Originally published in 1902, Owen Wister’s The Virginian pre-dates the classic novels of Zane Grey and Max Brand and is considered by many to be the original Western. Dedicated to Wister’s friend and fellow outdoorsman Theodore Roosevelt, this timeless tale almost single-handedly established the cowboy archetype in literature. A quiet, noble foreman of a Wyoming cattle ranch in the 1870s, the Virginian falls for pretty schoolteacher Molly Wood. But when a rival suitor challenges his honor, the Virginian struggles to make his beloved Molly understand the harsh justice of the West.
Stoic cowboys, villainous gamblers, and kindhearted damsels are some of the Wild West archetypes that originated in Owen Wister’s 1902 novel, The Virginian, which has been adapted into TV and film by several directors, including Cecil B. DeMille.
The Virginian is a lanky cowboy working at a ranch in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. Throughout the story he clashes with the crooked Trampas and romances a lovely schoolteacher, Molly Stark Wood. Wister’s story depicts the harshness of the western frontier in elegant, slightly formal language.
Jack Garrett does justice to the book’s Wild West setting with his gravelly drawl and a range of character voices.
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What a Stunning Surprise this novel is!
Now My Favorite Western
A Powerful romance.
A lot is lost in understanding due to the culture shift of language and understanding of how people spoke at this time (1902) and just understanding every day environment of horses, ranches, terms of the day.
My grandfather lived 1884 to 1984 and spoke the same way. I watch "The Virginian" TV shows with my grandfather & family... Picked this book up quite randomly... Such a gem of a book.
I also highly recommend the following books:
Old Yeller - YOu'll cry when your read this one....
Note: Shane and Old Yeller are great for younger readers in that they are short books.
- Andrew Stone