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The Rainbow Trail by Zane Grey, Fiction, Westerns, Historical

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Here John Sheppard is a preacher who becomes good friends with the Venters -- who always seemed haunted. Eventually, Mr. Venters reveals that he was once a horse rider for a woman named Jane Withersteen -- a rich Mormon -- and her adopted daughter Fay Larkin. However, Jane's churchmen were displeased with her association with non-Mormons -- and the evil Mormons drove them Here John Sheppard is a preacher who becomes good friends with the Venters -- who always seemed haunted. Eventually, Mr. Venters reveals that he was once a horse rider for a woman named Jane Withersteen -- a rich Mormon -- and her adopted daughter Fay Larkin. However, Jane's churchmen were displeased with her association with non-Mormons -- and the evil Mormons drove them into a narrow valley, and trapped them there. Venters had always intended on returning to the valley to search for the Jane and Fay, circumstances have prevented him from doing it. John Sheppard is fascinated by this story and wants to what he can to relieve the haunted look he sees in the eyes of Mr. and Mrs. Venters -- so he attempts to discover what happened to Jane and Fay. He discovers that Fay Larkin may still be alive -- and that her life has become the stuff of adventure, including kidnapping! And that somehow she has the strength to survive the most terrible of circumstances. . . .


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Here John Sheppard is a preacher who becomes good friends with the Venters -- who always seemed haunted. Eventually, Mr. Venters reveals that he was once a horse rider for a woman named Jane Withersteen -- a rich Mormon -- and her adopted daughter Fay Larkin. However, Jane's churchmen were displeased with her association with non-Mormons -- and the evil Mormons drove them Here John Sheppard is a preacher who becomes good friends with the Venters -- who always seemed haunted. Eventually, Mr. Venters reveals that he was once a horse rider for a woman named Jane Withersteen -- a rich Mormon -- and her adopted daughter Fay Larkin. However, Jane's churchmen were displeased with her association with non-Mormons -- and the evil Mormons drove them into a narrow valley, and trapped them there. Venters had always intended on returning to the valley to search for the Jane and Fay, circumstances have prevented him from doing it. John Sheppard is fascinated by this story and wants to what he can to relieve the haunted look he sees in the eyes of Mr. and Mrs. Venters -- so he attempts to discover what happened to Jane and Fay. He discovers that Fay Larkin may still be alive -- and that her life has become the stuff of adventure, including kidnapping! And that somehow she has the strength to survive the most terrible of circumstances. . . .

30 review for The Rainbow Trail by Zane Grey, Fiction, Westerns, Historical

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    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 describes like he is there, so that you could picture the cinematic version of the story. There wasn’t as much going on in this one compared to “Riders of the Purple Sage”, and multiple bad guys exit with 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 describes like he is there, so that you could picture the cinematic version of the story. There wasn’t as much going on in this one compared to “Riders of the Purple Sage”, and multiple bad guys exit with but a whimper. But Grey didn’t seem to be adding words unnecessarily, and the ending was surprisingly drawn out, instead of cut short like some other older Westerns that I’ve read – presumably because a word count was reached. I am looking forward to reading more.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Koen

