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The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains (Dover Thrift Editions) Kindle Edition
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
After reading "The Virginian", sometime in the 1920s, he put it down and remarked "By God that is the way it really was." I don't know if he ever read the book again but I do know that it was prominently displayed in his book shelf as long as he lived. He died in 1953 and the ranch passed to his children. I was eleven when he died and remember vividly his stories of the "old days".
It was on his recommendation, "By God that is the way it really was." that I purchased the book and read it. I enjoyed the book and saw my Grandfather and his contemporaries in every chapter.
I recommend it strongly. If you enjoy good Westerns, as I do, you will not be disappointed.
The account begins when the narrator arrives in Medicine Bow, WY, around 1886, to visit Judge Henry and the Virginian is sent to escort him to Shiloh. During the succeeding years, the Virginian, who was born in old Virginia but had left home at age fourteen and come west, woos the pretty Miss Molly Stark Wood, who comes from Bennington, VT, to be the school teacher at Bear Creek, WY; is made foreman at Shiloh Ranch; and must deal with an ongoing enemy named Trampas, a roving cowboy who works for a while at Shiloh then turns to rustling. Will the Virginian win Miss Wood's affection? What will happen to Trampas? When I was young and still living at home, I remember seeing a television show also entitled The Virginian (1962-1971), based on characters from this novel. It starred James Drury as the Virginian, Doug McClure as Trampas, and Lee J. Cobb as the Judge. However, the television series bore little resemblance to the plot of the book.
The Virginian is an interesting story in which several subplots develop over time. There are numerous references to smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, gambling, and dancing. In addition to several instances in which "curses," "oaths," and "profanities" are mentioned, the "d" and "h" words occur a few times and the Lord's name is occasionally taken in vain. The phrase "son of a -----" is used as quoted (not spelled out). In fact, this is what Trampas had called the Virginian when the latter responded, "When you call me that, smile." The nearly equivalent term "ba*t*ard" is found once (completely spelled out). Nathaniel Bluedorn recommended the book in Hand that Rocks the Cradle: 400 Classic Books for Children, but I would urge great caution with younger children unless done as a read aloud where the offending language could be easily edited out. Otherwise, it does present a good, balanced viewpoint of what young manhood should be, with both toughness when needed and gentleness when required.
I've read the book before, but I decided I wanted my own copy. In the book, unlike the TV series (which I also love), Trampas is a bad - dark mustache - sinister - guy. The Virginian and he have an ongoing feud. I'm glad that they changed this in the TV show, but in the book, it works. On TV, the main emphasis seems to be on the Virginian and Trampas, while in the book, the main subject is the Virginian and his girl, Molly. The show used many of the ideas in the book. If you've even seen the show, you'll be reading the book, and you'll come to a part, and suddenly, it'll be like, "Oh! I remember that from season 3," and vice versa. You might be watching the show, and see a certain part (especially season 1), and be like, "That's from chapter 2!"
At any rate, it's a great story. It's easy to see how Owen Wister broke the ice with this one. My copy arrived today in excellent condition. I love it. Nice work, publisher people.