Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

One of the best parts of this project was all the kind, interesting people who aided my search for information. Early on, while I was deliberating whether to write this biography, I decided that I needed to meet with Loren Grey, Zane’s son and the current head of Zane Grey, Inc., and find out what he thought about this possibility. ...

List of Illustrations

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Introduction

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pp. 1-12

Given the remarkable success of her husband’s career, the defensiveness in Dolly’s comment about her husband’s “genius” is surprising. Grey was the best-selling author in America during the 1920s and a major contributor to the Western genre’s rise in popularity. ...

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1. Wayward Youth: 1872-90

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pp. 13-25

Pearl Zane Gray’s pioneer heritage was imprinted on his consciousness with the name his parents gave him at his birth on January 31, 1872. Anecdotal histories report his given name of Pearl as derived from the mourning attire of Queen Victoria that newspapers regularly described as “pearl gray.” ...

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2. Quest for Direction: 1890-1905

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pp. 26-58

By the precocious age of fifteen, Pearl was already “very expert in extracting teeth” (5, 8). Rural Ohio was so sufficiently free of regulation that he was able to practice dentistry even before his relocation to Columbus. In Zanesville, Lewis employed cocaine, but this sedative still necessitated a deft removal of the tooth to prevent pain. ...

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3. Adventurous Apprentice: 1906-10

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pp. 59-94

In one of the few reviews of The Last of the Plainsmen (1908), Forest and Stream offered the following information about the work’s little-known author: “Dr. Grey hails from Pike county, Pennsylvania. A couple of years ago he had in contemplation a trip to South America; a cruise in a small boat around the Peninsula of Labrador to Hudson Bay; ...

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4. Pursuit of the Dream: 1911-14

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pp. 95-132

In March 1911, four months after the publication of The Heritage of the Desert, Field and Stream presented the first installment of “Down an Unknown Jungle River.” For this issue, the editors prepared a special, bright-red cover with a huge Z slashing from top to bottom of the page, like the famous mark of Zorro. ...

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5. Moviemaking and Button Fish: 1915-19

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pp. 133-177

During the spring of 1914, Grey sent Robert Davis an undated postcard on which he wrote, “You will be pleased to learn that the book you inspired me to write has been for a month the best selling book in the United States.” He did not identify the novel, but his card was a piece of promotion for The Light of Western Stars, ...

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6. Calamity: 1920-23

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pp. 178-218

By 1920, the forty-seven-year-old and still youthful Zane Grey was on top and in charge, and he had no inkling of disaster on the horizon. After struggling with rejection and disappointment for the first ten years of his writing career, and then capitalizing on his hard-won advances during the years spanned by World War I, ...

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7. Movin' On: 1924-25

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pp. 219-253

Had Zane been able to foresee the future, he would have done nothing and given thanks that his problems passed so quickly. Of course, he could not, and in deciding to take action, he prolonged the healing process. Prior to his departure for New York City, he mailed the Catalina Islander an article entitled “Heavy Tackle for Heavy Fish,” ...

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8. Fresh Starts and Farewells: 1925-30

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pp. 254-280

In its February 21, 1925, issue, Publishers Weekly ran an article about the one hundred best-selling authors from 1900 through 1924 and ranked Zane Grey number six. The five authors above him—Winston Churchill, Harold Bell Wright, Booth Tarkington, George Barr McCutcheon, and Mary Roberts Rinehart— started writing best sellers before 1910.1 ...

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9. Undone: 1930-39

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pp. 281-310

Common understanding of Depression history holds that it began on October 24, 1929, when the stock market “crashed.” On that day the Dow Jones Average gave up thirty-four points, or 9 percent, on trading volume that was three times normal. The selling actually started in September when the market hit a record high of 386. ...

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Postscript

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pp. 311-314

Zane Grey died during a resurgence of interest in the Western. Over the years of the Depression, the genre was kept alive by an outpouring of B-films for “double features” that the major studios offered, along with free china, to lure penny-pinching audiences to theaters. Nearly half of all the film adaptations of Grey novels were B-films from the decade of the Depression. ...

Grey's World Records

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pp. 315-316

Notes

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pp. 317-358

Bibliography

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pp. 359-370

Index

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pp. 371-385