The Secret Life of Zane Grey

Find us on:

RSSApple PodcastsAmazon MusicGoogle PodcastsSpotify

Show Notes

To celebrate the 150th birthday of Ohio author Zane Grey, Laura is joined by Lucas Fralick from the Wyoming Center for the Book and Don Boozer from Cleveland Public Library to discuss Grey’s novel Wyoming, which was originally published in serial form in 1932. Wyoming surrounds plucky, independent Martha Ann Dixon and abrasive Andrew Bonning, whose paths cross as Martha Ann hitchhikes her way to Wyoming.

Lucas, Don, and Laura discuss their favorite (and not-so-favorite) parts of the novel; Grey’s depiction of Wyoming; the myth and the romanticization of the West; Grey as the first millionaire American author who popularized the Western genre; Grey’s secret life and many romantic entanglements; Thomas H. Pauly’s excellent Grey biography; and how this novel was inspired by (and perhaps should be partially credited to?) Grey’s assistant, Berenice Campbell. In the process, Lucas offers his insights as a Wyoming resident, and Laura gets a bit too worked up over Andrew Bonning, whom she considers a poster child for toxic masculinity.

Lucas Fralick is the program coordinator at Wyoming Humanities, which houses the Wyoming Center for the Book. Don Boozer is the manager of the Literature Department at Cleveland Public Library and coordinator for the Ohio Center for the Book. Both the Wyoming and the Ohio Center for the Book are designated affiliates of The Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.

Books recommended in this episode:

Corrections: At several points in this episode, Laura mistakenly refers to Andrew Bonning as “Andrew Bonner.” (If he wanted people to get his name right, maybe he should have treated Martha Ann with a bit more respect. Just saying.) Laura also likely pronounced Berenice Campbell’s first name incorrectly, which she deeply regrets.

But wait, there’s more! For more details surrounding the novel and the life and adventures of Zane Grey, please read the blog post “Zane Grey: The Man, The Writer, The Podcast Subject.”



Laura Maylene Walter (00:00):
Martha Ann straight up goes to Andrew's cabin and drills in a peephole. <laugh>. It's not okay.

Don Boozer (00:06):
Yeah. Again, bold and independent. There we go.

Lucas Fralick (00:09):
In the days before social media.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:15):
Welcome to Page Count presented by the Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library. This podcast celebrates authors, illustrators, librarians, book sellers, literary advocates and readers in and from the state of Ohio. I'm your host Laura Maylene Walter, the Ohio Center for the Book Fellow and author of the Novel BODY OF STARS.

Laura Maylene Walter (00:39):
Today we're going to discuss the American Frontier, the rise and fall of a popular literary genre, women who hitchhike, secret codes devised to assist torrid love affairs, and a lot more. So, you know, just our standard run-of-the-mill everyday podcast episode. But really, we're here to discuss WYOMING, a novel by Ohio-born author Zane Grey. I'm joined by two guests today, Don Boozer, the Ohio Center for the Book Coordinator and Manager of the Literature Department at Cleveland Public Library. Hi Don, it's good to have you back on the pod.

Don Boozer (01:11):

Laura Maylene Walter (01:12):
And also Lucas Fralick, the program coordinator at Wyoming Humanities, which houses the Wyoming Center for the Book. Lucas, thanks so much for being here. You know, we're excited to partner with another Center for the Book again for the podcast. So thanks for being here.

Lucas Fralick (01:25):
Oh, yes. I'm excited to be here. Thank you for the invitation. Always like to visit Ohio virtually or in person, but in this case virtually is okay.

Laura Maylene Walter (01:34):
Well hopefully we'll have you here in person one day before long. But until then we are going to discuss the novel WYOMING. But before we dive into that, I have just some quick background information, which, first of all, we are airing this episode on what would have been Zane Grey's 150th birthday. He was born Pearl Zane Grey in Zanesville, Ohio on January 31st, 1872. He was a dentist and a baseball player before becoming a novelist, which happened in part thanks to his wife Dolly, who funded their first trips out West and who encouraged him to write. He authored more than 80 books in the course of his career, including more than 50 westerns, the genre he's most famous for and that he popularized. In the 1920s, Zane Grey was the best selling American author and one of the first millionaire authors.

Laura Maylene Walter (02:26):
At the time of his death in 1939. His publisher claimed that in sales, Zane Grey is exceeded only by the Bible and the Boy Scout handbook. I would say that for such a wildly popular author of his time, I have never honestly read a Zane Grey book. So the three of us here today have all read WYOMING. We're ready to talk about it. But Lucas, since you are joining us from the great state of Wyoming, I thought we could just start with a little bit from you. Can you share with us where you live and where you're from and what is it like in Wyoming right now?

Lucas Fralick (03:01):
Yeah, of course. Absolutely. Yeah. I live in Gillette, Wyoming, which is in the northeastern part, and as we'll talk a little bit about the book later. But Aladdin, Wyoming was mentioned a few times, and that's only an hour and a half from me, roughly, so, and Moorcroft, Wyoming was also mentioned, which I get my hair cut there, which is only 20 minutes from me. So it's very exciting. And I say that not because Gillette's a small town. I just like where you get your hair done, you know, you get your haircut in a good place, you can't beat a good haircut. So <laugh> always go back to the classics. But yes, I, uh, I live in an old feed store, largely, it's not a feed store anymore. I've converted it into a sort of a studio apartment. It doesn't have a bathroom, but that's okay.

