Friday, January 24, 2014

Most Popular Western Ever

Having read Zane Grey's 'The Last Trail', I thought I would try another western novel and chose this one because it was his best seller and one of the most popular western novels of all time and probably shaped all western books and movies made since its publication.
The plot, story line, and characters are intricate and slowly woven together to make a very satisfying story. That is not to say that there is not fast paced action. There is and as it unfolds, more of the back story is revealed.
I found this book particularly fascinating because I have been on location among the red rock canyons of Utah. And what is Utah without Mormons. They are central to the theme of this story.
The basic plot line regards Jane Withersteen, a wealthy Mormon spinster who is promised to a Mormon leader, a man she despises. She is continually torn between her strong Mormon faith and her very independent nature. The two cannot be reconciled if she is to be subservient to a polygamist. She is a generous and kind woman to both Mormons and 'gentiles', and it is the gentiles who come to her rescue when she is forced by her church leaders to relent or be ruined as one of the most wealthy cattle ranchers in the state. 
There are numerous characters in this story who are connected, but this fact is slowly revealed through masterful plot twists.
I lost two days of my vacation immersed in the wild west, full of hidden canyons, cattle rustlers, gun slinging, and horsemanship. Every time I looked up from my book, I was truly surprised to see palm trees instead of red cliffs. 
A rare 5 stars

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