    Rosy clouds in their magnificent splendor, majestic mountains in pale moonlight or wafts of morning mist ... that sort of embellishment is pasted all over his paragraphs - a dollop of repetitious, utterly boring, semi-poetic, adolescent, three-penny-novel goo. Girlie stuff. Yuck.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This is the (much anticipated by me) sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage, but set about sixteen years in the future and following (mostly) a different set of characters. Having escaped Utah and those pesky Mormons in the first book, Vinters and Bess befriend our main character and tell him about the hidden valley Lassiter, Jane, and Fay are trapped in. Our main character, for reasons of his own, goes in search of the hidden valley with thoughts of rescuing Fay like a knight in shining armour. Th This is the (much anticipated by me) sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage, but set about sixteen years in the future and following (mostly) a different set of characters. Having escaped Utah and those pesky Mormons in the first book, Vinters and Bess befriend our main character and tell him about the hidden valley Lassiter, Jane, and Fay are trapped in. Our main character, for reasons of his own, goes in search of the hidden valley with thoughts of rescuing Fay like a knight in shining armour. This book follows his journey across the desert lands of the USA during his search. This story had a different feel to it than Riders of the Purple Sage. It was still an adventure, but this one was more about the friendships made along the way and the air of mystery regarding Surprise Valley. I enjoyed it, even if I didn't quite like the main character full heartedly. Zane Grey writes a complex characters with a troubled past really well, but I think he really missed the mark with John Shefford. The adventure he was on to find the valley was as much to rescue Fay (and company) as well as to "find himself" after he was run out of his hometown for refusing to be a preacher. He lacked the inner turmoil the author's main characters usually have. And I really didn't understand a lot of the motives behind his actions/choices in the book - he seemed a blunderer most of the times, content to let his friends further the plot. For a man happy to tote a gun and shoot bandits who try to steal from his employer, he really had a huge issue protecting Fay from someone who meant her real harm because he didn't want to commit murder. It made no sense to me. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the other characters in this book. Fay especially was a delight! Strong, both physically and mentally. And the real heroes of the stories were the Indian and the Mormon. The overall mystery about what happened in Surprise Valley with Jane, Lassiter, and Fay was wrapped up nicely. The epilogue made my eyes water - it was so sweet with the horses and everything.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 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 ,their "adopted" daughter .Stuck in Surprise Valley for 12 long years!Strangely Shefford falls in love with Fay ,without ever seeing her.He needs someone to love.Arriving in Arizona, John encounters an Ind 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 ,their "adopted" daughter .Stuck in Surprise Valley for 12 long years!Strangely Shefford falls in love with Fay ,without ever seeing her.He needs someone to love.Arriving in Arizona, John encounters an Indian girl being attacked, by a missionary ,in a trading post.Shefford rescues her,this makes him a brother to her brother!This Navajo ,Nas Ta Bega, teaches the tenderfoot the ways of the West and saves the paleface's life, several times. John continues searching for the valley without success. But by good fortune, Shefford finds Fay ,under a different name ,in a secluded village of sealed wives. She shows him the hidden vale in Utah and rescues her "parents " and a big bag of gold, also.A problem arises, when he makes an enemy with Shaun, the Indian outlaw. Running away from Shaun's gang,after a puzzling killing, his friend Nas Ta Bega shows Shefford ,The Rainbow Bridge.A natural rock formation ,in a remote area.The highlight in the novel, is a trip down the Colorado River's treacherous rapids ,with his new friends.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ralph

    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 even when the characters and their actions take center stage, they have been changed through their experiences in the "crucible of the desert." Zane Grey wrote of the land through which he traveled and 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 even when the characters and their actions take center stage, they have been changed through their experiences in the "crucible of the desert." Zane Grey wrote of the land through which he traveled and the people he met. Though much of the characterization is out of step with modern expectations and sensibilities, there is yet a strong sense of verisimilitude to them. The characters tend to fall into three categories -- Mormons, Gentiles (any white who is not Mormon), and Indians, and among those three groups we have characters who range from very noble and self-sacrificing to extremely evil and destructive. John Shefford has come from the East, wide-eyed and naive, and very quickly discovers that the sensibilities of his cultivated upbringing are definite detriments to his survival in the Canyon Country of the West. Having heard the story of Lassiter, one of the protagonists in Riders of the Purple Sage, he is searching for the man, as well as young Fay Larkin. That search exposes him to experiences that burn away the chaff of his former life and reveal his true character, teaching him the meaning of truth, friendship, loyalty, honor and love, traits he thought he understood, but really did not. This is an extremely enjoyable book, and those who come to it expecting nothing more than a standard Western or "horse opera" will be pleasantly surprised.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elinor

    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, but an entire village of beautiful young "sealed" wives (not legal wives, but plural wives sealed by God) are hidden in the mountains, and visited in the dead of night by gray-bearded elders. Yuck! The her 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, but an entire village of beautiful young "sealed" wives (not legal wives, but plural wives sealed by God) are hidden in the mountains, and visited in the dead of night by gray-bearded elders. Yuck! The hero has to save one of them, a character from the first book, in a hair-raising escape, aided by a good guy Mormon and a noble indigenous brave who is the real hero of this novel, in my opinion. The action moves along smartly, and the landscape descriptions are wonderful.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Once in awhile you come upon a book or books that speaks to you on a different level then all of the others and that is what "The Riders of the Purple Sage" and "The Rainbow Trail" have done to me. The descriptions of the vastness and beauty of the American West along with its history and romance told by a true artist is a combination that is hard to recover from. I will need a day or so to absorb all of this before I can let go and begin another book. Zane Grey was a true artist and a must read Once in awhile you come upon a book or books that speaks to you on a different level then all of the others and that is what "The Riders of the Purple Sage" and "The Rainbow Trail" have done to me. The descriptions of the vastness and beauty of the American West along with its history and romance told by a true artist is a combination that is hard to recover from. I will need a day or so to absorb all of this before I can let go and begin another book. Zane Grey was a true artist and a must read for lovers of the written word.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    What a lovely continuation to Riders of The Purple Sage. A disgraced minister heads to the desert to find himself and a girl named Fay Larkin that in his mind will be his salvation. In that beautiful desert, he finds love, loyalty, friendship and himself. The friendship between Shefford and Nas Ta Bega alone made the story a five star read. Again, I love a good bromance. I was a little upset by how queasy Shefford was over Fay killing Waggoneer, but it all righted itself. Jane's horse still knowing What a lovely continuation to Riders of The Purple Sage. A disgraced minister heads to the desert to find himself and a girl named Fay Larkin that in his mind will be his salvation. In that beautiful desert, he finds love, loyalty, friendship and himself. The friendship between Shefford and Nas Ta Bega alone made the story a five star read. Again, I love a good bromance. I was a little upset by how queasy Shefford was over Fay killing Waggoneer, but it all righted itself. Jane's horse still knowing her was a lovely sentimental touch.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Cretacci

