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The Spirit of the Border

Zane Grey

Book Overview: 

This is an early novel by the phenomenally successful author of frontier, western and sports stories. It deals with historical characters and incidents in the Ohio Valley in the late 18th century, especially with the foundation of Gnaddenhutten, a missionary village intended to bring Christianity to the Indians of Ohio, despite the violent opposition of both Indians and white renegades. This turbulent adventure romance features the heroics of a semi-legendary frontiersman, Lewis Wetzel, who attempts to protect the settlers from hostile Native Americans and the vicious white outlaws the Girty brothers.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Elliott, the Tory deserter, from Fort Pitt, a wiry, spider-like little man; and last, the gaunt and gaudily arrayed form of the demon of the frontier—Jim Girty.

The procession halted before this group, and two brawny braves pushed the hunter forward. Simon Girty's face betrayed satisfaction; Elliott's shifty eyes snapped, and the dark, repulsive face of the other Girty exhibited an exultant joy. These desperadoes had feared this hunter.

Wingenund, with a majestic wave of his arm, silenced the yelling horde of frenzied savages and stepped before the captive.

The deadly foes were once again face to face. The chieftain's lofty figure and dark, sleek head, now bare of plumes, towered over the other Indians, but he was not obliged to lower his gaze in order to look straight into the hunter's eyes.

Verily this hunter merited the respect which shone in the great chieftain's glance. Lik. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I inherited two Zane Grey books from long ago but this is the first time I’ve read anything by him. I can’t speak on historical accuracy regarding the Ohio River Valley in the years after the American Revolution, but I was a bit disappointed that the library didn’t have the first book in the trilogy

Last book in the Zane Ohio River Trilogy is an essential read if you have read the other two that precede: Betty Zane and The Last trail. This edition continues with the characters introduced in the prior "episodes" most of which are supporting actors, however. Famed frontiersman and border man extr

With a spirit and tradition of stories by James Fenimore Cooper and a preamble to the works of Louis LÁmour, The Spirit of the Border by Zane Grey fits comfortably between. Grey displays a ready talent in painting a detailed picture of the westward expansion and settlement of new lands by the still

This is allegedly a historical novel about the opening of the "west". Only, we're at the end of the 18th century, and the "west" means whatever is west of Pittsburgh (well, Fort Pitt in those days). Apparently, some of the material comes from some papers Zane Grey found in his family's archives.


This was an intense book about native Americans becoming Christians and then being slain by their own people who were led by white renegades who hated Christianity. As always, Grey's writing is superb, classical, and precise. I only subtracted one star because the book didn't end like I wanted.

Spirit of the Border (1906) by Zane Grey (1872-1939) is a historical novel about the American frontier during the American War of Independence (1775 - 1783). At this time, the United States' frontier began at Fort Pitt (present-day Pittsburgh), and the Ohio River was a main artery to penetrate the

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