very well written (a little dated, and florid in places. My dad always said Grey could spend 2 pages describing a bush.) and an exciting story. I think I ought to mention however that the book features a rather unflattering view of Mormons. I won't make apologies or try to explain it, the book was published in 1912. It was a different time. I just thought I ought to place a warning as I'm sure some might be offended by some of the content of the story. It's based on a time when feelings were running high and I have no idea about how Grey himself felt. He was simply telling a story set in a time when there had been persecution and violence on both sides. Just wanted to note this. A highly romanticized and exciting story set in Zane Grey's west. In spite of the above a well written adventure, just be aware.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Unbelievably, painfully sappy and over-the-top melodramatic, some of which I hope was deliberate. I've never known a male to write such slushy romance. The characters are exaggerated to perfection, as if there were a checklist to include every stereotype suitable for the Western genre. His men are all "men's men" and his women are perfectly docile, beautiful, emotional idiots. Though Grey is thorough in his scathingly hate-filled portrayal of the LDS, he apparently didn't have sufficient time or Unbelievably, painfully sappy and over-the-top melodramatic, some of which I hope was deliberate. I've never known a male to write such slushy romance. The characters are exaggerated to perfection, as if there were a checklist to include every stereotype suitable for the Western genre. His men are all "men's men" and his women are perfectly docile, beautiful, emotional idiots. Though Grey is thorough in his scathingly hate-filled portrayal of the LDS, he apparently didn't have sufficient time or energy to research anything besides the title "bishop." Happily for him, the release date coincided with an America eager to embrace a cultish description of Mormonism. Even if Grey's portrayal were anywhere near accurate, it is almost impossible to stomach his step-by-step description of budding romance, written in such a primitive style, it seems as though he's trying to explain it to a 10-yr-old. He does write some fantastically gripping racing/chasing horse scenes, and if he'd not drug the romance on and on, I thought the plot was pretty fun too, if predictable.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey Before I opened this book, I thought it was just a fundamental cowboy story, and indeed, as I read it anonymous images coaxed from every Western movie I’ve ever seen interjected themselves into the experience. (For some reason – I don’t know why – I couldn’t help but envision Humphrey Bogart as “Lassiter”, the taciturn protagonist, ostensibly honorable, yet willing killer - of Mormons in particular). My expectation – and I’m also not sure why – was a novel a Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey Before I opened this book, I thought it was just a fundamental cowboy story, and indeed, as I read it anonymous images coaxed from every Western movie I’ve ever seen interjected themselves into the experience. (For some reason – I don’t know why – I couldn’t help but envision Humphrey Bogart as “Lassiter”, the taciturn protagonist, ostensibly honorable, yet willing killer - of Mormons in particular). My expectation – and I’m also not sure why – was a novel along the lines of the “Hardy Boys” series which I consumed voraciously as a young reader. I do attribute some portion of my love of reading to the “Hardy Boys”, but was not prepared to devote much effort to reading a rather long novel if it proved to be as simple as those childhood stories. Much to my pleasant surprise, I easily became absorbed in “Riders”, and while I’m sure it may not be considered great art, this novel presented a fascinating and somewhat complex story with a few plot twists that caught me by surprise – and that have shown up in movies ever since! The reasons for my reading this novel are purely serendipitous. My family and I were touring the area of southwest South Dakota including the “Badlands”. There is no shortage of scenic vistas that include long stretches of rolling wasteland marked by low-lying brush and bushes featuring subtle purple and lavender shades of color. I have no idea if in fact these were “purple sages”, but the variations are commonplace. (The novel takes place in Utah, which apparently has these same or similar purple shrubberies). Furthermore, in each obligatory visit to the area’s gift shop and book stores, copies of this novel were for sale. My father had also mentioned to me years ago that he had read many of the novels of Zane Grey, who was indeed a popular author in the early twentieth century. So I picked up a cheap paperback version which promised “The only uncut, uncensored edition!” What a hook! “Riders of the Purple Sage” is a morality tale about a sometimes strong woman and heroine who has been persecuted by her Mormon Church leaders. The Mormons are not presented in a good light in this novel, and I suspect that there’s been some dispute over the years about this representation. As a work of fiction, I know that the depiction may not be accurate or fair – Mormon men are uniformly portrayed as tyrannical and domineering in their relations with women – and considering that the novel was written in 1912, this aspect of the book surely must have caused some controversy. The story is also somewhat complex, with several plots unfolding that eventually come together at the end of the story, and conveniently leave open the certainty of a sequel. Plausibility is at times stretched thin, and the characters often behave with a one dimensional consistency and predictability. I don’t know what the inspiration was for Grey’s Lassiter, but clearly the genesis of many Western heroes begins here: Shane; the Lone Ranger; and “The Stranger” in High Plains Drifter. It’s no wonder visions of every Western and cowboy movie I ever saw accompanied me during this read! Grey also has his heroes contemplate and wax on about the serene beauty of the “purple sage” a couple of dozen times too many, much like the stock phrases utilized by Homer. But in defense of Grey, as I had experienced in South Dakota, the purple variations of color are ubiquitous in some western locales. The novel has a bunch of treatments and sub-plots that keep the reader interested and fascinated: shifting and uncertain romances; a heroine that vacillates between determined strength and feeble despondency; the mysterious innocence of a beautiful young woman who comes of age while recuperating from a gunshot; repeated depictions of the intolerance of religion and the attempted subjugation of women; the young and noble cowhand inspired by unexpected love. There are also some shocking surprises such as the sudden and senseless (and misguided) murder of a rustler. As you expect of a mass market novel written in this era, there’s no explicit sex, outrageous foul language, or extreme depictions of violence. But there doesn’t need be. Zane Grey has created a host of imperfect characters and might-be heroes braided into a readable and fast-moving story. The reader finds that sometimes you like certain characters, and other times they are repugnant or they fail you. By design, Grey imposes a feeling of uncertainty and uneasiness about these characters, their intentions and their actions, and casts into doubt their moral stature. Just like people in real life.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alison Smith