Lucas Fralick (03:45):
I just have to leave the building to go into another part of the same building to use the commode. Otherwise, I have to leave my actual house or my bed is travel a few feet in the snow today in particular to make it here. Nevertheless, it's very comfortable, super safe. I love it. So that's kind of my background, living in Wyoming. In the summer, it's a hobby farm, so we usually grow alfalfa, so we're loading up hay bales, sometimes large round ones too, depends on our mood and how the grass is growing. But yeah, hobby farm. So there's nothing big. We don't make money, we just like doing it, just what we do.

Don Boozer (04:25):
I would be curious to hear how you became the coordinator of the Wyoming Center for the Book.

Lucas Fralick (04:30):
Oh, yes, very good question. I am a professional, yes, I do have a job besides just living off the land. <laugh> I don't know if the audio format could perceive my air quotes, but yeah, so I have a master's in history from the University of Wyoming and I got a job with Wyoming Humanities to run the museum on Main Street Program through the Smithsonian. Kind of made sense. Historian, museums, it seems to be a good fit, but one thing led to another and I got a full-time job and the State Library of Wyoming no longer had the capacity to house the Center for the Book. So they gave it to Wyoming Humanities. And because I didn't have enough to do, they said, Lucas, you're going to take this on. I said, you bet. So here I am. So less than a year later, still running the program, they haven't gotten rid of me yet, things are going strong.

Don Boozer (05:23):
All right.

Laura Maylene Walter (05:23):
What I love about this is I feel like maybe part of our conversation will be breaking down the myth of the West or stereotypes of the West. And I love that we're opening with, you had to walk through snow in your converted feed store that does not have a bathroom and that you haul hay in the summer. So we're off to a great start. I'm here for it. I love it. <laugh>.

Lucas Fralick (05:43):
Absolutely. Yeah. And I have to do that both ways in the wintertime, you understand.

Don Boozer (05:47):
Uphill, uphill, I'm sure <laugh>.

Lucas Fralick (05:49):
It's slightly inclined. Yeah.

Laura Maylene Walter (05:50):
I feel like Zane Grey would probably respect your living situation. He might not feel that way about Don and me, but anyway. We'll get to Zane Grey as the man much later. I have a lot to say, but let's talk about WYOMING. So I found in my research a famous line of criticism of Zane Grey. The source of it is unknown or uncertain, but Zane Grey himself apparently was very agitated by this. He recorded it in his diary, and it goes like this, "The substance of any two Grey books could be written upon the back of a postage stamp." So if we're if we're going by that guideline, if you had to try to summarize the plot of Wyoming for someone who is unfamiliar with it so that it would maybe fit on a postage stamp, what would you say? Who'd like to try to take a stab at that?

Don Boozer (06:39):
Girl goes out west, boy goes out west, they don't like each other, then they do <laugh>.

Lucas Fralick (06:46):

Laura Maylene Walter (06:47):
Very good.

Don Boozer (06:48):
And I think that he used that storyline a couple other places too, so. And other books, yeah, and other books are short stories. Yeah.

Laura Maylene Walter (06:53):
Yeah. He, I mean, he was so prolific and there was a time when he was making so much money that he was producing so many books because magazines were just buying them. I mean, it was common for him to publish a novel, a serialized novel, which was popular at the time, for $35,000 or $40,000 in 1920s money. I mean, it's just, as a writer myself, I cannot even imagine. And then when the Depression struck and he had financial difficulties and the publishers were clearly having financial difficulties, he was trying to write more to make money. And I know of at least one of his novels was rejected by a magazine because it was too similar to another one, so. I can imagine 80 books, you're going to have some crossover. Anyway, Lucas, is there anything else you would like to add about the the quick plot?

Lucas Fralick (07:39):
No, just that I predicted early on before I started reading that this book sounded an awful lot like a Hallmark movie, like a Hallmark Original channel movie, and I was correct. It was exactly like that.

Laura Maylene Walter (07:52):

Lucas Fralick (07:52):
Talk about cookie cutter.

Don Boozer (07:54):
I almost got the idea that I was reading in black and white. You usually, you try and visualize, you know, the scenes and things when you're reading. And I found myself thinking of like, you know, a black and white, either TV show or a black and white movie or something like that. It really evokes its time, let's say.

Laura Maylene Walter (08:08):
Yes. And so it was published originally as a serialized novel called THE YOUNG RUNAWAY in 1932. It first was published as WYOMING, the novel, in I think '53. But just to give a slightly longer than postage stamp description, it surrounds Martha Ann Dixon. We open in her point of view. She's about, I think 19, of course her family wants her to get married and have a traditional life and she does not want that. She wants adventure and freedom and to be on her own. So she lies to her beloved mother and sets off and hitchhikes alone. She takes a train to Omaha, so she hitchhikes from Omaha to Wyoming, just getting picked up by various characters along the way. On the other side, we also have the point of view of Andrew Bonner, who came from a wealthy family in New York City, who was struck by the crash and the Depression.

Laura Maylene Walter (08:58):
So his family was losing money. He's kind of cut off by his father, but don't worry, he still has some secret money that he gets. And he travels out West and encounters Martha Ann along the road. Drama ensues. And then they end up coincidentally at the same ranch in Wyoming. And it's a kind of an enemies to lovers story. That's a kind of a rough summary of it. So, one thing I thought we could do is to give our listeners an idea of what we each thought of the characters. If you had to describe each of them in just a few words, how would you describe them? We can start with Martha Ann if you'd like.

Lucas Fralick (09:34):
I would describe Martha Ann as ambitious, outgoing, and witty.

