Thursday, April 26, 2018

I Read Books: Riders of the Purple Sage

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey is a 1912 western that is often considered seminal, which is why I find it interesting that there’s surprisingly little gunplay, quite a lot of romance and the major conflict is Jane Withersteen struggling to reconcile her Mormon beliefs with the evil actions taken by the Mormon leaders while restraining both Lassiter and Venters from taking revenge on them.

It is very atmospheric, and has several good scenes involving cattle and horses. There are a lot of hidden valleys and secret springs where people can hide out. Of course the major rustler is in league with the Mormon leaders so people are actively discouraged from looking for these places.

On the other hand it’s mostly about people finding reasons not to get into fights, which is cool the first couple of times but gets a little wearing. Though since the first time Venters shoots someone he falls in love with them I guess there’s a lesson to learn there. Another annoying thing is the over use of alternate spelling to indicate accent, or in one case cute baby-talk from a small child. Ugh.

Read This
: For a Western more interesting and complex than most
Don’t Read This: If you don't want a long novel full of descriptions and people failing to convince each other over the morality of violence.
Being Out of Copyright: You can read it for free online.

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