    This read comes under the heading of Auld Lang Syne. Revisiting beloved books after many, many years is not always a good thing. In my childhood/early teens I devoured ALL of Zne Grey's cowboy novels, and loved them. I discovered, this time around, with the help of Wikipaedia, that ZG was a prolific writer - author of more than 90 books (!!) including two on hunting, and eight on fishing. He is credited with 'inventing' the genre of the Old West - sanitized and moralized. What I enjoyed during m This read comes under the heading of Auld Lang Syne. Revisiting beloved books after many, many years is not always a good thing. In my childhood/early teens I devoured ALL of Zne Grey's cowboy novels, and loved them. I discovered, this time around, with the help of Wikipaedia, that ZG was a prolific writer - author of more than 90 books (!!) including two on hunting, and eight on fishing. He is credited with 'inventing' the genre of the Old West - sanitized and moralized. What I enjoyed during my re-read were his descriptions of the magnificent landscape and the splendid horses. He doesn't do so well with people - stereotypical, and his baby-talk from the lips of a four-year old is downright embarrassing to the modern eye. But if you want rugged tales of men who were men, and women who were glad about that : read Zane Grey.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This book! ...Oh!...This book! How miserable...how wretched! May God have pity on those...who read this book! Oh! The drama! Oh...the horses! Oh!...the sage! So much sage! Purple...purple sage! I will hide this book in Surprise Valley! I will hide it! And I will...I will roll the great Balancing Rock! I will roll the great Balancing Rock and close forever the outlet to Deception Pass!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    Set in the Utah of 1871, it deals with a Mormon woman, heir to a ranch, resisting pressures to become a junior wife of a Mormon elder. I tried this because it's recommended on The Ultimate Reading List in the Western section. This is Zane Grey's most famous novel, supposedly one that set the mold for the Western genre and published way back in 1912--which doesn't make this a classic. Indeed, I'm afraid the "purple" in the title is sadly apt. Here's a snippet of the the puerile writing: "If you d Set in the Utah of 1871, it deals with a Mormon woman, heir to a ranch, resisting pressures to become a junior wife of a Mormon elder. I tried this because it's recommended on The Ultimate Reading List in the Western section. This is Zane Grey's most famous novel, supposedly one that set the mold for the Western genre and published way back in 1912--which doesn't make this a classic. Indeed, I'm afraid the "purple" in the title is sadly apt. Here's a snippet of the the puerile writing: "If you don't go it means your ruin," he said, sharply. "Ruin!" exclaimed Venters, passionately. "Haven't you already ruined me? What do you call ruin? A year ago I was a rider. I had horses and cattle of my own. I had a good name in Cottonwoods. And now when I come into the village to see this woman you set your men on me. You hound me. You trail me as if I were a rustler. I've no more to lose—except my life." "Will you leave Utah?" "Oh! I know," went on Venters, tauntingly, "it galls you, the idea of beautiful Jane Withersteen being friendly to a poor Gentile. You want her all yourself. You're a wiving Mormon. You have use for her—and Withersteen House and Amber Spring and seven thousand head of cattle!" Tull's hard jaw protruded, and rioting blood corded the veins of his neck. "Once more. Will you go?" "NO!" No worries--Venters doesn't get whipped, because a mysterious gunman--in black leather no less--appears. Really, the whole thing comes across as eye-rolling. And though I'm not enamored of the doctrine and practice of the Latter-Day-Saints, past or present, the way Mormons are presented here is just a bit much. They might as well all be twirling mustaches. Despite the fame of the novel, not I think worth the read. The best I can say for it is that it's beyond the bounds of copyright, and so can be tried for free online on Project Gutenberg.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jen Hirt

