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The Virginian, A Horseman Of The Plains
by Owen Wister
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The Virginian, manly cowpuncher of the Wild West, wins the heart of a schoolteacher from Vermont. Brave, unassuming and sensitive, he saves the county from horse thieves, caters to an obsessive chicken named Emily and sweeps the young teacher off her feet with his reinterpretation of Browning. Winiarski succeeds in animating the Virginian's wit and mannerisms although his drawl is unconvincing. His female voices are smooth and natural. The reading quickly draws attention away from itself and to the details of each scene. The presentation leaves the listener with many vivid and memorable scenes, but the story loses its resonance in abridgment. E.S.B. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine
This is the classic novel of the American West, which served as a model for thousands of later novels and films.
It is a story of ranch life and cowboy living at the turn of the century. The hero of the novel, the "Virginian", the only name by which he is known, has left his native state at an early age to try his fortunes in the western country. After roughing it along the way, he settles on Judge Henry's cattle ranch in Wyoming, where the owner makes him his right-hand man. The Virginian is strikingly handsome, twetny-seven years old, and, though unversed in the ways of the world and ignorant as to book learning, he has character and personality that inspire respect from all who know him. He manages to force on a turbulent community his idea of law and order-- "getting the drop" on an enemy, vigilante committees, and lynch law.
The novel recounts his adventures, including his romantic initiation at the hands of Molly Wood, the Vermont girl who became a western school techer. And it introduces him to Trampas, the legendary villain who is the prototype of the "bad guys" of future western novels and films.
"The Virginian" has been filmed three times, most memorably with Gary Cooper, and also became a long-running television series.
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