    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 stick closer than a brother. Mormons, secret wives, the vanishing Navajo Nation and action add to the interest of this story. The book was written in 1915 by Zane Grey who is considered the father of the west 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 stick closer than a brother. Mormons, secret wives, the vanishing Navajo Nation and action add to the interest of this story. The book was written in 1915 by Zane Grey who is considered the father of the western stories. A good read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    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 from outside. He is enthralled with the idea that he might find that canyon and bring the girl and her family back out into the world. He heads out West and, without any experience, journeys into the unfor 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 from outside. He is enthralled with the idea that he might find that canyon and bring the girl and her family back out into the world. He heads out West and, without any experience, journeys into the unforgiving desert to fulfill this quest. He links up with a wise Indian chief who had been kidnapped as a child, with friendly traders, and an unconventional Mormon. Fight scenes, chase scenes, gun battles, plus treacherous horse and burro treks abound. Beautiful descriptions of the wild desert and Grand Canyon River. Includes a concept I had never heard about among the Mormons, called "sealed wives," where "secondary" wives and their children were all hustled into a hidden village outside of Utah, and visited by their "husbands" occasionally overnight. Very sad, if it was true. Originally published in 1915, I listened to this book as a free download from LibriVox.org, read by a superb reader.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Robert

    Not as beautiful and thoroughly delectable a work as Riders of the Purple Sage. But notwithstanding this, The Rainbow Trail is still well worth a read; for Zane Grey’s beautiful prose and - whilst not as powerful and haunting as the endless sage slopes of its prequel - the beautiful imagery, which seems to be a fairly unique trademark of his. Some of the places in his books stick with me as though they were real places that I have visited. This is certainly no mean feat, and something which no o Not as beautiful and thoroughly delectable a work as Riders of the Purple Sage. But notwithstanding this, The Rainbow Trail is still well worth a read; for Zane Grey’s beautiful prose and - whilst not as powerful and haunting as the endless sage slopes of its prequel - the beautiful imagery, which seems to be a fairly unique trademark of his. Some of the places in his books stick with me as though they were real places that I have visited. This is certainly no mean feat, and something which no other author that I have read has been able to pull off. The only downside to this is that I sometimes feel that Grey, perhaps exulting and delighting in his remarkable ability in this area, sometimes goes overboard in describing every landscape down to smallest little detail which can make his novels feel a little slow in places.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gingerspice Obrien

    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. I was hoping for at least one good gunfight where he could shine. I thought Fay Larkin was portrayed well, (wished she had really done the deed). Jane Withersteen was portrayed as just a shadow of her f 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. I was hoping for at least one good gunfight where he could shine. I thought Fay Larkin was portrayed well, (wished she had really done the deed). Jane Withersteen was portrayed as just a shadow of her former self. I thought the new generation of Mormons and the exploited Indians were also well protrayed.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    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 was better this time! I was so happy that Lassiter and Jane got out, and so glad the Mormon religion has changed their practices of "sealed wives". Horrible. I think Zane liked the Mormons, but hated some 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 was better this time! I was so happy that Lassiter and Jane got out, and so glad the Mormon religion has changed their practices of "sealed wives". Horrible. I think Zane liked the Mormons, but hated some of their ways.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Betty

    I loved this book. I was so fascinated by the author's descriptions that our next trip was planned around this exciting landmark in Northern Arizona. We took a boat trip on Lake Powell and hiked from the landing to the site of this natural bridge. The story itself was fascinating, being the culmination years after the end of "Rider's of the Purple Sage." It had a mysterious quality to the story. I could read these two books time and again. I loved this book. I was so fascinated by the author's descriptions that our next trip was planned around this exciting landmark in Northern Arizona. We took a boat trip on Lake Powell and hiked from the landing to the site of this natural bridge. The story itself was fascinating, being the culmination years after the end of "Rider's of the Purple Sage." It had a mysterious quality to the story. I could read these two books time and again.