    Eeeeek... Why am I reading a western from 1912? Because my adventures keep intersecting with Zane Grey's life -- I drive through Zanesville, Ohio (his birthplace) all the time, and in a few weeks I'm renting a cabin near his Pennsylvania farm (now a museum) and burial site. My cabin-comrades and I all agreed to each read a Zane Grey novel, then discuss it (possibly in the style of Drunk History), then head to the Zane Grey museum and gravesite the next day. So I've taken down his bestseller, whi Eeeeek... Why am I reading a western from 1912? Because my adventures keep intersecting with Zane Grey's life -- I drive through Zanesville, Ohio (his birthplace) all the time, and in a few weeks I'm renting a cabin near his Pennsylvania farm (now a museum) and burial site. My cabin-comrades and I all agreed to each read a Zane Grey novel, then discuss it (possibly in the style of Drunk History), then head to the Zane Grey museum and gravesite the next day. So I've taken down his bestseller, which made me remember how much I loved to read about horses when I was a girl (poor Wrangle!). Turns out I still like to read about horses (and dogs, good boys Whitie and Ring!) doing brave and noble things (and also misbehaving) at the hands of their passionate and flawed owners. Also, this really is a book about sage. Lots of sage. And cattle rustling motivations. And religion's darker undercurrents of control. I'm intrigued by the origin of Grey's animosity toward Mormons, as they are nothing-but-vile antagonists in this novel. I'll have to read some of his nonfiction to see if he comes clean about his blatant anti-Mormon stance. I have two more Zane Grey novels to read (maybe) before the 21st Century Zane Grey Literary Group meets later this month. I'm not sure I can survive Grey's love of adverbs, overwrought dialogue, and painfully outdated dialogue tags (my favorite: "'Gold!' he ejaculated.") But he writes a mean description of the western landscape, and his work is all action and drama (making it a fast and easy read), and now I know (in theory, at least) how to mill a herd of runaway cattle.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dragana

    As a teen I loved to read western novels written by Karl May, so when I needed a book with word 'purple' in a title, Riders of the Purple Sage seemed like a great choice. Plus it was free for Kindle. Sadly, the writing style was so hard for me to read that I gave up after reading 2 chapters. Why? - This didn't seem like historical western novel, more like a Christian historical romance set in a western period. Big focus is on religion (heroine is a Mormon) and on forbidden love story. - All that sa As a teen I loved to read western novels written by Karl May, so when I needed a book with word 'purple' in a title, Riders of the Purple Sage seemed like a great choice. Plus it was free for Kindle. Sadly, the writing style was so hard for me to read that I gave up after reading 2 chapters. Why? - This didn't seem like historical western novel, more like a Christian historical romance set in a western period. Big focus is on religion (heroine is a Mormon) and on forbidden love story. - All that sage. the word was mentioned at least once per paragraph. It's used in everyday phrases even ("I'll turn you out in the sage.") and there are animals called sage-dogs. It doesn't seem like a lot of reasons to give up on a book, but there was just too much sage for my taste... DNF @ 8%

