Book Report: Wild Horse Mesa by Zane Grey (1928, ?)

I have this book in the Walter J. Black edition, which is part of the Zane Grey series you find often in book fairs. It’s the second Western I’ve read this year (The Virginian being the first), and I can see the debt that Zane Grey owed to Wilson and to Frederic Remington, the artist. Grey writes a standard western plot and then fills the book with lush, at times too-lush, description of the landscape. It actually detracts from the pacing of the book, but it’s an eighty-year-old narrative, so it has that going against the pacing for a modern reader, too.

Within it, a horse wrangler named Chane meets some horse thieves and whips one of them before being driven from his camp by the gang. The one he whooped shows up at a large, Eastern-based wrangling operation and assumes a position of power, but not before drawing the ire of Chane’s young brother Chess who caught on with the same outfit. The daughter of one of the financial backers is along, and when Chess can’t win her heart, he promises that Chane will.

So you’ve got some romance, some Western violence, and whatnot. It’s not a bad read, but not something I’m going to make a habit of reading. I’ll have to try something from Louis L’Amour to see if that suits me better. As L’Amour wrote his work a little later than Grey and he has a pulp background, I’ll bet it’s more punchy.

And if you want to know what I was talking about when I mentioned reading a book about horse wrangling while watching Krull, there you go.

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