  15. 5 out of 5

    reta durbin

    Yesteryears reading, revived! Picturesque, soul searching, romantic, mysterious, educational, enlightening, fascinating plot that kept me reading for several hours, and hating to lay it down even when I knew I must!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jen Hirt

    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 custom Hopi paintings done right on the wall). His grave nearby is quiet, mixed in with resting spots of Revolutionary War fatalities (the Minisink Battleground, just down the road). The museum is free, a 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 custom Hopi paintings done right on the wall). His grave nearby is quiet, mixed in with resting spots of Revolutionary War fatalities (the Minisink Battleground, just down the road). The museum is free, and the delightful young park ranger told us that she reads up on Grey every summer so she can be helpful. Good job, young people of today! But those three things were, I think, better than this book. It should be called The Black and White Trail instead, because all the villains and good guys (and gals) are portrayed in very black and white, stereotypical terms. There are the Good Mormons and the Bad Mormons and the Very Bad Mormons. There are good Navajo and bad mixed breeds. There are valleys and trails and sage, etc etc etc. All the women are helpless. The dialogue is particularly hard to stomach in 2014 (the Navajo say "How.") I skimmed it, got to the part that resolved the cliffhanger, enjoyed those few pages, and called it quits. The single redeeming sentence is on page 138 of my edition, and it is a wonderful idiom that I want to research: Withers is talking to Shefford about Waggoner, and Withers describes Waggoner like this: "They don't call him elder or bishop. But I bet he's some pumpkins. He never had any use for me or any Gentile." It's the phrase "he's some pumpkins" that delights me, and I thank Zane Grey for it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    This sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage, is another classic western romance/adventure. A massive landslide has opened up Surprise Valley where Jane Withersteen, Jim Lassiter and young Fay Larkin were locked up for more than a decade. A cruel Mormon has coerced Fay into becoming a secondary wife by threatening Jane and Jim. But we have a new protagonist to the rescue, John Shefford, who failed as a minister in Illinois, lost his faith and has now come west chasing a vision of Surprise Valley. Be This sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage, is another classic western romance/adventure. A massive landslide has opened up Surprise Valley where Jane Withersteen, Jim Lassiter and young Fay Larkin were locked up for more than a decade. A cruel Mormon has coerced Fay into becoming a secondary wife by threatening Jane and Jim. But we have a new protagonist to the rescue, John Shefford, who failed as a minister in Illinois, lost his faith and has now come west chasing a vision of Surprise Valley. Bern and Bess Venters, who escaped at the end of Riders, have now settled in Illinois and they've told Shefford all about Surprise Valley and what happened there. As he follows his quest, Shefford ends up in a Mormon village where extra wives have been secreted in defiance of the law against polygamy. It takes a very long time for him to actually get to Surprise Valley. There's a whole lot of description and romantic writing, as with Riders, but some key differences. On the plus side, Shefford is a more complex character who changes over time. Although Mormons are also villains here, Zane Grey depicts a couple of them as noble human beings, willing to stand against religious authority to help Shefford. There's also a good depiction of the Navajo who adopts Shefford as his brother. On the negative side, Withersteen and Lassiter are sad cardboard cutouts and the bad guys are caricatures, pretty easily dispatched. The final scenes are the best, especially the wild raft ride.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Just finished reading the book “THE RAINBOW TRAIL” which is the sequel to “RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE, thus (BOOK 2) by ZANE GREY. I read this book while listening to the audible version narrated by JIM ROBERTS. Originally published in 1915, The Rainbow Trail is the sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage (also a Bison Book). At the end of that famous novel, a huge boulder had rolled down to shut off the entrance to Surprise Valley, leaving Lassiter, Jane Withersteen, and little Fay Larkin to a singu Just finished reading the book “THE RAINBOW TRAIL” which is the sequel to “RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE, thus (BOOK 2) by ZANE GREY. I read this book while listening to the audible version narrated by JIM ROBERTS. Originally published in 1915, The Rainbow Trail is the sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage (also a Bison Book). At the end of that famous novel, a huge boulder had rolled down to shut off the entrance to Surprise Valley, leaving Lassiter, Jane Withersteen, and little Fay Larkin to a singular fate. Twenty years later a lanky Illinois preacher named John Shefford, disillusioned with the narrow-mindedness of his congregation, appears in Arizona. At a “sealed-wife” village, where Mormons hide the practice of polygamy from the federal government, he picks up the trail of the grown-up Fay. Thus begins an exciting story of captivity, treachery, and last-minute escape. Willie and I were so excited to find that there was a sequel to “RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE”.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dianne Shaw