  18. 4 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    Digital audiobook read by John Bolen. From the book jacket: Cottonwoods, Utah, 1871. A woman stands accused. A man, sentenced to whipping. In … rides … Lassiter, a notorious gunman who’s come to avenge his sister’s death. It deoesn’t take Lassiter long to see that this once-peaceful Mormon community is controlled by the corrupt Deacon Tull – a powerful elder who’s trying to take the woman’s land by forcing her to marry him, branding her foreman a dangerous “outsider.” Lassiter vows to help them. Digital audiobook read by John Bolen. From the book jacket: Cottonwoods, Utah, 1871. A woman stands accused. A man, sentenced to whipping. In … rides … Lassiter, a notorious gunman who’s come to avenge his sister’s death. It deoesn’t take Lassiter long to see that this once-peaceful Mormon community is controlled by the corrupt Deacon Tull – a powerful elder who’s trying to take the woman’s land by forcing her to marry him, branding her foreman a dangerous “outsider.” Lassiter vows to help them. But when the ranch is attacked by horse thieves, cattle rustlers, and a mysterious Masked Rider, he realizes they’re up against something bigger, and more brutal, than the land itself… My reactions I hardly know what to write about this classic of the Western genre. It’s full of adventure, violence, strong men and women, tenderness, brutality and an abiding sense of justice. And, of course, there is the landscape, which Grey paints so vividly it is practically a character. Yes, the storyline and dialogue are a bit melodramatic. But Grey’s story still captured this reader’s imagination with its sense of drama, almost non-stop action, and bold characters. I was reminded of the many western movies I watched with my Daddy in the ‘50s and ‘60s. They were exciting and the good guys always won. Clearly those movies (and other books of the genre) had Grey’s strong foundation on which to build. I’m glad I finally read it. The digital audio available through my library’s Overdrive system was read by John Bolen. I was not a great fan of his delivery, which seemed overly dramatic to me. I might have enjoyed this better had I read the text.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rosemarie

    This was an enjoyable read which reminded me of old-fashioned western movies. The rating is actually three and a half stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    I can’t believe I read the whole thing. Actually, I didn’t; I started skimming halfway through. The plot is obvious and the writing repetitive. Sentimental, though many of the sentiments are foreign today. Fortunately, it ends strong. Hard to believe this is Grey’s best-selling book. Lassiter is, of course, a cliché but Grey deserves credit for making his type so iconic, diminished not enhanced by his broken verbiage. Jane was a stereotype which modern writers (and readers) eschew, though she fin I can’t believe I read the whole thing. Actually, I didn’t; I started skimming halfway through. The plot is obvious and the writing repetitive. Sentimental, though many of the sentiments are foreign today. Fortunately, it ends strong. Hard to believe this is Grey’s best-selling book. Lassiter is, of course, a cliché but Grey deserves credit for making his type so iconic, diminished not enhanced by his broken verbiage. Jane was a stereotype which modern writers (and readers) eschew, though she finally opens her eyes. (Not to mention her fainting spells.) The Masked Rider’s identity was obvious. The word “purple” recurs often enough to gag the color-sensitive reader. We get it; enough. (Sage blossoms are closer to mauve or lavender, but Grey sought a different image. Not that there’s anything wrong with mauve or lavender.) Because this book was written over a hundred years ago and only forty years after its setting, one might assume it close to historical fiction. Not so. Most of it is imagined. (The West was a favored fantasy setting of that era.) In 1871 Utah was embroiled in the Black Hawk War, yet the only mention of natives was the discovery of ancient cliff dwellings. Mormons will, of course, object to this portrayal of their men, but such was the attitude in Grey’s day. Some practices and attitudes he vilified in 1912 still appear in contemporary headlines. Further, Grey seems to blame Mormons and religion in general for ruining the west. And interesting idea. In a way they did, depending on how you define "ruin" and "west." The explorers, mountain men, gold prospectors and soldiers didn’t do half the damage of the mold-board plow, schools and railroads. The West was won—or lost, depending on your perspective—by families who came to make it home. Quibble. Sage only blooms for a week or two, yet this story goes on for month, and Grey continues to refer to the purple sage to the end. Many of the big action scenes take place off stage with some witness describing them after the fact. The horse race was well set up and executed. The climax redeems the whole book (and earns it an additional star)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mac

