Authors: Zane Grey
“Jack, you're being double-crossed here . . . an' by more 'n one,” Pearce said deliberately. “But if you want me to talk, you've got to guarantee no gunplay.”
“Speak up, Red,” replied Kells with a glinting eye. “I swear there won't be a gun pulled.”
The other men shifted from one foot to another and there were deeply drawn breaths. Jim Cleve alone seemed quiet and cool. But his eyes were ablaze.
“Fust off, for instance, here's one who's double-crossin' you,” said Pearce in slow tantalizing speech, as if he wore out this suspense to torture Kells. And without ever glancing at Joan, he jerked a thumb in significant gesture at her.
“Pearce, what in hell do you mean?” demanded Kells.
“The girl's double-crossin' you,” replied Pearce. With the uttered words he grew pale and agitated.
Pearce's jaw worked so that he could scarcely talk. He had gone too farârealized it too late.
Kell's whole frame leaped. His gun was a flash of blue and red and white all together . . .
Other books by Zane Grey
RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE
THE DESERT CRUCIBLE
THE GOLDEN WEST (Anthology)
WOMAN OF THE FRONTIER
RANGERS OF THE LONE STAR
LAST OF THE DUANES
THE RUSTLERS OF PECOS CITY
SPIRIT OF THE BORDER
THE BUFFALO HUNTER
Published by special arrangement with Golden West Literary Agency.
Dorchester Publishing Co., Inc.
200 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Copyright Â© 2006 by Zane Grey, Inc.
An earlier version of
first appeared as a six-part serial titled “The Border Legion” in
(1/15/16â 2/19/16). Copyright Â© 1916 by Zane Grey. Copyright Â© renewed 1944 by Lina Elise Grey. Copyright Â© 2006 by Zane Grey, Inc., for restored material.
The name Zane Grey is a registered trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and cannot be used for any purpose without express written permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
ISBN 13: 978-1-4285-1628-1
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by Jon Tuska
In the first half of the twentieth century in the United States, authors of fiction made more money through sales to magazines than usually a book edition would earn them. In the case of Zane Grey,
The Heritage of the Desert
(Harper, 1910) was submitted first to Harper & Bros. Ripley Hitchcock, the Harper editor, asked for substantial changes to the text, which Grey made according to Hitchcock's specifications. It was the book publisher, therefore, that sold serial rights for this novel to Street & Smith's
The Popular Magazine,
where the story ran as a five-part serial (5/28/10â7/23/10).
Riders of the Purple Sage
was even more of a personal disaster for Grey, since Ripley Hitchcock felt the novel was not publishable, and only through the intercession of the vice president of the firm, Frederick Duneka, did Harper & Bros. agree ultimately to publish the story, but only after extensive revisions and
omissions were made by Hitchcock himself. Harper's sold serial rights to this bowdlerized version to
Field & Stream
, a regular market for Zane Grey's hunting and fishing articles, and it appeared in nineteen parts (1/12â7/13) following first book publication. This classic story would not appear as the author wrote it until
Riders of the Purple Sage: The Restored Edition
(Five Star Westerns, hardcover 2005; Leisure, paperback, 2006.)
Grey did not like to split the income generated by these magazine sales with his book publisher, so beginning with
(Harper, 1913) Grey undertook to sell serial rights to his novels prior to offering the books to Harper & Bros. The problem here for Grey was that magazine editors were perhaps even more wary of what might be offensive to readers than book editors. Grey's serial, “Last of the Duanes,” was rejected by Bob Davis, chief editor at the Frank Munsey magazines, due to what Davis considered excessive violence, and finally it was abridged to one-sixth its original length and appeared in a single installment in
Last of the Duanes
was not published as the author wrote it until 1996. This serial was followed in 1914 by
The Desert Crucible,
extensively expurgated by Bob Davis when it was serialized as a six-part serial in
(3/15â8/15). This text would not be restored until its first book appearance as
The Desert Crucible
(Five Star Westerns, hardcover, 2002; Leisure, paperback, 2004).
A similar fate befell the text of “The Border Legion” when Grey submitted it to Bob Davis late in 1915. Davis had objected to the rape of Fay Larkin and her giving birth to a child while in Mormon captivity as a sealed wife in “The Desert Crucible.” His objections to “The Border Legion” were of a different character. Joan Randle is taken captive by border
renegade Jack Kells and is later compelled to pose as Kells's “wife,” but Grey had learned his lesson with Fay Larkin, and here he didn't dare allow Kells to succeed in his attempt to rape Joan Randle, although without Davis's editorial restraint he certainly would have written the scene of the attempted rape differently. Yet, if Grey could not actually depict the rape scene realistically, he was allowed a subtler means of getting his point across since Joan comes to love Jack Kells, and confesses to him near the end of the story that were it not for Jim Cleve, she would surely have been Kells's woman and remained faithful to him. What Davis was still able to object to in the story was the language used by many of the characters and the violence executed by the outlaws against the miners of Alder Creek and against each other. Grey's model for this aspect of his story was the historical Henry Plummer and his gang that had indeed created a reign of terror and robbery over the Alder Gulch mining community in Montana Territory. It did not matter a whit to Bob Davis if Grey was trying to be historically accurate in reporting events that had actually happened. As far as he was concerned, such realism, however faithful to history, was totally unacceptable in fiction.