    The best western I have read! This rating reflects the genius of the author in writing a thoughtful, exciting, and searching story. John Shefford was a man who lost his faith in the narrow confines of Christianity and Grey did an excellent job of winding his journey to find peace in the pain of rejection around every exciting bend of the wild west in which he rode and every experience he had along the way.

  21. 4 out of 5

    David

    Sequel to "Riders of the Purple Sage", Grey clearly has issues with Mormons and presents Indians as noble, wise people. Description of the landscape is first rate. The story is melodramatic. Sequel to "Riders of the Purple Sage", Grey clearly has issues with Mormons and presents Indians as noble, wise people. Description of the landscape is first rate. The story is melodramatic.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sean Cozart

    This is my first Zane Grey read and undoubtingly my last. Classic Western author they said. Unless you mean a classic Western contains raping, bigotry, racism, predictable, flora and fauna knowledge lacking, and character development unheard of in most characters. Basic plot summary, this is a sequel to a gunfighter who 'saved' a woman and a young child from marrying a 'Mormon' polygamist. He did sonby trapping himself and the women in a valley, so no one can go in or out. Sixteen or so years lat This is my first Zane Grey read and undoubtingly my last. Classic Western author they said. Unless you mean a classic Western contains raping, bigotry, racism, predictable, flora and fauna knowledge lacking, and character development unheard of in most characters. Basic plot summary, this is a sequel to a gunfighter who 'saved' a woman and a young child from marrying a 'Mormon' polygamist. He did sonby trapping himself and the women in a valley, so no one can go in or out. Sixteen or so years later, John Shefford vows to rescue them and perhaps the young girl Fay Larkin will fall in love with him. Grey showed extreme hatred and bigotry to Mormons (in reality they're the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) as he wrote line upon line of their 'misdeeds' to women and those who disagree with their beliefs. Here's a few words from the book that are downright nauseating. "The first Mormon said God spoke to him and told him to go to a certain place and dig. He went there and found the Book of Mormon. It said follow me, marry many wives, go into the desert and multiply, send your sons out into the world and bring us your women, many young women. And when the first Mormon became strong with many followers he said again: Give to me in part of your labor--of your cattle and sheep--of your silver--that I may build me great cathedrals for you to worship in. And I will commune with God and make it right and good that you have more wives. That is what bishop preached. That is Mormonism... That is not religion. He has no God but himself." Jeez, who told the author this. They went West because masked mobs were slaughtering them! And the reason they practiced polygamy for a short time was because there was so many widows because they were being killed. And the law didn't care. That's only a piece of the unbelievable paragraphs he wrote. I mean, the first chapter was Shefford saving a Navajo girl from being raped by a 'missionary'. Seriously? Later in the book, Shefford starts in a hidden village of 'extra' wives. And since polygamy was illegal, the polygamist men would visit their wives only occasionally and at night, usually to have sex. They were often masked too. If that were true among the religion, why are masks so scrutinized at their activities? Because they were slaughtered by masked mobs! Other quotes and inaccuracies include, "They (Mormon polygamists) are filthy pigs." The women always wore hoods that hid their face like they were Muslims or Nuns. Hire gangs to dive out those who disagree. Character development was lacking as well. Shefford, the main character did experience a character improvement until two-thirds thru the book because he's daydreaming half the time of the legend told to him and woman who'd beauty exceeds all. I mean seriously, the Navajo Nas Ta Bega had more development and had the same facial expressions throughout the story and only said one or two lines at a time. Once again I state that it was incredibly predictable. Mary is Fay, wow, what a shocker, didn't see that one coming. Ruth was one of Waggoner's wives. What?!? Double whammy. Wait, Nas Ta Bega killed Waggoner? Jeez, they call that quality writing. As you can see, I was incredibly distraught with this book and any chances of me reading another Zane Gray book is zero. If he wasn't so bigoted and used outlaws instead of Mormons, this book could've easily been a solid four stars. As for me, I think I'll veer away Grey's works and read REAL classic Westerns like Louis L'Amour.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Carrabis