    Riders of the Purple Sage has so much going for it--a dangerous gunslinger, a mysterious "Masked Rider" who later presents a big surprise, polygamy and multiple romances, religious conflict, stunning landscapes, cattle rustlers, chase scenes with good guy-bad guy confrontations, callow youths maturing right before our eyes, truth telling and lies, all woven into a clever, complex plot that ties everything together (too) neatly in the end. Of course, with all this, the novel is over-the-top, but Riders of the Purple Sage has so much going for it--a dangerous gunslinger, a mysterious "Masked Rider" who later presents a big surprise, polygamy and multiple romances, religious conflict, stunning landscapes, cattle rustlers, chase scenes with good guy-bad guy confrontations, callow youths maturing right before our eyes, truth telling and lies, all woven into a clever, complex plot that ties everything together (too) neatly in the end. Of course, with all this, the novel is over-the-top, but there's a lot to like; and I did enjoy the story as long as I was willing to overlook the coincidences and contrivances. That said, Grey's language was a constant impediment. His narration is so flowery and so excessive, I could never settle back and enjoy the story. When characters are threatened or just fall in love, they talk in a-breathless-style-that-does-nothing-but-slow-you-down. These characters don't just say something, they whisper haltingly, declare indignantly, or even ejaculate. And all this exclaiming is surrounded by elaborate, overblown prose. A few examples: " 'I am nothing-I am lost-I am nameless!' ...'Do you want me to come back?' he asked, with sudden stern coldness. 'Maybe you want to go back to Oldring.' That brought her erect, trembling and ashy pale, with dark, proud eyes and mute lips refuting his insinuation." "Though exceedingly tired, he was yet loath to yield to lassitude, but this night, it was not from listening, watchful vigilance; it was from a desire to realize his position." "As with a faint shadow from a flitting wing overhead, the marble whiteness of her face seemed to change. 'Don't-take-me-back-there'..." So Riders of the Purple Sage is a promising tale in many ways. Unfortunately for me, while trying to enjoy the story, I kept thinking of the obvious gag; I'm reading Riders of the Purple Prose.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emilie Richards

    I read this for the Better World Books 2017 Reading Challenge. I chose it as my "book over 100 years old" but will use it instead as my "book with a color in the title." Having never read Zane Grey and as someone whose favorite class in college was an American Studies class on pop fiction, I thought it would be fun to see why he reached such heights in his day. What I found was a novel with prose as romancey or more than any romance novel I've read--or written. He loved description and never met I read this for the Better World Books 2017 Reading Challenge. I chose it as my "book over 100 years old" but will use it instead as my "book with a color in the title." Having never read Zane Grey and as someone whose favorite class in college was an American Studies class on pop fiction, I thought it would be fun to see why he reached such heights in his day. What I found was a novel with prose as romancey or more than any romance novel I've read--or written. He loved description and never met an adjective he didn't want to use. That said, I really enjoyed his descriptions, as repetitive and overdone as they sometimes were, and felt like booking airfare to Utah. I enjoyed the moral dilemmas of his characters and was interested that all the bad guys weren't gunslingers but Mormons. He certainly could tell a story and ratchet tension, although I found the multiple treks into canyons and all the descriptions that went with them, mind numbing. But I suspect that was a draw for his readers, a chance to visit these places and experience all the attendant terror and triumph that went with them. I'll call it quits on ZG now that I've read this, but I really had fun. I love this Reading Challenge, and the way we'll all broaden our horizons, one book at a time.

  23. 4 out of 5

    kent

    Classic western, originally published in 1912 a mere 40 years after the story took place. It's squeaky clean by todays standards, a few mentions of her "heaving breast" and a kiss or two. The story uses a third person narrator to tell the story from the point of view of two main characters Bern Venter and Jane Withersteen and a few minor characters. Withersteen is the heir of her fathers huge estate and is courted by the Mormon preacher who wants to add her to his family and the her fortune to h Classic western, originally published in 1912 a mere 40 years after the story took place. It's squeaky clean by todays standards, a few mentions of her "heaving breast" and a kiss or two. The story uses a third person narrator to tell the story from the point of view of two main characters Bern Venter and Jane Withersteen and a few minor characters. Withersteen is the heir of her fathers huge estate and is courted by the Mormon preacher who wants to add her to his family and the her fortune to his ranch. She is befriended and protected by a gunslinger Lassiter who she tries to convince to give up his violent ways. Venter is run off early in the book and his story develops and comes back to the main story in a predictable if not thrilling ending. There are countless anti mormon references and the in fact the main struggle of the book is her refusal to become one of Tull's wives at one point telling Lassiter she would rather be the whore of a rustler camp than to be wived. I enjoyed the book, I'll have to see the sage and canyon land of the west, perhaps it is as beautiful and majestic as Grey describes it

