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Heritage of the Desert

Zane Grey

Book Overview: 

Jack Hare is a young cowboy who was rescued from sure death by an old settler by the name of August Naab. Hare learns that Naab's ranch is a dangerous place and is challenged by cattle thieves and a corrupt rancher who is after Naab's water rights. The greatest danger Hare faces though, is over Mescal, a half-Navajo shepherdess who is already promised in marriage to Naab's first-born son. Hare must stop the marriage, but can't kill the son of his benefactor, August Naab...until a gun battle with rustlers brings the two face-to-face over drawn pistols.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .He was a mason; the levee that buffeted back the rage of the Colorado in flood, the wall that turned the creek, the irrigation tunnel, the zigzag trail cut on the face of the cliff—all these attested his eye for line, his judgment of distance, his strength in toil. He was a farmer, a cattle man, a grafter of fruit-trees, a breeder of horses, a herder of sheep, a preacher, a physician. Best and strangest of all in this wonderful man was the instinct and the heart to heal. "I don't combat the doctrine of the Mormon church," he said, "but I administer a little medicine with my healing. I learned that from the Navajos." The children ran to him with bruised heads, and cut fingers, and stubbed toes; and his blacksmith's hands were as gentle as a woman's. A mustang with a lame leg claimed his serious attention; a sick sheep gave him an anxious look; a steer with a gored skin sent him running for a bucket of salve. He could not pass by a crippled quail. The farm was overrun. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I am interested in the history of the Lee's Ferry and House Rock Valley areas of Arizona. I knew that Zane Grey had spent time there and that this story was loosely based on the people he knew there, primarily Jim Emet. So this was part of my enjoyment of the book, but I was surprised how much I...more

Thanks to my GR friends, Scott Rhee, and Ron Scheer, I gave Zane Grey another chance by reading The Heritage of the Desert. Scott has written a great review of Riders of the Purple Sage, a novel I had abandoned because of its anti-Mormonism. Ron commented that Heritage of the Desert provides a more balanced...more

Zane Grey came from a distinguished family, however that was way back during the Revolutionary War, his ancestors fought well and bravely , brought glory... His birthplace Zanesville, Ohio named after them, yet they were unremarkable financially speaking, his father a dentist and he too ...for a...more

Apparently, this was meant to be Grey's version of the story. It was re-done based on his notes. I should read others of his books to get a better feel for his style of course, but the descriptions were strong and full of imagery. I can't say I was surprised at the ending, but getting there was a...more

Without a doubt Silver Mane, a wild mustang desert stallion, is the hero of The Heritage of the Desert by Zane Grey. This seriocomic narrative takes place on the desolate plains of southern Utah in the mid-1870’s. Sheep and beef dominate the high western plains and water is the only drawback. As...more

This book is over 100 years old, so it has a few elements that haven't aged well - long-winded descriptions, instances of melodrama, undertones of racism and sexism - but overall I found it very engaging. The writing is beautiful, even if I did find myself skimming some of the longer descriptions...more

A little book but surprisingly big on its descriptions on the desert. Very stirring in learning the characters coming to grips with what they had always held in their beliefs. Having been to the desert area described, I was immediately taken back their by Grey's very emotive descriptions. I suspe...more

Good read

Ageless story makes one want to sleep under the stars. Zane Grey causes one to relive history. Read and enjoy

I appreciate that the local Navajo Indians in this Western were all portrayed as friendly to a gentle Mormon rancher. The romance that was woven into this water rights and cattle rustling story was between the main character and the adopted daughter (half American Indian / half Spanish) of the ra...more

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