Don Boozer (09:39):
Yeah, I would agree with that. And I think the fact that she wants adventure and doesn't want a regular lifestyle and wants to, you know, sort of go out on her own. I thought it was interesting using the plot point of that she's going to visit her uncle in Wyoming. You know, she at least has a destination in mind. It's not like she's just going out and random hitchhiking, but has an actual destination in mind.

Laura Maylene Walter (09:59):
Yes, good point. She's going to secretly visit her...he's an estranged uncle. He had been estranged from the family, so she has, I don't think she's ever met him before.

Don Boozer (10:08):
No, cause I got the impression he was the adventurous one, you know, in the previous generation. And that's like, oh, it was sort of somewhat scandalous and all that sort of thing.

Laura Maylene Walter (10:15):

Don Boozer (10:16):
So I see that sort of the genetic trait sort of carried through.

Laura Maylene Walter (10:19):
Yeah. Well, as we will learn later in the book, there are limits to a woman's independence and her freedom, definitely in this time. I agree with how you described her Lucas. I would also say she was very brave and independent and also proud. I think she was very proud.

Lucas Fralick (10:34):
Oh, yeah. Proud.

Laura Maylene Walter (10:35):
Which comes into the plot. Okay. So now let's turn to the other character, Andrew Bonning. How would you describe him?

Lucas Fralick (10:42):
How does that line go? A cockeyed optimist.

Don Boozer (10:46):
<laugh>. Yeah. Yeah, I could see that he has those sort of, you know, in some ways the spoiled rich kids sort of, you know, undertone and then he tries to sort of be a more "of the West," so to speak, as the thing goes along. So.

Laura Maylene Walter (11:00):
Yeah, I had a long list of thoughts about him and I would start with, I mean, of course I'm reading this through a modern lens in 2022, but I think at any time, I would describe him as toxic, violent, judgmental, entitled, of course, privileged. Oh, and rageful. Rageful.

Don Boozer (11:17):
Don't hold back. Laura, tell us what you really think. <laugh>

Laura Maylene Walter (11:20):
Not a fan of Andrew Bonner. Not a fan.

Don Boozer (11:23):
I agree.

Laura Maylene Walter (11:23):
Not a fan.

Don Boozer (11:23):
I agree.

Laura Maylene Walter (11:24):
Yeah. So let's just talk about, was there anything about the book that really struck you? Any favorite moments or notable moments for you in the book?

Lucas Fralick (11:33):
Well, there's a few things I suppose. So first I have to say that a lot of the locations, like where Martha Ann's uncle's ranch was very accurate. Like I could probably find the area thereabouts. The only town I couldn't find was Randall, Wyoming, which if it ever did exist, it doesn't anymore. There's a Randall Avenue in Cheyenne, but there's no, no actual town of Randall. But the fact is, I thought I was kind of surprised how accurate the geography of Wyoming was. I thought, huh, well what do you know? Some of the names were a little different, but where the mountains were, everything is, that's the same. So I, I figured that was pretty good.

Don Boozer (12:09):
Is there actually a Sweetwater River?

Lucas Fralick (12:12):
Uh huh. Yeah. It's kind of like a tributary to the Green River, which is much bigger. And there's a Sweetwater County, which is where a lot of this takes place nearby. Not too far away from all that.

Laura Maylene Walter (12:22):
Yeah, Zane Grey traveled extensively and I mean, he spent a lot of time away from home. He would leave his wife and children behind, his wife by the way, really ran everything. She served as his literary agent, essentially, selling all his manuscripts, negotiating with publishers, and she was his financial manager, accountant. She ran all their finances through the really good times and the really bad times tried to reign in his spending. So she kind of ran things from home while he would spend, I mean, upwards of, I think at least seven months a year, if not more, away from home traveling with his, I would refer to them as his harem of girlfriends and secretaries, but we can get to that all that later. But <laugh>, so my guess would be, I'm sure he traveled extensively through Wyoming. So it's good to hear that it rang true to someone who is in Wyoming.

Laura Maylene Walter (13:12):
I guess we can talk about that, about how Wyoming and the West in general is perceived. I marked some lines, let me find one. Okay, so this is from Martha Ann. In her point of view, she's talking about going out west, "To make a dream come true, A dream of lovely roads and bright colored hills of dim horizons and purple ranges and at last, the longed for goal, the West." You know, that's like right on page one to kind of let us know that the west is this idyllic place. It's magical. It's where everything is different. Just the next page, "Wyoming, it was the first time she had spoken that magic word aloud, Wyoming. How sweet. It sounded what untold promised the word held."

Don Boozer (13:56):
<laugh>. We need sweeping music in here.

Laura Maylene Walter (13:57):
I know, I felt like I could hear it with some of the descriptions of the range and and everything. Lucas, what did you think about how the west was described in this book or Wyoming specifically?

Lucas Fralick (14:07):
So I really did get that impression of the West as continuing to be a place for a new beginnings to begin anew and living in Wyoming, it honestly doesn't feel that way all the time. Yeah, <laugh>, I think it's a magical place, of course. There's a reason why I still live here. There is a certain calling to it and I think Zane Grey did get that sense really well, figured out that, not so much in the beginning, but definitely once they were in Wyoming with Andrew and Martha Ann's experience is traveling to Wyoming. Once they're in Wyoming itself, the scenery and the impact that all the space, that feeling of wholeness that you get is very unique. And I'd say that that was captured very positively.

Don Boozer (14:49):
I will say the descriptions of the, the landscape and everything, I mean now I'm curious to travel more out West. I really haven't done a lot of traveling out there. So I'm like, okay, this is enticing to come out and actually see those sweeping vistas and such. Yeah.

Laura Maylene Walter (15:01):
Don, I wanted to ask if you've ever been to Wyoming?

