Loosely based on the Johnson County War of 1892, a bloody clash between big landowners and small ranchers in Wyoming, Owen Wister's The Virginian
is the classic saga of a man who embodied the spirit of a growing nation--a novel that inspired five movie versions and the popular TV series.
"When you call me that, SMILE!"
He wasn't looking for fame or glory. He wasn't looking for war. The man they called the Virginian was earning his way off the land, mingling his sweat and blood on the rich Montana soil as a trusted foreman for a rich man's ranch. Somewhere along the line he made an enemy, made a choice and then made a stand. . .In the eyes of a woman, he was a man of contradictions, as violent as he could be tender. In the eyes of others, he became a hero, a man who had the courage to draw his gun and use it against his enemies--and the courage to stand for justice without it.
"Owen Wister has come pretty near to writing the American novel. It contains humor, pathos, poetic description, introspective thought, sentiment, and even tragedy." --New York Times
About the Author
Owen Wister (July 14, 1860 - July 21, 1938) was an American writer and "father" of western fiction. Wister began his literary work in 1891. He had spent several summers out in the American West, making his first trip to Wyoming in 1885. Like his friend Teddy Roosevelt, Wister was fascinated with the culture, lore and terrain of the region. On an 1893 visit to Yellowstone, Wister met the western artist Frederic Remington who remained a lifelong friend. When he started writing, he naturally inclined towards fiction set on the western frontier. Wister's most famous work remains the 1902 novel The Virginian, the loosely constructed story of a cowboy who is a natural aristocrat, set against a highly mythologized version of the Johnson County War and taking the side of the large land owners. This is widely regarded as being the first cowboy novel and was reprinted fourteen times in eight months. The book was written in the library of The Philadelphia Club, where Wister was a member, and is dedicated to Theodore Roosevelt.