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Editor reviews

Stoic cowboys, villainous gamblers, and kindhearted damsels are some of the Wild West archetypes that originated in Owen Wister’s 1902 novel, The Virginian, which has been adapted into TV and film by several directors, including Cecil B. DeMille.

The Virginian is a lanky cowboy working at a ranch in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. Throughout the story he clashes with the crooked Trampas and romances a lovely schoolteacher, Molly Stark Wood. Wister’s story depicts the harshness of the western frontier in elegant, slightly formal language.

Jack Garrett does justice to the book’s Wild West setting with his gravelly drawl and a range of character voices.

Summary

Originally published in 1902, Owen Wister’s The Virginian pre-dates the classic novels of Zane Grey and Max Brand and is considered by many to be the original Western. Dedicated to Wister’s friend and fellow outdoorsman Theodore Roosevelt, this timeless tale almost single-handedly established the cowboy archetype in literature. A quiet, noble foreman of a Wyoming cattle ranch in the 1870s, the Virginian falls for pretty schoolteacher Molly Wood. But when a rival suitor challenges his honor, the Virginian struggles to make his beloved Molly understand the harsh justice of the West.

©2006 George Vecsey (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC

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  • Overall
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  • Chiwiz
  • 04-09-12

What a Stunning Surprise this novel is!

A dear friend recommended that I listen to this book. She said that a professor of American literature, when asked what one book, written by a North American author, would he recommend reading above all others, said, "The Virginian." I was amazed. I would have bet on Mark Twain or Poe or Faulkner. My recollection of The Virginian was of a TV series in the 1960s. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a pleasure and delight all the way through. Why is Owen Wister not more well known than Mark Twain? Twain's "Roughing It" is one of my favorite novels of the west but "The Virginian" so outshines Twain in sheer storytelling that it makes the old master look like a copycat. This is not your dime-store, two-dimensional shoot-em-up western. Beautifully written, characters that lift off the page, a well told engrossing story, AND great literature to boot. Mark Twain move over.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Patrick Jennings
  • 09-11-17

Fantastic old-time Western

After visiting Winthrop, WA, where Owen Wister took his wife on their honeymoon, I was compelled to read this novel. The characters are wonderfully developed. The country side is beautifully described. The plot follows what is now a well-recognized pattern, but is still very entertaining. This book set a very high standard for authors of Westerns. I am very glad I listened to it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew Stone
  • 26-07-14

Now My Favorite Western

Any additional comments?


A Powerful romance.

A lot is lost in understanding due to the culture shift of language and understanding of how people spoke at this time (1902) and just understanding every day environment of horses, ranches, terms of the day.

My grandfather lived 1884 to 1984 and spoke the same way. I watch "The Virginian" TV shows with my grandfather & family... Picked this book up quite randomly... Such a gem of a book.

I also highly recommend the following books:
Lonesome Dove
Old Yeller - YOu'll cry when your read this one....
Shane

Note: Shane and Old Yeller are great for younger readers in that they are short books.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicholas
  • 21-03-17

My first full length audio book, I loved it!

This is actually a boo that's assigned for Wyoming history in school! I did not have time for turning pages as I am a full time employee and a father of 3... I truly enjoyed this book, I listened to it in 24 hrs! if you are into the old West, this book is for you!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bebe
  • 05-03-13

Really good book!

I've been listening to some classics interspersed with other books recently. This one was available at a special low price so I picked it up. Boy, have I been surprised! It has a good story and the narration is one of the best I've heard.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Kevin A Bacon
  • 06-06-18

Most Excellent

As complete a western as one could desire to heat. Rich, authentic and complex in dialogue.

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  • velb
  • 29-05-18

Beautiful Classic

Written in an old-fashioned style, this rambling story nevertheless kept me interested in the love and violence of the western frontier. Who cares it it's unrealistically romanticized?

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  • Garren Forth
  • 12-05-18

Great story!

I've watched the TV series and saw the movie, but still thoroughly enjoyed this book. I'm a sucker for Westerns. I think we miss the moral tone in modern entertainment.

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  • J. Goodson
  • 18-01-17

BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN

I enjoyed this book so much, I listened to it twice, with just one book in between. The prose was wonderful, and the listener is drawn so completely into the story that it's very hard to put it down. It's not an action-packed Western, but it is a beautiful love story that takes place in the late 1880's when the West was still pretty lawless. I highly recommend this book.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Greg Chambers
  • 03-05-18

Fantastic

What a great book, and a tremendous performance! One of the best I have ever listened to.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful