Much more compact than "The Riders" a lot less ominous, still very dramatic.
Love, hate, family, outlaws, and redemption; pretty standard Zane fair, its high reader rating is, I think very well earned.
Very intriguing, with only a couple pages of that over preachy / sappy stuff, otherwise one of those books I could not wait to get back to.
A rough condition 1st edition copy from an estate sale for $1.
Grey paints an' paints vistas of the west, this story takes place in some very specific Colorado locations, so for those who know the area it must be an especially fine experience.
Ben tries to make friends with the ungrateful punk-ass son:
""Young fellar, you need to be talked to, so if you've got any sense at
all it'll get a wedge in your brain," went on Wade. "I'm a stranger here. But I happen to be a man who sees through things, an' I see how your dad handles you wrong. You don't know who I am an' you don't care. But if you'll listen you'll learn what might help you.... No boy can answer to all his wild impulses without ruinin' himself. It's not natural. There are other people--people who have wills an' desires, same as you have. You've got to live with people. Here's your dad an' Miss Columbine, an' the cowboys, an' me, an' all the ranchers, so down to Kremmlin' an' other places. These are the people you've got to live with. You can't go on as you've begun, without ruinin' yourself an' your dad an' the--the girl.... It's never too late to begin to be better. I know that. But it gets too late, sometimes, to save the happiness of others. Now I see where you're headin' as clear as if I had pictures of the future."
Love the "Western speak" heavy throughout the book.
Probably a dozen or more passages like this where Grey describes the world apart from and indifferent to the comings and goings of man.
"Spring came early that year at White Slides Ranch. The snow melted off
the valleys, and the wild flowers peeped from the greening grass while yet the mountain domes were white. The long stone slides were glistening wet, and the brooks ran full-banked, noisy and turbulent and roily. Soft and fresh of color the gray old sage slopes came out from under their winter mantle; the bleached tufts of grass waved in the wind and showed tiny blades of green at the roots; the aspens and oaks, and the vines on fences and cliffs, and the round-clumped, brook-bordering willows took on a hue of spring. The mustangs and colts in the pastures snorted and ran and kicked and cavorted; and on the hillsides the cows began to climb higher, searching for the tender greens, bawling for the new-born calves. Eagles shrieked the release of the snow-bound peaks, and the elks bugled their piercing calls. The grouse-cocks spread their gorgeous brown plumage in parade before their twittering mates, and the jays screeched in the woods, and the sage-hens sailed along the bosom of the gray slopes. Black bears, and browns, and grizzlies came out of their winter's sleep, and left huge, muddy tracks on the trails; the timber wolves at dusk mourned their hungry calls for life, for meat, for the wildness that was passing; the coyotes yelped at sunset, joyous and sharp and impudent. But winter yielded reluctantly its hold on the mountains. The black, scudding clouds, and the squalls of rain and sleet and snow, whitening and melting and vanishing, and the cold, clear nights, with crackling frost, all retarded the work of the warming sun. The day came, however, when the greens held their own with the grays; and this was the assurance of nature that spring could not be denied, and that summer would follow."