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    There's a long introduction to this edition which discusses gender and sexuality in the novel and how they relate to its enduring popularity. At one point the essayist wonders why the initial audience included such a high proportion of women. This seems obvious to me; the story consists of two romances! There's been a female audience for novels of romance ever since they were invented. So I was not really expecting romance, more a written version of the film High Plains Drifter or some such. Well There's a long introduction to this edition which discusses gender and sexuality in the novel and how they relate to its enduring popularity. At one point the essayist wonders why the initial audience included such a high proportion of women. This seems obvious to me; the story consists of two romances! There's been a female audience for novels of romance ever since they were invented. So I was not really expecting romance, more a written version of the film High Plains Drifter or some such. Well, there's lots of mysterious strangers, injustice, desire for revenge, riding of horses and landscape worship and some gunplay, too, but it's inescapably a character-driven romantic tale. Fun, too, for the most part. The way things play out, the story is also the Fall of Adam and Eve, in reverse, which is a trifle weird. It's surprisingly well written, apart from the occassions when the landscape description turns purple to match the sage and I can recommend it to anyone who wants to find out what the "formula Western" novel was all about back in 1912. Deeper than expected.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elinor

    I decided to read this iconic Western novel because it is on so many Best Westerns list, and has been made into a movie FIVE times. I anticipated the usual good guys in white hats versus bad guys in black hats conflict, but I was surprised to find that the bad guys are all Mormons! There is a whole religious context in which the poor beleaguered heroine is being pressured by the evil Mormons into marrying a church elder who wants to get his hands on her ranch. The gunslinger who arrives in town I decided to read this iconic Western novel because it is on so many Best Westerns list, and has been made into a movie FIVE times. I anticipated the usual good guys in white hats versus bad guys in black hats conflict, but I was surprised to find that the bad guys are all Mormons! There is a whole religious context in which the poor beleaguered heroine is being pressured by the evil Mormons into marrying a church elder who wants to get his hands on her ranch. The gunslinger who arrives in town falls in love with her and saves her. As if that doesn't provide enough romance, there is another whole subplot regarding another couple which ends in a cliffhanger. In fact, I'm about to read the sequel, The Rainbow Trail, to see what happens to them! I particularly loved the descriptions of the Utah landscape, including not only purple sage (and plenty of it) but towering red cliffs and striking sunsets.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Linda Rowland

    Three for the enjoyment of the book and an extra star for the dogs. I read many reviews and no one else mentioned them. As you must know by now I have a pet peeve about dogs that seem to come and go in stories. The two in this book were good companions and always cared for, even in a time when it might not seem important. The horses were as well, but you would expect so in a time when a man without a horse was in serious peril.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Hartman

    Not being a great reader of Westerns, I did not expect much from this novel: I had a general idea in my head of Zane Grey being the Nicholas Sparks of his genre, churning out a lot of bestsellers all with essentially the same plot. Since I haven't read any other Grey novels, I can't comment on the plot aspect. With "Riders," however, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing; while I didn't find it amazing, necessarily, it has a depth and sensitivity I was not expecting to find. T Not being a great reader of Westerns, I did not expect much from this novel: I had a general idea in my head of Zane Grey being the Nicholas Sparks of his genre, churning out a lot of bestsellers all with essentially the same plot. Since I haven't read any other Grey novels, I can't comment on the plot aspect. With "Riders," however, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing; while I didn't find it amazing, necessarily, it has a depth and sensitivity I was not expecting to find. This is especially true of the descriptions: while the dialogue could be a bit melodramatic (I had some quibbles with the number of adverbs in the dialogue tags), the prose captured the color of the land and the twists and turns of characters' emotions with power and skill. It is in some ways an open-ended story, probing questions of violence and vigilantism without positing solid answers. It also suffers from a tendency to pardon acts of violence due to extenuating circumstances (still confused about how the fact that (view spoiler)[Oldring was not actually Bess' father made it less terrible that Venters shot him (hide spoiler)] ), perhaps a result of Grey's desire to redeem certain characters without a clear biblical idea of what redemption looks like. (And on that note, this isn't a book one goes to for thoughtful spiritual themes; although Jane Withersteen is Mormon, as are most of the villains, Grey is not interested in discussing religious doctrines in any deep sense. The "spirituality" he leans toward, at least as suggested by Venters, Lassiter, and Jane, is one of a kind of cosmic love that unites people with each other and with God. Thus, while he writes Jane's spiritual struggles in a compelling way, her newfound "faith" ultimately feels hollow - a rejection of established religion in favor of something personal, but vague and undefined.) Still, it is a novel that goes beyond the cliche of the Western shoot-em-up, and in the midst of melodrama and well-worn plot-threads there are some stand-out passages. Like that race between Venters and Jerry Card. Seriously, Wrangle is the best character in the book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tamara Evans

