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The novel that introduced the first great American hero: the cowboyThe Virginian cuts an impressive figure when the unnamed narrator of Owen Wister's groundbreaking novel first encounters him in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. Dark-haired and physically imposing, the charismatic Virginian quickly befriends the narrator, whom he nicknames "the tenderfoot," and the two embark on a three-hundred-mile journey to the ranch where the Virginian works. Life on the frontier is unforgiving--filled with hardship and violence--and as they travel together, the tenderfoot recognizes all the ways in which the stoic and principled Virginian exemplifies the heroism and romance of life in the Wild West.Published in 1902 and considered to be the first true Western, The Virginian broke the trail for every great poet of the frontier, from Zane Grey to Louis L'Amour to John Ford.This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.
Loosely based on the Johnson County War of 1892, a bloody clash between big landowners and small ranchers in Wyoming, Owen Wister's The Virginian is the classic saga of a man who embodied the spirit of a growing nation--a novel that inspired five movie versions and the popular TV series."When you call me that, SMILE!" He wasn't looking for fame or glory. He wasn't looking for war. The man they called the Virginian was earning his way off the land, mingling his sweat and blood on the rich Montana soil as a trusted foreman for a rich man's ranch. Somewhere along the line he made an enemy, made a choice and then made a stand. . .In the eyes of a woman, he was a man of contradictions, as violent as he could be tender. In the eyes of others, he became a hero, a man who had the courage to draw his gun and use it against his enemies--and the courage to stand for justice without it. "Owen Wister has come pretty near to writing the American novel. It contains humor, pathos, poetic description, introspective thought, sentiment, and even tragedy." --New York Times
"The Virginian" is Owen Wister's classic novel of the Wild West. A highly fictionalized account of the Johnson County War, a dispute in 1890's Wyoming between large cattle ranchers and smaller operators over land use. Rich with detail of the old Wild West frontier days, "The Virginian" is at its core a study of the inherent nature of man drawn out by the savagery of the wilderness.
Dime novels had featured some rather scrawny horse-bound tenders of cattle, but not until 1902 did the cowboy become a fully realized article of American culture. That year Owen Wister, a native of Philadelphia, published the novel that established the conventions of the western. An immediate best seller, it has never faded from public consciousness. Suddenly there was the natural aristocrat, the Virginian, who faced down the archetypal villain. Trampas, flinging at him the unforgettable words "When you call me that, smile!" There was the eastern schoolteacher, Molly, far from being a wilted flower. They moved in the raw, bracing atmosphere that generations of readers and moviegoers would come to expect from westerns. To read The Virginian, again or for the first time, is to enter a cultural phenomenon. This Bison Book makes available once more the memorable 1929 edition that brought together the art of Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell. It adds an introduction by one of today's most brilliant creators of rugged individualists, Thomas McGuane. The author of Nobody's Angel (1982) and Keep the Change (1989), McGuane shows how The Virginian "bears all the advantages and disadvantages of being a precursor. "
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