Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey

Riders of the Purple Sage (original 1912; edition 2010)

by Zane Grey, Mark Bramhall (Narrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
898None9,801 (3.4)87
Title:Riders of the Purple Sage
Authors:Zane Grey
Other authors:Mark Bramhall (Narrator)
Info:Pinnacle Books (2010), Edition: Reissue, Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, 2012 Read or re-read, Fiction, Kindle Fiction, Audio books
Tags:fiction, kindle, classic, American fiction, American literature, western, historical fiction, 19th century setting, 20th century literature, Utah, Mormons, revenge, rustlers, romance, Mormonism, homesteaders, ranching, polygamy, E&PV

Work details

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey (1912)

  1. 10
    A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (TineOliver)
    TineOliver: Both books deal with views on Mormonism by outsiders at the beginning of the 20th Century. This recommendation is only for those who are interested in this aspect as the novels cover different genres.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 87 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Riders of the Purple Sage has been in print since 1912, making it one of the best selling westerns out there. Zane Grey's name is synonymous with the genre. However, this work does not seem like it should be among the best westerns available. True, the sweeping descriptions of the landscape give the reader a sense of the epic and heroic. The high speed horse chases are gripping with exciting horsemanship detail. Freedom, honor, and justice are valued. Still, there are two major flaws that hold this work back from being a compelling read regardless of genre. One of the main points from this book is that Mormons are kidnappers, truck with rustlers, and oppress women. Our Mormon killing hero, Lassiter, admits that he's meet good Mormons, including our heroine, Jane, a devoted follower of Mormonism. However, part of the resolution of the book is the "scales" falling from her eyes due to the love she feels for the gunman. This historical prejudice does not translate well into modern times. The other flaw is that much of the book reads like a daytime soap opera with overly dramatic declarations of love, secrets, and convoluted connections between characters. This is a weak example of genre fiction in a genre with declining popularity. But, given the book's staying power after all these years, having a copy or two within a library system is advisable. ( )
  MissyAnn | Apr 9, 2014 |
Although I'm not a fan of Westerns, Riders of the Purple Sage is a classic in the genre and I've wanted to read it for some time. A Zane Grey group read gave me the motivation I needed. I listened to the audio version read by Mark Bramhall and I'm almost certain that I enjoyed listening to Bramhall's narration more than I would have enjoyed reading the book. His voice for each character was just right, even for the women. A lot of the dialogue was dated, but somehow Bramhall managed to keep it from sounding corny.

I wasn't as bothered as some were with the negative portrayal of Mormons. The book is set in Utah Territory in 1871, at a time when there was a great deal of mistrust between the Mormons and the non-Mormons who lived there. Brigham Young was still living and the church had not yet rejected polygamy.

The thing that eventually got to me was Jane Withersteen's gun phobia. It seemed to be more than pacifism. She had a horror for guns, and she did everything she could to get the gunman Lassiter to give up his guns. Jane Withersteen was the owner of a large ranch with lots of livestock. Guns would be necessary for protecting the livestock from predators or for quickly putting fatally injured animals out of their misery. Jane needed to know how to use guns, and her employees needed access to guns. Her attitude toward guns made no sense for her position or life in that place and time.

Westerns will never be a favorite genre for me. However, at some point I would like to try Grey's Frontier trilogy, starting with Betty Zane, since it's based on Grey's family history. ( )
  cbl_tn | Nov 30, 2013 |
"Almost liked it, but not quite" is a pretty accurate summation of my thoughts on this book. I'm not sure whether timing was a factor; lots of library books have been coming in recently and this book, being one I own, was very easy to push down the priority list. I liked the thread about Venters and the masked rider, but the parts where the Mormon elders would harass and threaten Jane Withersteen made me very cross. What I really took issue with was the men's arrogance and entitlement, thinking that just because of their positions in the church, they were allowed to have their pick of the women and that women did not have any say in their own affairs. It prompted flashbacks to the omniscient narrator section of A Study in Scarlet, except with Riders of the Purple Sage I didn't even have the benefit of Sherlock and John to look forward to. So about halfway through the book I went to Wikipedia and looked up how it ended.

I will read more Zane Grey, but not for a while. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Nov 25, 2013 |
Zane Grey never allowed political correctness or historical accuracy to interfere in his storytelling but in the case of the overly dramatic, downright cheesy Riders of the Purple Sage, he should have. I am a fan of Grey’s and have enjoyed other books of his that I have read, but I really had trouble sticking with this story to the end. This is a book that should have disappeared, stored away up in grandpa’s dusty attic years ago. It is certainly not a book that should be used today to represent Zane Grey’s work.

I had hoped that Riders of the Purple Sage would be a straight forward “cowboy story”, instead it is a strange blend of Morman bashing and romance. The plot points sound good on paper: Cattle rustlers, two couples falling in love and overcoming many obstacles to be together, along with horse stealing, a mysterious masked rider and a little orphan girl, but the one point the readers will take away from this book is the low opinion of Mormon’s that the author must have had. The one area that I felt Zane Grey excelled in was his beautiful descriptive writing. Although it seemed a little over-blown at times, I have travelled in this area of Southern Utah and the colors and scenery are incredible.

Riders of the Purple Sage was originally published in 1912 and unfortunately just doesn’t hold up well today. ( )
2 vote DeltaQueen50 | Nov 20, 2013 |
Jane Withersteen is a Mormon woman who has inherited her father's ranch. She dares to defy the church and faces opposition in more ways than one from church leaders. The book has the elements one would expect in a typical Western novel. I just don't really enjoy the genre, and I never really enjoyed Westerns on television. My inability to get into this book and enjoy it is probably more of a reflection of my dislike of the genre than of the quality of writing. If you enjoy Westerns, give it a try in spite of my dislike. I made a comment to a friend of mine as I was reading the book that the negative comments one heard about Mormons during the Romney presidential campaign paled in comparison to the contempt for Mormons in the novel. I really only stuck with the book because of the group read. ( )
  thornton37814 | Nov 14, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zane Greyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bramhall, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
A sharp clip-clop of iron-shod hoofs deadened and died away, and clouds of yellow dust drifted from under the cottonwoods out over the sage.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812966120, Paperback)

Told by a master storyteller who, according to critic Russell Nye, “combined adventure, action, violence, crisis, conflict, sentimentalism, and sex in an extremely shrewd mixture,” Riders of the Purple Sage is a classic of the Western genre. It is the story of Lassiter, a gunslinging avenger in black, who shows up in a remote Utah town just in time to save the young and beautiful rancher Jane Withersteen from having to marry a Mormon elder against her will. Lassiter is on his own quest, one that ends when he discovers a secret grave on Jane’s grounds. “[Zane Grey’s] popularity was neither accidental nor undeserved,” wrote Nye. “Few popular novelists have possessed such a grasp of what the public wanted and few have developed Grey’s skill at supplying it.”

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:57 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

When Lassiter, a gunman with a reputation, enters Cottonwoods, Utah, he finds a woman unjustly accused and a man who has been whipped. Lassiter finds himself pitted against Deacon Tull a powerful man who wants to marry the woman to get her land.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.4)
0.5 1
1 1
1.5 3
2 20
2.5 9
3 48
3.5 9
4 45
4.5 4
5 21


Nine editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 89,415,879 books! | Top bar: Always visible