The works of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche were very much in vogue among American and European authors during the early decades of the twentieth century. Nietzsche introduced the idea of the blond beast in
On The Genealogy of Morality
(1887): “. . . These men enjoy freedom from all social constraint, in the wilderness they are repaid for the tension that a long confinement and being enclosed in the precincts of society engender, they fall
into the innocence of the beast of prey, like a rejoicing monster who is convinced, perhaps coming back
from a ghastly sequence of murder, arson, rape, torture with bravado and psychic equipoise, as if merely having carried out a student prank, that the poets now have again something to sing about and to celebrate. At the very depths of all these aristocratic races is the beast of prey, the unmistakable, magnificent, rampaging
lusting after plunder and victory; it is needed for the eruption of these very concealed depths, that the brute must again be let outside, must again venture back into the wilderness:âRoman, Arabian, German, Japanese aristocracy, Homeric heroes, Scandinavian Vikingsâthey are all the same in having this need.”
Jack London evoked this image of the predatory blond beast in his story, “An Odyssey of the North,” which first appeared in
The Atlantic Monthly
(1/1900). Zane Grey in turn embodied this image in his creation of the patriarch Withersteen in
Riders of the Purple Sage
. When young, beautiful Millie Erne is lured away from her husband by Mormon Bishop Dyer and turned over to Withersteen, Withersteen's practice with her is to keep her naked and bound, raping and humiliating her until finally she conceives his child and accepts her life as one of his hidden wives. In “The Border Legion” the blond beast appears as Gulden, the most vicious and depraved of the border bandits. As Kells tells Joan Randle, Gulden's way with a woman is the cave where she is kept naked and restrained by a rope. Kells, in his passion for Joan, threatens her with a similar fate. The text of
is derived from the holographic manuscript of “The Border Legion” by Zane Grey as preserved by the manuscripts division of the Library of Congress. The publishers are grateful to the Library of Congress and Zane Grey, Inc., for making this restoration possible. To repeat words I wrote
in connection with the restoration of
Riders of the Purple Sage
, I believe authors of literary fiction deserve the freedom to tell a story according to their own standard of artistic truth, to listen unhindered to their muse, and to share with us what they have learned. Now, for the first time, ninety years after he conceived this story,
is published exactly as Zane Grey wrote it.
Joan Randle reined in her horse on the crest of the cedar ridge, and with remorse and dread beginning to knock at her heart she gazed before her at the wild and looming mountain range.
“Jim wasn't fooling me,” she said. “He meant it. He's going straight for the border. Oh, why did I taunt him?”
It was indeed a wild placeâthat southern border of Idahoâand that year of 1863 was to see the ushering in of the wildest time probably ever known in the West. The rush for gold had peopled California with a horde of lawless men of every kind and class. And the vigilantes of 1856 and then the rich strikes in Idaho had caused a reflux of that dark tide of humanity. Strange tales of blood and gold drifted into the camps, and prospectors and hunters met with many unknown men.
Joan had quarreled with Jim Cleve, and she was bitterly regretting it. Joan was twenty years old, tall, strong, dark. She had been born in Missouri, where
her father had been well-to-do and prominent, until like many another man of his day he had impeded the passage of a bullet. Then Joan had become the protÃ©gÃ©e of an uncle, who had responded to the call of gold, and the latter part of her life had been spent in the wilds.
She had followed Jim's trail for miles out toward the range, and now she dismounted to see if his tracks were as fresh as she had believed. He had left the little village camp about sunrise the morning after the quarrel. Someone had seen him riding away, and had told Joan. Then he had tarried on the way, for it was now midday. Joan pondered. She had become used to his idle threats and disgusted with his vacillations. That had been the trouble. Jim was amiable, lovable, but since meeting Joan he had not exhibited any strength of character. Joan stood beside her horse and looked away toward the dark mountains. She was daring, resourceful, used to horses and trails, and taking care of herself, and she did not need anyone to tell her that she had gone far enough. It had been her hope to come up with Jim. Always he had been repentant. But this time was different. She recalled his lean pale face, so pale that freckles she did not know he had showed throughâand his eyes, usually so mild, that had glinted like blue steel. Yes, it had been a bitter, reckless face. What had she said to him? She tried to recall it.