Don Boozer (15:03):
I have not, no.

Laura Maylene Walter (15:05):
I've been a few times, but probably just the experience most people have. I know I spent a night in Cheyenne. I've think I've been to Wyoming maybe three times, but I've driven across 80 of course and stayed along the way. I've been to Yellowstone and so stopped in like Cody and those spots. But kind of the typical places you would go if you're driving through or trying to go to Yellowstone. So I haven't explored the state in full. It just feels humongous. I mean, the state just feels, it's so open and big in the mountains. I mean, it's gorgeous. It really is.

Lucas Fralick (15:36):
It's endless. Yeah. So I mean the descriptions, just were very much spot on, especially the region in which they were located. It's very unique. Wyoming's such a big state everywhere that you mentioned, Laura. Each environment's different. It's like you're in a different place every time.

Laura Maylene Walter (15:50):
So Don, you and I are both from Pennsylvania originally. If you haven't spent a lot of time out West, did you either grow up or in general have any specific conception of the West or what it was like? I'm just curious how it entered your imagination.

Don Boozer (16:06):
I think the whole idea of the West, it's definitely based on things like, you know, Western movies and western TV series and that sort of thing. I mean, I enjoy a Western movie as much as anybody else, but it's such a mythologized version of the West that I think whenever you actually go out there and see it. One of my earliest memories is a trip we took to California and we went to Knott's Berry Farm and did the stage coach tour of the Knott's Berry Farm and there was a hold up by some bandits and that sort of thing. So that sort of whole mythology of the West was ingrained in my brain, I think at like five years old.

Laura Maylene Walter (16:41):
Yeah, definitely. And I would say for me, I grew up loving and riding horses. I got that interest from my mother. She had grown up always wanting to ride horses. She loved the Lone Ranger, I believe, and Trigger the horse. She had a dog when she was a teenager named Trigger. She would talk about this when I was a kid. We would ride horses together and she would talk about how her dream would be to live out west and have a farm or a ranch and have horses and just ride under the big open sky. And so I think growing up I absorbed that where there's some part of me that maybe feels that that's my dream too. But I've been lucky enough to have traveled out west and in Montana and looking at the landscape and how beautiful it is. And I'll talk about that with my husband. Like, oh, maybe one day we could just end up out west and have horses. But then reality comes crashing in. I mean, horses are a lot of work and you can't just go take a vacation when you have horses unless you're rich enough to have full-time help. So I'm like, ugh.

Lucas Fralick (17:31):
It's pretty heavy. Yeah, my folks have horses and anytime they travel, I'm left with the responsibility of taking care of them, which is nice because my folks don't have to bring anybody in. But otherwise we have to get neighbors or someone to help out or,

Laura Maylene Walter (17:46):

Lucas Fralick (17:46):
It's a lot, especially days like today, <laugh>.

Don Boozer (17:49):
I think that's one of the thing you bring up the horses and everything. That's one of the things I think that struck me right from the very beginning about WYOMING the novel was that it was so modern, for lack of a better way of putting it. There's cars, there's movies whenever I think of the West, you know, it's always the late 1800s, you know, early 1900s and it's just horses and wagons and that sort of thing. And to have what's ostensibly a western genre novel, start out with somebody, you know, hitchhiking for cars and going to the movies and worried about the stock market and that sort of thing. It sort of took me aback whenever I first started reading him. I was like, oh, this isn't set in like, you know, 1889.

Laura Maylene Walter (18:25):
Yeah. So I think Zane Grey, and of course I can't speak to everything he's written because this is the only book of his that I've read, but he wrote a lot of contemporary westerns of the time. And so this was definitely one of them. And he was writing at a time when I suppose the West was changing, but you could see it in his characters that Andrew Bonner does not want change. Zane Grey himself really didn't want progress and change and by the time of his death, he thought the West, as he had known it was gone essentially. But you could see it in Andrew, I wrote down a line, there's one moment where he is exhibiting his famous judgmental nature, but he sees a tourist drive by and he thinks to himself, "Drive on mister, you represent what I have turned my back on. Speed, luxury, restlessness, idleness, high blood pressure, fleshpots of Egypt." And I find it interesting because Andrew Bonner is rich from New York and drove himself out there with a car he had bought and he ends up secretly having a ton of money to save Martha Ann's uncle's farm. So I just think it's funny <laugh>.

Don Boozer (19:26):
Yeah, I will say that was a little spoiler alert for everybody. That was a little, "Deus ex machina," when ever like everything's sort of like ta-da, at the end.

Laura Maylene Walter (19:33):
Yeah. Yeah. I think we're okay spoiling this book. It's almost a hundred years old.

Lucas Fralick (19:38):
<laugh> Spoiler alert indeed. Yeah.

Laura Maylene Walter (19:40):
And it was kind of, when I was reading it, I think Lucas, you described it as a Hallmark movie and it's a romance too. And of course Zane Grey, romance was a part of the West for him, both personally and in his books. I was thinking about it when I was reading, I was thinking, okay, Martha Ann and Andrew, they really despise each other, but they clearly are really attracted to each other. Obviously they're going to end up in the end. But I find it interesting because Zane Grey was also such a rugged man of the West. He wanted to preserve these things of the West and his sportsmanship and outdoorsmanship as something very manly and that men do. But really it's, it's a romance novel, you know?

Don Boozer (20:17):
It really is. Yeah, exactly. Just another form of romance novel.

