At the age of 27, Fannie Sedlacek left her Bohemian homestead in Nebraska to join the gold rush to the Klondike. From the Klondike to the Tanana, Fannie continued north, finally settling in Katishna near Mount McKinley. This woman, later known as Fannie Quigley, became a prospector who staked her own claims and a cook who ran a roadhouse. She hunted and trapped and thrived for nearly forty years in an environment that others found unbearable.
One of the century’s most enduring American writers, Zane Grey left a legacy to our national consciousness that far outstrips the literary contribution of his often predictable plots and recurring themes. How did Grey capture the attention of millions of readers and promote the Western fantasy that continues to occupy many of the world’s leisure hours? This study assesses the Zane Grey phenomenon by examining Grey’s romantic novels in the context of his life and era.
Social commentator and preeminent western historian Bernard DeVoto vigorously defended public lands in the West against commercial interests. By the time of his death in 1955, DeVoto had published criticism, history, and fiction. He had won both the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes. But his most passionate writing—at once incisive and eloquent—advocated conservation of America’s prairies, rangeland, forests, mountains, canyons, and deserts.
Westward expansion on the North American continent by European settlers generated a flurry of writings on the frontier experience over the course of a hundred years.
One-Smoke Stories is a collection of folk tales from Native American, Spanish Colonial, mestizo, and European American peoples of the Southwest retold in the enthralling words of one of the bestselling writers of her day, Mary Austin. One-Smoke Stories introduces us to a multicultural treasury of character types: lovers, hunters, bandits, shepherds, miners, ranchers, homesteaders, missionaries, government offcials, and supernatural beings.
The title of Helen Papanikolas’ second collection of short stories, The Apple Falls from the Apple Tree, is taken from an old Greek proverb and speaks of the new generation’s struggle with the vestiges of Greek customs. Gone are the raw, overt emotions of the pioneers, their bold prejudices, and, especially, the haunting black fatalism of funerals. Yet their children retain much of their parents’ culture.
In Below Grass Roots, the second book in Frank Waters's Pikes Peak saga, turn-of-the-century Colorado Springs is prospering with the mining boom and a growing tourist industry. Patriarch Joseph Rogier becomes ever more obsessed with the treasures of the towering mountain and tries to enlist his son-in-law Jonathan Cable in his mining schemes. Cable instead leaves for Navajo country with his young son.
The Wild Earth's Nobility is the first of Frank Waters's semiautobiographical novels in the Pikes Peak saga. Here, in a frontier town in the shadow of the commanding mountain, the Rogier family settles near an age-old route of migrating Native Americans. In an era of prospecting, silver strikes, and frenzied mining, Joseph Rogier becomes a successful building contractor, rears a large family, and is gradually overwhelmed by the power of the great peak.
The novels and nonfiction work of writer Frank Waters stand as a monument to his genius and to his lifetime quest to plumb the spiritual depths that he found for himself in the landscape and people of his beloved Southwest. In a career spanning more than half a century, he shared, through his many books, his insights and discoveries with countless readers across the globe.
Based on one of the most significant periods in Frank Waters's own life, Pike's Peak is perhaps the most complete expression of all the archetypal themes he explored in both fiction and nonfiction. In The Dust within the Rock, the third book in the Pikes Peak saga, an aging Joseph Rogier clings to his vision of finding gold in the great mountain and his grandson Marsh comes of age in the Rogier household.
With much recent scholarship polarizing frontier novels into “popular” and “literary” camps, The Word Rides Again challenges the critical orthodoxy that such works have little in common, arguing instead that formulaic Western fictions can subtly (and even subversively) share cultural concerns with more highbrow brethren.
In 1927, at the peak of his career, Zane Grey bought a three-masted schooner, which he sailed to the Galapagos Islands, later journeying to Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji. As colorful as his characters were, so too was their creator. A consummate explorer, Zane Grey toured the world, was an acclaimed expert on salt- and freshwater fishing, and incorporated the sights and sounds he witnessed into his writings.
Expanding the scope of American borderland and frontier literary scholarship, West of the Border examines the writings of nineteenth- and turn-of-the-century Native, African, Asian, and Anglo American frontier writers. This book views frontiers as “human spaces” where cultures make contact as it considers multicultural frontier writers who speak from “west of the border.”
The award-winning Stolen Life is a remarkable collaborative work between a distinguished novelist and a Cree woman who broke a lifetime of silence to share her story. Imprisoned for murder at the age of twenty-seven, Yvonne Johnson sought out Rudy Wiebe, the chronicler of her ancestor Big Bear, as a means of coming to terms with her self, her past, and the crime that defines her future.
Rudy Wiebe's The Temptations of Big Bear is an epic of the Canadian West. As the buffalo-based food supply vanishes, Big Bear leads his Plains Cree nation across the prairie in search of a means of retaining the way of life quickly being lost—a life his people have lived for thousands of years.