Lost Ecstasy shows the Old West’s ugly underside

  Mary Roberts Rinehart’s Lost Ecstasy turns the romance of the Old West on its head. Handsome cowboy Tom McNeil can ride, rope, and sing baritone. Lost Ecstasy by Mary Roberts Rinehart. Doran, 1927. 372 pp. 1927 bestseller # 6. My Grade: B-. His only flaws — binge drinking, womanizing, and using paper napkins— aren’t […]

Nan of Music Mountain gets her gunman

Set in a railroad town “almost within gunshot of the great continental divide,” Nan of Music Mountain is all action. At every juncture where he could have produced something other than a formula piece, author Frank H. Spearman backs out. Nan of Music Mountain by Frank H. Spearman N. C. Wyeth, Illus. Gross & Dunlap, […]

To the Last Man‘s Frantic Pace Blurs History

Zane Grey based his 1922 bestseller To the Last Man, on the “Pleasant Valley War,” a notorious feud in the Tonto Basin of Arizona. Grey whips through the narrative scarcely giving readers time to turn the pages, which is probably just as well. Neither plot nor characterization can withstand much analysis. Jean Isbel’s father summons […]

Man of the Forest Has Feminine Appeal

If Zane Grey is synonymous in your mind with lot-heavy cowboy stories, The Man of the Forest might change your thinking. Taking shelter from a rain storm in the Arizona mountains, Milt Dale overhears outlaws plotting to kidnap Helen Reyner so their boss, Beasley, can get the Auchincloss ranch to which she is heir. Milt […]