    Shame of Zane Grey for creating a well written engaged novel that makes me revaluate how I feel about western novels! Riders of the Purple Sage tells the story of Jane Withersteen, a rich Morman woman who is at odds with Elder Tull due to her helping non Mormans aka Gentile Ben Venters. When the books begins, Venters is about to be severely whipped by Tull due to him befriending Jane. Just before Venters is taken by Tull and his men, a man rides up on his horse and saves the day by intervening. Shame of Zane Grey for creating a well written engaged novel that makes me revaluate how I feel about western novels! Riders of the Purple Sage tells the story of Jane Withersteen, a rich Morman woman who is at odds with Elder Tull due to her helping non Mormans aka Gentile Ben Venters. When the books begins, Venters is about to be severely whipped by Tull due to him befriending Jane. Just before Venters is taken by Tull and his men, a man rides up on his horse and saves the day by intervening. Tull's men don't know who this interloper is but they know they don't appreciate his butting in. The unknown man is about to come to blows with Tull and his men when Venters announces that the unknown man is the infamous Lassiter. Lassister has arrived in Cottonwoods to see the grave of Millie Ern although the connection between the two of them isn't made clear. Over time, Lassiter and Jane establish a relationship based on mutual trust and respect. Through this book, there are two intersecting story lines which is what's happening with Jane and Lassister and what is happening to Venters once he leaves Jane's home. While Venters is away, he shoots a rustler and during the course of the book, Venters finds out that the rustler he shot is not a man but actually a woman. Venters feels so bad for shooting her, he stays by her side and nurses her back to health. Initially, Jane decides to shower affection on Lassister so he won't kill any Mormon men eventually, she grows to love Lassiter despite him not being Mormon. I liked that this book had enough twists and turns to keep me engaged. From wanting to know how Lassiter is connected to Millie Ern to finding out the true identity of the rustler, this book is a great way to be introduced to the western reading genre.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    I've decided to read some westerns to see why my Dad liked them when he was younger. This was a good choice, it was quite a story, unexpected in parts. Grey is a crafty writer, excellent with action and scenery. You can feel places, though, where he's adding words as if he's paid by the word. Lassiter keeps saying "Jane" in front of every paragraph of speech to Jane, for instance. And "I reckon" gets annoying after a dozen times. And there are a few plot twists that are just too much, like in th I've decided to read some westerns to see why my Dad liked them when he was younger. This was a good choice, it was quite a story, unexpected in parts. Grey is a crafty writer, excellent with action and scenery. You can feel places, though, where he's adding words as if he's paid by the word. Lassiter keeps saying "Jane" in front of every paragraph of speech to Jane, for instance. And "I reckon" gets annoying after a dozen times. And there are a few plot twists that are just too much, like in the end some threads are wrapped up with a ton of coincidence. I also noted quite a few reviewers on Goodreads were surprised this was a romance. As one reviewer noted, it isn't "Fifty Shades of Zane Grey", but while listening I thought this was on the way to becoming "Riders of the Peyton Place". It was tamer than that implies, but had Grey written this fifty years later, my suggested title might have been more appropriate. For a hundred year old book, this reads very contemporary. I was surprised at the frank targeting of the Mormons in this book. It does me want to read more non-fiction on how the religions interacted in the old West. I did find a humorous bit related to the Romney presidential campaign. Remember the "binders full of women" quote from the campaign. Ends up that when describing Mormon elder Tull in the book he is called a "Binder of women". I had to stop and replay that a couple times. You think maybe instead of "we've got binders full of women" he meant to say "we've got binders of women"?

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Vivid descriptions of prairie storms and what was then the Mormon storm. Perhaps it is me or the style of writing, but Mr. Grey's tales seem to take awhile to develop. I will read the sequel to this and then decide whether or not I'm done with Zane Grey. Not a usual genre for me, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. 3.5 stars.

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