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In the old days, the happy days, when Wyoming was a Territory with a future instead of a State with a past, and the unfenced cattle grazed upon her ranges by prosperous thousands, young Lin McLean awaked early one morning in cow camp, and lay staring out of his blankets upon the world. He would be twenty-two this week. He was the youngest cow-puncher in camp. But because he could break wild horses, he was earning more dollars a month than any man there, except one. The cook was a more indispensable person. None save the cook was up, so far, this morning. Lin's brother punchers slept about him on the ground, some motionless, some shifting their prone heads to burrow deeper from the increasing day. The busy work of spring was over, that of the fall, or beef round-up, not yet come. It was mid-July, a lull for these hard-riding bachelors of the saddle, and many unspent dollars stood to Mr. McLean's credit on the ranch books. "What's the matter with some variety?" muttered the boy in his blankets. The long range of the mountains lifted clear in the air. They slanted from the purple folds and furrows of the pines that richly cloaked them, upward into rock and grassy bareness until they broke remotely into bright peaks, and filmed into the distant lavender of the north and the south. On their western side the streams ran into Snake or into Green River, and so at length met the Pacific. On this side, Wind River flowed forth from them, descending out of the Lake of the Painted Meadows. A mere trout-brook it was up there at the top of the divide, with easy riffles and stepping-stones in many places; but down here, outside the mountains, it was become a streaming avenue, a broadening course, impetuous between its two tall green walls of cottonwood-trees. And so it wound away like a vast green ribbon across the lilac-gray sage-brush and the yellow, vanishing plains.
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.
Still as exciting and meaningful as when it was written in 1902, Owen Wister's epic tale of one man's journey into the untamed territory of Wyoming, where he is caught between his love for a woman and his quest for justice, has exemplified one of the most significant and enduring themes in all of American culture. With remarkable character depth and vivid descriptive passages, The Virginian stands not only as the first great novel of American Western literature, but as a testament to the eternal struggle between good and evil in humanity, and a revealing study of the forces that guide the combatants on both sides.Pocket Books' Enriched Classics present the world's greatest literature enhanced for the contemporary reader. This edition of The Virginian has been prepared by Gary Scharnhorst, professor of English at the University of New Mexico. It includes his introduction, notes, a selection of critical excerpts, and suggestions for further reading, as well as a unique visual essay of period illustrations and photographs.
The Virginian is a pioneering novel set in the Wild West describing the life of the foreman of the Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming. It was the first true western written, aside from the tiny dime novels. It paved the way for many more westerns by famous authors such as Zane Grey, Louis L'Amour, and several others.
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.
A strong, silent stranger rides into the lawless lands of the western frontier, battles horse thieves, deals with unyielding scoundrels, and wins the heart of a schoolmarm. Owen Wister's 1902 classic--the first great novel of the American West--is rich in moral drama and vernacular wit. His hero--like knights of old--lives by an enduring code of chivalry and is governed by quiet courage and a deep sense of honor.Set in the vast Wyoming territory, this masterpiece helped establish the code of the West and its stereotypical characters: the genteel but brave, white-hatted cowboy, the pretty spinster from back East, and villains beyond redemption. The novel is also on record for incorporating the first known "shootout" in American literature.Performed in theaters before it was made into several motion pictures and a television series, The Virginian was voted by the Western American Writers in 1977 as the greatest Western novel of all time. Brimming with action, romance, and atmosphere, it remains a classic of frontier fiction.
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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