Monday, January 6, 2014

Frontier Days

Zane Grey is known for his western and frontier books which depicted idealized pioneering and adventure in the old west. He lived from 1872 to 1939, authoring more than 90 books. He was very influential in forming our modern day ideas on what the old west was all about. He has many critics in that regard. His stories have been adapted into more that 112 movies or TV series.
  This story, The Last Trail, is about a father and daughter who travel to the Ohio River Valley and encounter a few problems common to folks who were trying to establish themselves in 'Indian territory'. They encounter two fellows who are a breed of men set apart because of their incredible bush savvy and propensity to violence. Rustlers and renegade Indians, beware.  These two  'good guys' become close friends and the adventures that ensue are full of intrigue, suspense, and violence. There is a strong romantic aspect to this novel and at times I thought I was reading a Harlequin Romance, but there was enough machismo to keep me going to the end. It is an easy read. I am wondering if a Zane Grey novel qualifies as a classic. As an author he certainly has had popularity (he became the first millionaire author)  and longevity, and his ability to describe the unspoiled wilderness of the day is classic, but the stories are light fare for the most part. I suppose one could say he is a vital link the development of American literature and how it formed the 'idea of America'.  
3 stars 

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