Laura Maylene Walter (20:20):
I'm not disparaging romance novels, I'm just saying it's for someone who has such an attitude of being so rugged and masculine, you know, it is interesting. But I did want to talk about the gender dynamics here with Martha Ann and Andrew. You know, there was a moment in the very beginning, Martha Ann is reflecting on her attitude about men and basically she's just not interested in men physically. There's even a line that perhaps as her mother and some of of her friends claimed she was abnormal. Talking about how she doesn't really want men to touch her. She wishes like, why can't we just be friends? Why do they always have to come on to me? I felt, oh Martha Ann, I wish you were born a hundred years later so that you could just date a woman and get on with it, you know <laugh>. But did anything else strike you about Martha Ann and how she was able to move through the world or not move through the world?

Lucas Fralick (21:10):
I was surprised, yeah. When I went into reading this book, I did not anticipate a character like Martha Ann at all. I was really expecting a very more classic damsel in distress type figure, although that definitely happened, just wasn't to the degree in which I thought it would be. The lens was a bit different. So I had to put away my own biases, I suppose to read this, if I'm being honest. Some things didn't surprise me. I guess one of the things that really stood out was how safe it seemed to be. She was confronted a few times, but not as often as you would imagine.

Laura Maylene Walter (21:42):
Yeah, let's talk about that. Because she hitchhikes alone as a, she's beautiful of course, obviously she's a beautiful 19 year old, single woman, hitchhiking alone and picking up rides from men, couples. She is at one point warned not to take a ride for more than one man in the car. And of course this was sort of shocking to me. I would never do this. Which actually I wanted to ask you, have either of you hitchhike?

Lucas Fralick (22:07):
I did once when I was a kid.

Laura Maylene Walter (22:09):
Yeah, yeah. When I grow up, by the way, I was always told that, oh, it's more common to hitchhike out West. Like you just do that, you know, which I'm not sure <laugh>.

Lucas Fralick (22:18):
It only happened once. It was with my dad. So it wasn't like a total weird moment. We just broke down in Wheatland and needed a ride in a town.

Laura Maylene Walter (22:26):
Ah, yeah. I've never officially hitchhiked. The closest I came was I was 22, I was in the Redwood National Forest in California. And it's a long story, but I was walking three miles alone along the main road, um, kind of a highway. And I was fine. It's just a long story. And while I was walking that way determined to get to my destination, I would say five or six cars pulled over and offered me a ride, including just many men, single men. And I didn't take any of the rides. I was too afraid to, but I did have the sense that they were not being creepy, you know, they just thought, oh, here's a person walking, why don't I just give her a lift? And so I remember thinking I could just do it and get in the car, but I couldn't. It was only three miles. So it was fine. But Martha Ann is, she is brave. She's like hiking through the middle of nowhere. It's getting dark. I was stressed out for her.

Lucas Fralick (23:14):

Don Boozer (23:15):
<laugh> I agree. Yeah. Yeah.

Laura Maylene Walter (23:16):
I was so stressed. Now she does mention at one point she's talking to someone and they're talking about the risks of hitchhiking and she says, "Who has ever heard of a hitchhiker being killed?" It was a different time where, not that she had nothing to worry about, but you know, I would be worried about getting chopped up into little pieces. And I think the thought of being murdered was not something she was worried about.

Don Boozer (23:38):
That didn't even seem to enter her mind. I mean, it was more of like maybe assault and things like that, which actually happened in the story.

Laura Maylene Walter (23:43):
Yeah. There's like two attempted assaults against her. Including one where a man drives her down off into the woods.

Don Boozer (23:50):

Laura Maylene Walter (23:50):
And starts assaulting her and she kicks the crap out of him.

Don Boozer (23:54):
Yeah, exactly.

Laura Maylene Walter (23:54):
It was glorious.

Lucas Fralick (23:55):
It was very nice.

Don Boozer (23:56):
Exactly. That was great.

Laura Maylene Walter (23:57):
She was like overcome by rage and adrenaline and she's kicking him so hard that blood is splattering inside the car. Amazing.

Lucas Fralick (24:05):
<laugh> And then sent another group of guys to beat him up again. That was also very good.

Laura Maylene Walter (24:12):
Yes, yes. She's truly a queen. I agree. I was very surprised because I started this knowing, okay, Zane Grey was of his time. I'm not expecting him in the late 20s, early 30s to have a 2022 perception of women's rights, right? But I was surprised in the beginning how Martha Ann, she kind of eschews the traditional role of being a woman and a wife and she wants to go explore and she's doing this even at risk to herself. So I thought I was pleasantly surprised.

Don Boozer (24:41):
Now I was pleasantly surprised with that too. She was very much more independent and strong and had her own mind more than I expected in a story like this from from that time period. So.

Laura Maylene Walter (24:51):
Now with that said, the end of the book. Okay. Two things I want to mention about the end. One is for any listeners out there who really don't want to read this entire novel, you can basically get the CliffNotes version at the end when Martha Ann writes a letter to her mother recapping the whole book.

Don Boozer (25:07):
<laugh> Entire book, what was up with that?

Laura Maylene Walter (25:10):
I wonder if that was a convention of the time. Did readers like that? Maybe It was amazing. I mean, that was just something as a writer today, you just don't do. So she recaps everything. And then, you know, we have gone through this whole book where she has been independent and proud and all of this like determined to be free. There are these wonderful lines when she talks about the idea of a 20th century girl marrying to be safe, settled, taken care of, bunk, who wants to be safe? And she just talks about, isn't there a man who can understand a girl's longing to be free, to have adventures, to find herself, to be let alone? You know, she's really progressive. And then at the very end of the book, I'm just going to spoil it, she has this little monologue. Okay. "All this new modern century stuff is the bunk, women cannot be as free as men. A girl is restricted, that is, a good girl, by her sex. She has a responsibility a boy does not have. She is the mother of the race. And if the race is to progress instead of retrogress, she has to hold herself more sacred than men do." So that was really rough to read <laugh>.

