In his father’s day, a gun-fighter worried only about better gunfighters. Since then the Rangers have been organized to bring law and order to Texas.
Buck Duane will be the last of his gun-fighting family.
The Lone Star Ranger by Zane Gray
Project Gutenberg eBook #1027. 1915 bestseller #9. My grade: B-.
After killing a man in a gunfight, Buck flees in the Rio Grande country. He lives among a gang of outlaws long enough to make enemies, then wanders alone for some two years.
Captain MacNelly of the Texas Rangers hears enough good of Buck to offer him a pardon if he’ll work undercover for him.
His task is to find and destroy the gang whose mastermind, Cheseldine, no one appears to have ever seen.
In Fairdale, in the heart of cattle rustling country, Buck is captivated by the mayor’s lovely daughter.
Most readers will guess how the plot resolves itself.
Why Buck feels drawn to kill is the story’s real interest. Zane Grey makes Buck’s first gunfight into what we’d call a virtual reality experience today—and we’d seek a label warning it isn’t suitable for all audiences.
Grey suggests some possible answers, but doesn’t come to any conclusion. Instead, he ruins the story by promising Buck will stop killing because of “the faith and love and beauty of [a] noble woman.”
The Lone Star Ranger isn’t a great novel, but it deserves a better ending than that.
© 2015 Linda Gorton Aragoni