    I had some challenges with this book until I got to maybe 10-15 pages from the end. Gray writes in his opening that The Rainbow Trail isn’t a sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage (a tremendous book and a must read). Same location, references the same characters, makes use of Sage’s storyline, ... Are you sure this isn’t a sequel? There book also “suffered” from many expository lumps; long descriptions of the location, long descriptions of the character’s internal conflicts, lengthy soliloquies I had some challenges with this book until I got to maybe 10-15 pages from the end. Gray writes in his opening that The Rainbow Trail isn’t a sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage (a tremendous book and a must read). Same location, references the same characters, makes use of Sage’s storyline, ... Are you sure this isn’t a sequel? There book also “suffered” from many expository lumps; long descriptions of the location, long descriptions of the character’s internal conflicts, lengthy soliloquies by some characters, what appears to be an apologetic to Native Americans in general and Navajo specifically, ... I couldn’t understand what Gray was doing. Did he have unfinished story arcs and threw them in here? I found myself skimming parts of the book but kept on reading. It had to get better, yes? That’s when I hit the middle of the second to last chapter, right before the epilogue, and pulled a full stop. Dawn breaks on Marble Head. The events of those last 10-15 pages turn the whole story around. Gray’s correct, The Rainbow Trail is not a sequel. Also, it’s a western after the fact (my opinion). Gray wrote a westernized “Hero’s Journey” ala Joseph Campbell. Once that locked in - and I admit (in retrospect) I suspected the book was more than a “western” about halfway through, just didn’t recognize what it was - everything made sense; the Helpers, GateKeepers, Guardians, Challenge, Boon, wow, what a book! If nothing else, you have to read the whitewater scene at the end of the book. It’s the template that every other whitewater scene - movie or print - is based on. Incredible.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Geoffrey Benn

    “The Rainbow Trial,” by Zane Grey, is the sequel to the author’s most famous work, “The Riders of the Purple Sage.” The action picks up ten years after the events of the first book and follows John Shefford, a defrocked minister who heard the story of Jane Withersteen and Lassiter (presumed to still be trapped in Surprise Valley) and journeys west to find them and Jane’s adopted daughter Fay Larkin. Shefford is able to locate Fay in a secret village of Mormon “sealed wives” and must sneak her aw “The Rainbow Trial,” by Zane Grey, is the sequel to the author’s most famous work, “The Riders of the Purple Sage.” The action picks up ten years after the events of the first book and follows John Shefford, a defrocked minister who heard the story of Jane Withersteen and Lassiter (presumed to still be trapped in Surprise Valley) and journeys west to find them and Jane’s adopted daughter Fay Larkin. Shefford is able to locate Fay in a secret village of Mormon “sealed wives” and must sneak her away and then go find Surprise Valley to rescue Jane and Lassiter. While the action and characters are satisfying, the best thing about “The Rainbow Trail” are its incredible descriptions of the Utah canyons – especially a long passage describing a wild boat trip down a canyon to the rainbow bridge. These sections are wonderfully done and reminded me of some of Edward Abbey’s writings. I would strongly recommend “The Rainbow Trail” to anyone who enjoyed “Riders of the Purple Sage.”

  25. 4 out of 5

    David Zimmerman

    Riders of the Purple sage is considered the best work of Zane Grey. However, it was incomplete, begging for a sequel to finish the story. The Rainbow Trail was written for that purpose, and while it neatly ties up all the loose ends, the author became lost in a romance that I suspect few have cared about as much as he did. As a consequence, much of the story crawls through stark canyons of unnecessary musings and dialogue, that meander somewhere between chick lit and and a satisfying western sto Riders of the Purple sage is considered the best work of Zane Grey. However, it was incomplete, begging for a sequel to finish the story. The Rainbow Trail was written for that purpose, and while it neatly ties up all the loose ends, the author became lost in a romance that I suspect few have cared about as much as he did. As a consequence, much of the story crawls through stark canyons of unnecessary musings and dialogue, that meander somewhere between chick lit and and a satisfying western story. Over a decade has passed since I last read Riders of the Purple Sage, and I enjoyed every minute invested rereading it. Rereading The Rainbow Trail was painfully laborious, only serving to remind me of how forgettable 80% of the story is. My recommendation is to read Riders, enjoy the story, and then accept the fact that sometimes it’s just better to ride off into the sunset, and never look back.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mike Slusher

