The best-selling Western author of all time, with almost 90 books in print, Zane Grey’s storytelling skills still appeal to modern day Western aficionados. Grey was born and grew up in Zanesville, Ohio, a city founded by his maternal great-grandfather Ebenezer Zane, on Jan. 31, 1872. His ancestors had been vigorous, illustrious pioneers in America’s historic Ohio Valley, and their adventures motivated Grey to novelize both his family’s own story and the stories of many other pioneers, wranglers and desperados. Enjoy a great selection of titles by Zane Grey, as well as other western stories, available at the Manatee County Public Library.
First published in 1912, Grey’s “Riders of the Purple Sage” was the first of his many bestsellers. In this stirring tale of adventure in the high country, the plot focuses on a young heroine in a Mormon town on the Utah border who stands alone against the villains who rustle and stampede her cattle. A lone gunman fighting for justice rides into the territory and stays to assist in the inevitable showdown. A romance blooms between the two characters amid the canyons and cottonwoods. This classic of American frontier fiction teems with color and authenticity.
“A Man Called Sunday,” by Charles G. West, weaves historical events and characters with an eye for detail and plenty of action. Luke Sunday, raised by the Cheyenne and Crow, takes a job as an Army scout. Desperate for work after he is relieved of his position for opposing the Army’s attack on a peaceful Cheyenne village, he agrees to guide a couple across hostile country to Montana’s Gallatin Valley. After the husband is killed by the Sioux, the wife, though hesitant, must trust the man called Sunday.
An exciting, action-packed read, “Outlaw on Horseback,” by Will Ermine (a pen name for Harry Sinclair Drago), is a classic western saga. Deputy Marshal Dick Marr is determined that the days of outlaws in Oklahoma are numbered. But outlaw Britt Morgan and his gang, known for surprise attacks and speedy getaways, seem to always be one step ahead of the lawman.
“Badman’s Pass,” by Florida author R.W. Stone, is a Western adventure imbued with the spirit of the old west. Bounty hunter Badger Kershaw responds to a plea from his former Civil War commanding officer, Col. Benjamin Grierson, to rescue Grierson’s daughter and three other women seized in a train robbery and being held in a fortified outlaw camp. Despite incredible odds, Kershaw chooses to do the job alone. This authentically written Western novel is a thrilling read.
“The Trail of Vengeance,” by Arthur Henry Gooden is a classic tale of cowboys, rustlers and vengeance. In Painted Canyon, men had to fight drought, greed and bushwhackers. When Breck Allen’s father is murdered by a bushwhacker, he swears revenge. Bullets whiz, as rustlers are stopped and murders are solved.
Find more westerns by accessing the library’s online catalog at manatee.polarislibrary.com. Type “Western stories” as a search term and narrow your search by author name, publication date, branch, and more.
Correction: Last week’s column had incorrect information. The Manatee Genealogical Society meets on the first Tuesday of the month from October through May at the Central Library.
Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Cathy Habora is a staff member at the Braden River Branch Library.