Lucas Fralick (26:18):

Don Boozer (26:19):
I agree. Yeah.

Lucas Fralick (26:20):
It was such a letdown disappointment.

Don Boozer (26:23):
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I fully agree.

Laura Maylene Walter (26:25):
I have a theory about this that we can talk about. Okay, so I know Don, you looked up the case of Zane Grey's secretary at the time, Berenice Campbell. Yeah. Do you know anything about this Lucas?

Lucas Fralick (26:37):
I don't. This is new. I didn't want to spoil it. This is brand new for me.

Laura Maylene Walter (26:42):
Okay. Well I'll tell you what I uncovered in my research and we can try to guess what happened here. A really great biography of Zane Grey is called ZANE GREY: HIS LIFE, HIS ADVENTURES, HIS WOMEN. When I first saw that title, I kind of laughed, but it's perfect. I mean, yeah, exactly. That's what he was about. And it's by Thomas H. Pauly, published in 2005. Okay. So first we have to talk about Zane Grey and his women. He was married, he loved his wife by all accounts. He stayed with her until the end

Don Boozer (27:09):
And she stayed with him. That's the important part.

Laura Maylene Walter (27:11):
She stayed with him. Now she was aware of his many affairs, but we're not just talking affairs, we're talking, he would travel for months at a time with this rotating cast of women who were kind of his secretary sometimes or just his companions. And he spent his life hiding the reality, which was of course he was having affairs with all of them. The biographer discusses a completely unknown collection of photographs that I think Zane Grey himself took, that leave no question to this matter. They are explicit photographs, sexual photographs of Zane Grey with the women. He devised a secret code so they could write these letters and he would also write about his sexual exploits in a diary, in his code. So he has like a secret sex code.

Lucas Fralick (27:57):

Laura Maylene Walter (27:57):
His wife knew about most of this. I've seen some mentions that, "Oh, she knew and it was an open marriage. They were before their time." There are details in the letters that she is not happy. He sometimes will complain to her when one of his girlfriends has the nerve to get married to someone else. It's wild. I could talk about this for four hours. I've got to move on <laugh>. By the end of this book, I was getting dizzy cause we're nearing the end of his life and there's still a rotating cast of women he's falling in love with and traveling with. I mean so many, this is not just a couple affairs, this is like a pathological constant. I don't know how he had the energy.

Don Boozer (28:30):
And that really surprised me with Martha Ann Dixon too. I mean, to write such an independent minded woman and all this kind of thing. I found it interesting knowing that about him and his background in real life. It's like were those the women that he wanted to have as his companion, that sort of thing, or?

Laura Maylene Walter (28:46):
The women he traveled with, they also loved the West. They loved outdoorsmanship, they loved riding horses. They sounded like amazing women that I would want to be friends with. So they were who he spent time with, but usually his novels were the opposite, were women were more confined to normal roles. And he did seem obsessed with kind of hiding his secret life. He didn't really talk about the women in his life much, partially to keep it a secret, but partially because these were women like him out there exploring, like out there doing it in the West. And he was preserving this notion of the West as a very masculine thing. Like, this is for men. So it went against his interests to highlight these amazing, independent women who were tough and strong in doing all this stuff.

Don Boozer (29:31):
Yeah. With that, his background, go ahead and tell us the story about his uh, his secretary. Yeah.

Laura Maylene Walter (29:36):
He would often have secretaries. First, before this book, WYOMING, for 15 years, he had Mildred Smith, his lover and secretary. It sounds as if he may have taken some of her material. They collaborated on some plays together. And when one of the plays did not get picked up, he just wrote it as a novel and sold it, of course all under his byline. Now we don't have any information about how much she contributed, et cetera. She also wrote a novel called DESERTBOUND. She was getting rejected by publishers. She had a lot of rumors. People would say, "Oh, she's just with Zane Grey." She didn't find a publisher. He took that novel and rewrote it, and I don't know what that means. And then he published it for a lot of money. So flash forward, Mildred finally leaves him. He now needs a new secretary and he finds Berenice Campbell, he's not with her for very long, but she's of course young and attractive.

Laura Maylene Walter (30:29):
Again, Berenice Campbell hitchhiked to Wyoming. She spent a year hitchhiking and she kept diaries and she told Zane Grey about her experience. And according to another biography, she gave him her diaries, told him she wanted to turn it into a novel. He, in turn, apparently helped her by talking to her about how you could turn this into a novel, here's how you'd structure it. And then from the sources I can find, it says he took the material, reworked it, and he sold it to a magazine for $30,000, which would be $625,000 today. He only published under his byline. Of course. Now the interesting thing here is I think this is the only case that he had a contract with Berenice Campbell. She would get 15% of the royalties, which I find really interesting because with all his affairs, I don't think he was going around handing out royalties for no reason. He then never, I guess, never paid her. And she sued him apparently for the money that she didn't get. And it was his wife who stepped in who was very angry about this. His wife stepped in and renegotiated, so that in the future, Berenice got 5% of the royalties and a car. So that was all she got.

Don Boozer (31:45):
And a typewriter. I think it was a typewriter, too.

