Remembering Zane Grey The Master of Wild West Fiction

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As a young boy I was addicted to legends of the Wild West. Thus characters like ‘The Lone ranger’ and ‘Davy Croquette ‘ruled my mind. In high school, I graduated to books and that is when I got introduced to Zane Grey. Here was a writer who brought the Wild West alive in umpteen books that for decades have captured the imagination of readers.

What was the Wild West? It was a period in American history that started around 1865 after the end of the Civil war. It is a period that has captured the imagination of the entire world. No study of American history is complete without a reference to the era of the Wild West. Many legends abound about this period.  The Wild West was a period when gunslingers, rustlers and Bandits were on one side against the Army and the Sheriffs.


Zane Grey and the Wild West

Zane grey is one man who brought alive the legends of the Wild West. In fact he glorified that area and created a vivid picture of a wonderful era. He wove his tales around that period an entire generation of readers all over the world grew up addicted to the books of Zane Grey.  Zane brought to life the Rustlers and bandits, the Red Indians and their warriors, The Sheriffs and the marshals to his readers.

 Zane Grey (1872 -1939) lived long enough to leave his mark as a famous writer of Wild West fiction. He created characters that catered to the fantasy of an ordinary man. He created gunmen who handled guns like matchsticks, men who fired with unerring skill and lovely women who were loyal, virtuous and full of compassion. He certainly created a dream world.

The Books of Zane Grey

Zane grey was a prolific writer as is evidenced by his churning out more than 100 novels and books. These books by Zane sold many millions of copies and no book shelf was complete without a couple of books by this master story teller. Among the books Zane Grey wrote was Spirit of the Border (1906), The Last of the Plainsmen,the Heritage of the Desert (1910), Sun set pass (1930) and Riders of the Purple Sage (1912).  He won a lot of critical acclaim for this book. Some rate it as one of his best. He followed up by writing a sequel to this book t The Rainbow Trail (1915), which was equally acclaimed. There is no doubt that Zane Grey had the pulse of the reader in tow.

Hollywood accepted Zane grey with open arms. His impact on the films made there was nothing short of stupendous. Many of his books were filmed and were commercial hits. He also dabbled in film production, but was not a success. But of his most famous books ‘the lone star ranger’ and ‘king of the royal mounted ‘  were the basis of  serials that ran for many years..


Zane grey as a writer certainly carved his own niche in the world of literature. He was not an ordinary man, but a deeply gifted writer. The significance of Zane Grey lies in the fact that he brought the Wild West alive to his readers. It is a matter of great pride that his writings spanned this momentous period of American history. A lot many Hollywood stars must for ever be indebted to him for the roles he created for them through his books. His literary contributions will live for a long time to come.


Zane Grey: “The Man Whose Books Made the West Famous” by Norris F. Schneider (1967) Publisher Zanesville Ohio


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