    An improvement over Riders of the Purple Sage, but it does share many of the same flaws that were prevalent in its predecessor. There's at least a tiny bit of "on screen" action in this book with Shefford defending an Indian girl against a missionary and later firing a shot (but missing) at a group of outlaws chasing him and his group. Just like the original story though there are paragraph after paragraph of setting descriptions and the big reveal is telegraphed and came as no surprise at all. An improvement over Riders of the Purple Sage, but it does share many of the same flaws that were prevalent in its predecessor. There's at least a tiny bit of "on screen" action in this book with Shefford defending an Indian girl against a missionary and later firing a shot (but missing) at a group of outlaws chasing him and his group. Just like the original story though there are paragraph after paragraph of setting descriptions and the big reveal is telegraphed and came as no surprise at all. Shefford is more likeable than Jane Withersteen from "Riders," but still seems a bit cowardly and the fact that he feels conflict and seems to lose his love for his future wife when he thinks she killed her kidnapper and rapist is pretty despicable.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Brooke

    As with ‘Riders of the Purple Sage,’ to which ‘The Rainbow Trail’ is a sequel, this is a tale more of escaping than defeating. Not only escaping the real physical dangers encountered but our protagonist escaping the baggage of his past, ‘finding himself’ at last. The ‘rainbow trail’ is a symbol of that journey, from despair to faith. The story line gets a bit murky at time, almost losing its way. There are subplots that seem rather aimless. I suppose they are meant more to flesh out the setting t As with ‘Riders of the Purple Sage,’ to which ‘The Rainbow Trail’ is a sequel, this is a tale more of escaping than defeating. Not only escaping the real physical dangers encountered but our protagonist escaping the baggage of his past, ‘finding himself’ at last. The ‘rainbow trail’ is a symbol of that journey, from despair to faith. The story line gets a bit murky at time, almost losing its way. There are subplots that seem rather aimless. I suppose they are meant more to flesh out the setting than anything else. The setting is where Grey does come into his own. He does do the description thing well, the beauty of the landscape and all that. There’s also more of it than necessary. As a story, it is no more than moderately satisfying; its further pretensions at depth are less so. It’s a novel I am inclined to just barely recommend. It’s not the worst way to entertain oneself for a few hours.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gerald Matzke

    In thinking about this book, the first thing that came to mind was that the author must have been paid by the word. It seemed to be a long story. The main character got himself into all kinds of difficult situations but somehow found a way to keep to his goal of finding a girl he had only heard about from a friend. This book is a follow up to a previous story by Zane Grey that had some open ended circumstances. Just about any trial and tribulation that could be associated with the Old West can b In thinking about this book, the first thing that came to mind was that the author must have been paid by the word. It seemed to be a long story. The main character got himself into all kinds of difficult situations but somehow found a way to keep to his goal of finding a girl he had only heard about from a friend. This book is a follow up to a previous story by Zane Grey that had some open ended circumstances. Just about any trial and tribulation that could be associated with the Old West can be found in this novel. What slowed things down a bit were the mental gymnastics that challenged the main character in his times of loneliness. In the end this was an interesting look at the hard life in the wilderness of the west in the days when you had to count on your friends as you watched your back at every corner.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dav