Laura Maylene Walter (31:47):
And a typewriter, which is kind of poetic. So I am so curious about this. I'm not saying he was a plagiarist who didn't write his own books. He clearly wrote tons of books. But I am so suspicious about this, especially since the hitchhiking parts of the book, which were my favorite. Martha Ann is so strong and her inner world, I was so impressed with Zane Grey with her inner world. And then we get to Andrew's point of view of women and then we get to the end when Martha Ann is just completely switches. And I can't help but wonder if that first part was really Berenice Campbell's voice.

Don Boozer (32:22):
Yep, exactly. That was fascinating. I had never heard that. And I didn't get that part in the biography. Whenever you had let us know that you had done that research, I was like, oh wow.

Laura Maylene Walter (32:31):
It's just so complicated. Because again, I'm not saying he didn't write any of the book. He was, as a writer, I was impressed just hearing how sometimes he would sit, sit down and write 10,000 words in a day, or write six chapters in six days. You know, there were times he worked really hard. So I'm not trying to say he didn't do that, but I do think reading about him, I got a portrait of a man who had a huge ego. He was very competitive. He wanted to be the best at everything, including fishing, by the way, he was obsessed with setting fishing records. He had drama with fishing club members. <laugh> I mean, it was really, really important to him to be the best and to be respected. He wanted that respect. And this was a time when women writers were not taken as seriously, especially if they were sleeping with Zane Grey. And I think it would've been really easy for him to lean on women, who are editing his books by the way, and helping him with things and just taking it and then publishing it under his byline for all the money.

Lucas Fralick (33:27):
Yeah, taking some from the top a little bit. I can definitely see that too. That makes a lot of sense. The connections.

Don Boozer (33:33):
I was wondering as I was reading that letter at the end too, whether that was actually the way Martha Ann felt or whether that's she was telling her mother that's the way that she felt. I was holding out some hope for Martha Ann that maybe this was just what she knew her mother wanted to hear. So she would've put that in the letter she sent to her mother. I'm holding onto that

Lucas Fralick (33:51):
<laugh>. That's your post credit scene. Exactly.

Don Boozer (33:53):
<laugh>. Yeah, exactly.

Laura Maylene Walter (33:55):
Well, should we go ahead and spoil the whole thing about what happens? Who wants to describe the final courtship between Martha Ann and Andrew?

Don Boozer (34:02):
It seemed in the way it was written that Martha Ann was the one who finally decided, you know, she went into Andrew's cabin and ended up sitting on his lap and giving him a kiss and that sort of thing. But she was like looking at him through the knot hole in the wall for a while and like trying to work up the nerve. And that was a little weird. That was a little voyeuristic, Martha Ann,

Laura Maylene Walter (34:23):
I feel like I'm being very harsh on the men like Andrew and also Zane Grey, but Martha Ann straight up goes to Andrew's cabin and drills in a peephole. It's not okay.

Lucas Fralick (34:34):

Don Boozer (34:35):
Again, bold and independent. There we go.

Lucas Fralick (34:38):
In the days before social media.

Don Boozer (34:40):

Laura Maylene Walter (34:41):
She couldn't stalk his Instagram, so.

Lucas Fralick (34:44):
Right. Yeah. Yeah.

Laura Maylene Walter (34:45):
Not that I excuse that, that was pretty dark. But Andrew Bonner in the lead up to this, he sometimes picks her up and forcibly carries her places. He forces a kiss with her when he's basically telling her, I bet even I could steal a kiss from you and get away with it. And she's like telling him, I hate you, I'm going to kill you <laugh>. At one point he kidnaps her, carries her to his cabin, dumps her on his bed.

Don Boozer (35:09):
I was like, oh no.

Laura Maylene Walter (35:10):
Well there's a suggestion. And she's even saying, what are you going to do with me? And he then proposes marriage and she rejects him.

Don Boozer (35:18):
I had three specific things in this where I had put OMG on the post-it note in the book. But one of them was that quote where he says, you know, "I wish to God I were beast enough to maul you good and plenty." I was like, whoa, dude!

Lucas Fralick (35:30):
Yeah. Thanks for bringing that up. Yeah, thank you for bringing that up. Yeah <laugh>.

Laura Maylene Walter (35:34):
It's wild. It's wild. Wild stuff. You know, one of their central conflicts through the book is when he finds her on the road, when she's hitchhiking earlier in the book, he's convinced that she's a flirt who like...I mean, I don't know at the time, I suppose just being alone with men and kissing them would be bad enough. But he imagines these scenarios where she goes off alone with men and I guess hooks up with them, whatever that would mean. This is all in his mind and he works himself into a rage over this. It's awful. He's terrible.

Lucas Fralick (36:01):
Right. That worked me into a rage, right? Because I was thinking, just cause she's alone, you just make these assumptions that that's what she's doing. And she was being attacked by these guys too. It wasn't like she brought it on, it's very victim shaming going on there.

Laura Maylene Walter (36:16):
A hundred percent. I mean, he finds her at one point riding horseback with another man, his kind of rival, and he's so enraged he beats the crap out of the man and pulls out his gun and almost kills him. I mean, it is, yeah. That's kind of what I more would've expected from a book of this time. Do you know what I mean? So it was sort of an emotional rollercoaster of reading this. Yeah.

Don Boozer (36:37):
<laugh> That's a good point. Yeah. Emotional rollercoaster is a good way to describe it.

Laura Maylene Walter (36:40):
But of course she decides she loves him and of course they've both been in love with each other. I do want to say that one male character who was really sweet and wonderful was Jim, who's kind of a ranch hand. Yeah. And he's so nice to Martha Ann. And he says to her, I just want to read something. He says to her, "You ought to have been a boy. And instead you're the sweetest girl that ever was born to vex men. It's tough, honey, when a girl can't lift her eyes or smile without some fool feller thinking she wants him to grab her. Well, that's sure tough." You know, he is empathizing with what it must be like for her. She just wants to live her life and these men are trying to paw her or blame her for being a hussy, basically.

