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The Rainbow Trail

Zane Grey

Book Overview: 

The Rainbow Trail is a sequel to The Riders of the Purple Sage. Both novels are notable for their protagonists' mild opposition to Mormon polygamy, but in The Rainbow Trail this theme is treated more explicitly. The plots of both books revolve around the victimization of women in the Mormon culture: events in Riders of the Purple Sage are centered on the struggle of a Mormon woman who sacrifices her wealth and social status to avoid becoming a junior wife of the head of a local church, while The Rainbow Trail contrasts the older Mormons with the rising generation of Mormon women who will not tolerate polygamy and Mormon men who do not seek it. (Summary Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Nack-yal never was well broke," he said. "But he's a good mustang, nothing like Joe's Navvy or that gray mare Dynamite. All this Indian stock will buck on a man once in a while."

"I'll take the bucking along with the rest," said Shefford. Both men liked his reply, and the Indian smiled for the first time.

Soon they all sat round a spread tarpaulin and ate like wolves. After supper came the rest and talk before the camp-fire. Joe Lake was droll; he said the most serious things in a way to make Shefford wonder if he was not joking. Withers talked about the ca. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This is a sequel to the classic Riders of the Purple Sage, though the main characters from that book do not enter the plot till very near the end. Like the first book, this book is also a romance set in the west, but much of the time the characters and the plot are subordinate to the setting, and...more

I loved it! Perfect book for a perfect time in my life.
I was visiting Arizona and the great red canyons and sunsets while reading this book!
Impeccabile descriptions. Interesting story line.
The timeless theme of one man’s search for meaning in life, and the Mormon friend and Noble Navajo that sti...more

Lovely sequel to Grey's "Riders of the Purple Sage." Twelve years later a young, disillusioned, ex-preacher in Illinois, hears about the wonderful secret canyon where a couple with their young foster daughter had fled to for safety, knowing they could not likely get out ever again without help fr...more

3.5 stars. Better than the first, but Grey seems to spend more time on descriptions of the terrain than on a story. I will give Mr. Zane Grey a break for now.

The Rainbow Trail, a worthy sequel to "Riders of the Purple Sage".John Shefford ,a former minister,(he was told to leave by the church , for being a suspected atheist !)meets Bern and Elizabeth Venters in Illinois.They tell him an unbelievable story of Lassiter, Jane Withersteen and Fay Larkin ,t...more

The book is not as well paced or intense as Riders of the Purple Sage. Shefford is no Lassiter. He too often gets lost in his own dream world and needs others to snap him out of it. He is more a hero by accident and by the setup by others. I was sorry that Lassiter was portrayed as old and frail....more

This sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage has an even more salacious story line than the first book. In Riders, a young Mormon woman has to escape the clutches of her controlling church elders. In this book, which takes place fifteen years later, the state of Utah has outlawed plural marriages, bu...more

I love Zane Grey, but this one far outshines most of his books. The descriptions of the canyons and the river and the tension of the adventures were so exciting, I couldn't wait to finish the book, and yet I hated to say good bye to the characters. This is my second reading of the story, and it w...more

After reading a few classic Westerns, I’ve figured out why the heroes have been reflective, thoughtful, intelligent characters. It’s so that the author can put in a lot of description, mostly of the land. The terrain and vegetation descriptions set this apart from other non-genre novels - Grey de...more

As you all know from my earlier post, I'm reading hundred-year-old westerns because this summer's vacation crossed paths with Zane Grey's homestead in Lackawaxen, PA. His house on the Delaware River is fantastic Americana (his writing space is perfectly preserved, down to the rugs and books and c...more

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