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Rainbow Tail / The Desert Crucible • by Zane Grey (Riders . . . Book #2) Published November 3rd 2006 by Hard Press (first published 1915). John Shefford at age 24 has been removed as preacher over doctrinal disagreements with his church. Providentially he meets Bern and Bess Venters, a wealthy equestrian family of three, who relay to him a fantastic tale. 12 years ago Bess was saved from a life among outlaws, after being abducted by Mormons as a child. Still trapped in that high desert canyon The Rainbow Tail / The Desert Crucible • by Zane Grey (Riders . . . Book #2) Published November 3rd 2006 by Hard Press (first published 1915). John Shefford at age 24 has been removed as preacher over doctrinal disagreements with his church. Providentially he meets Bern and Bess Venters, a wealthy equestrian family of three, who relay to him a fantastic tale. 12 years ago Bess was saved from a life among outlaws, after being abducted by Mormons as a child. Still trapped in that high desert canyon is a young girl, Fay Larkin and her guardians, Jane and Lassiter (Riders of the Purple Sage). Bern is distressed he's never been able to return and see to their well-being. Shefford volunteers to go, since he's no longer obligated to the clergy and has plenty of money for an extended trip. He is also haunted at the thought of Fay Larkin. She would now be a young woman (about 18); his own damsel that he could rescue from a perilous life of imprisonment. Fay Larkin. She calls to him, he dreams of her. He is irresistibly drawn to find her. Traveling the desert and the peaked border of Arizona and Utah, Shefford arrives in a hostile, arid world he's unprepared for and has no inkling of the perils that await him. Providentially he punches a missionary grappling with a young Indian girl and wins the loyalty of her brother. Nas Ta Bega now calls Shefford, brother. He teaches Shefford how to stay alive, saves his life numerous times and identifies Fay Larkin for him. She's been freed from the enclosed valley, but is now imprisoned in a secret Mormon village. Up to this point the story is great and intriguing. Then it starts to lag as Shefford goes through an infatuation with Mary (aka Fay) who's told him that Fay has died. Mary goes about her life as a prisoner-wife in the Mormon village and is visited at night by her polygamist captor (likely the sufferance of Stockholm syndrome). Once the Indian reveals her to be Fay, they engage in tortured dialogue; Fay's acquiescence with her situation and Shefford who dares not hear the name of her master, fearing he might kill him before he mounts a rescue; and similar unbelievably boring nonsense. Years after Lassiter, Jane and her foster daughter, Fay were sealed in the lush Surprise Valley, the deplorable Mormons returned. They just won't leave them alone. The Mormons used ropes to descend inside the valley and abduct Fay, now a young woman. She's coerced to go with them and "marry" the Mormon leader or they'll kill Lassiter and leave Jane sealed in the valley alone. With the US government's laws against polygamy the Mormons are hiding their evil practice of kidnapping non-mormon girls, like Fay and forcing them to serve as additional wives/mothers. The girls (sealed wives) are kept in secluded villages, where the men "visit" them occasionally. Becoming such a wife is simply kidnapping, imprisonment and rape then forced motherhood and submission to Mormon patriarchal law. Waggoner's body is found stabbed outside Fay's secret-village home. She's suspected of doing it and is held in Mormon custody, awaiting the arrival of the elders from Stonebridge. This makes the rescue and escape an immediate priority. Waggoner was a wealthy, influential Mormon with many wives and many dozens of children. He's also the disgusting old goat who wore a mask during the abduction of Fay from Surprise Valley and the one who visits her at night. Mary, another young wife of the lecherous goat, helps Fay escape. Fay guides Shefford and Nas Ta Bega to Surprise Valley where they rescue Lassiter and Jane, and the gold they've collected all these years. We also learn it was the Indian who killed Waggoner, because he assaulted Fay. They are soon pursued by Shadd, an outlaw employed by the Mormons. A lucky shot sends Shadd and his gang off a cliff, but soon the fugitives are battling the Colorado in a flat bottom boat. Eventually they reach Presbrey's Trading Post at Willow Springs and Presbrey takes them by wagon out of the area and back to civilization. The story ends with the whole group (Bern, Bess, Shefford, Fay, Lassiter and Jane) visiting Jane's aging horses at Venters' pasture in Illinois. A charming ending, with Sheffard having saved his damsel and future wife, Fay. The story promotes Native American spiritualism over Western Christianity and goes through the typical condemnation of European influence. There's beautiful writing at times; an enjoyable story, even with the exposure of deplorable, Mormon, fundamentalist practices in the 1800s. Mostly loved it. Description - The Desert Crucible: Perhaps no novel of the West is more famous or popular than Zane Grey's classic Riders of the Purple Sage. From the start, the novel was a sensation and the public immediately began clamoring for a sequel. Though a sequel did indeed follow just a few years later, it has never been available in the complete form that Grey himself intended. Instead, an abbreviated and dramatically censored version was released under the title The Rainbow Trail. Finally, after nearly ninety years, the sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage has been restored from Grey's original manuscript, the missing and censored material has been reinserted, and the novel has been published under Grey's original title, The Desert Crucible. At last fans can read the story of Lassiter, Jane Withersteen, and young Fay Larkin, exactly as Zane Grey intended.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sanchez

    I read on the book jacket that readers of Riders of the Purple Sage wondered what happened to Jane and Lassiter. I wasn't one of them as I didn't care for their characters in that book but as I read this book I wondered as well. This book ties in what happens to them through the character of Shefford. I enjoyed Shefford's easy going nature and how occasionally his anger got the better of him. The chase seen at the end was great as it fit with something that falls within the skill level of Sheffo I read on the book jacket that readers of Riders of the Purple Sage wondered what happened to Jane and Lassiter. I wasn't one of them as I didn't care for their characters in that book but as I read this book I wondered as well. This book ties in what happens to them through the character of Shefford. I enjoyed Shefford's easy going nature and how occasionally his anger got the better of him. The chase seen at the end was great as it fit with something that falls within the skill level of Shefford (ie; nothing that required an elaborate action scene).

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