Don Boozer (37:18):
Which I fully agree about Jim, but one of the things that surprised me about him was that whenever he tries to hang that guy for like rustling the cattle and he basically is like torturing him and they'll like pull up the rope and the noose and I'm like, whoa. And then they're like, okay, never mind. You can go ahead and go back to your ranch.

Lucas Fralick (37:36):
<laugh> Yeah, that's definitely capturing a romanticized version of the West. Right. This idea of bring the law into our own hands type.

Laura Maylene Walter (37:44):
In his defense, I think he said he wasn't going to hang him for real.

Don Boozer (37:47):

Laura Maylene Walter (37:48):
So, you know, so it's fine. Right? <laugh>

Don Boozer (37:50):
It's fine, exactly. Yeah.

Laura Maylene Walter (37:51):
It's just fine. Yeah, yeah. So there is definitely cattle wrestling in this book for anyone who is into that. Oh, and I do want to say one other thing since I clearly despise Andrew Bonner, I think that's clear. But the one moment when he maybe won me over was near the end. He secretly,, with his secret money, buys Martha, anonymously buys her a beautiful horse and a beautiful saddle and delivers it to her. And she's so pleased. And as a horse lover myself, I love that he gave her a horse, which is a symbol of freedom in the West. You know, instead of a really pretty dress or some kind of jewelry. So that was the first time I thought, oh.

Don Boozer (38:29):
Maybe he's redeemable in a little bit <laugh>.

Laura Maylene Walter (38:32):
If he's going to keep me in beautiful horses, then maybe I'll just put up with him.

Lucas Fralick (38:38):
<laugh> Put up with this.

Don Boozer (38:39):
It was initially given to her anonymously,

Laura Maylene Walter (38:41):
Which was also something in his favor, I guess.

Don Boozer (38:44):

Laura Maylene Walter (38:44):
I guess we'll give it to him.

Lucas Fralick (38:46):
Well even a broken clock is right twice a day, as they say.

Don Boozer (38:50):

Laura Maylene Walter (38:50):
Oh my gosh. And then of course at the end she comes to him and says she does want to marry him. And the novel seems to revolve around his perception of her, of whether he's right or wrong. At one point he even thinks to himself, oh...Basically, I'm not quoting, but basically: "Oh, maybe I'm wrong, that she wasn't such a little flirt with all the men, basically. She's just naïve." So it's kind of like he's saying maybe she's not a slut, she's just not very bright, you know <laugh>.

Laura Maylene Walter (39:15):
Which is not great.

Lucas Fralick (39:17):
Which is not much better. Yeah.

Laura Maylene Walter (39:20):
But the book ends with her like jokingly telling him never to misjudge her again. So it's interesting, it's almost as if the whole book is about reputation, like her reputation in his eyes.

Don Boozer (39:31):

Lucas Fralick (39:31):
Again, it's his perspective, right? It's her reputation based off of his opinion.

Don Boozer (39:38):
We talked about, you know, Zane Grey and his interesting life, let's say. It is interesting to see how pivotal he was to that whole genre. I mean he was definitely one of the, if you bring up, you know, western authors, it's, who's the author there in that is known in Wyoming is for writing THE VIRGINIAN?

Lucas Fralick (39:56):
Oh yeah, Owen Wister.

Don Boozer (39:57):
I read that Zane Grey was influenced by him and then Zane Grey just took it and ran with it.

Lucas Fralick (40:01):
Yeah, we in Wyoming are still suffering the consequences of Owen Wister work. It's both positives and of course the negatives that come with that. I feel like a lot of ways we're still tied down by that version of the West.

Laura Maylene Walter (40:15):
Can you give us an example for listeners who might not be familiar with his work?

Lucas Fralick (40:19):
Yeah, so THE VIRGINIAN is essentially a romp through the West. It's about all I'm going to say about it because it is worth your time if you do want to read it, just to have a true understanding. The mythological part of it, what they did do, the state of Wyoming is just this idea that if you're in Wyoming, you're self-sufficient all the time. You don't need help from anybody. You can just do it. And to a degree that happens because we're a very remotely populated state, but because of that myth, it has pushed back against any sort of help from other states or the federal government or even from the state government. And it's like, ah, we don't need that. Like, well, we kind of do, right? So that's the negative part of it. So there's the two sides of this coin that THE VIRGINIAN has injected into Wyoming and it's just kind of bred into the culture. The code of the West. This whole idea of do unto you, do unto others, very much is still alive. And that has the positives and negatives of course.

Don Boozer (41:16):
Yeah. And that really is part of the whole mythology of the West too. I mean, we talked about it there a little bit at the beginning that is sort of the, you know, the lone cowboy, out on the range and he has his can of beans and his campfire <laugh>.

Lucas Fralick (41:28):

Don Boozer (41:28):
The whole, the whole thing. And I find it so interesting, even with things like the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show and things like that. We have a couple of posters from that in our collection here at the Cleveland Public Library. And it's just so interesting that by the time those shows came around, I mean the West really wasn't, quote unquote, "the West" anymore, but it was this consistent effort to try and keep that mythology going and to sort of capitalize on it commercially.

Lucas Fralick (41:55):
Which we still face today.

Don Boozer (41:57):
Yeah. Yeah.

Lucas Fralick (41:58):
In Wyoming, I mean, it's all over the place.

Don Boozer (42:01):
It's very much a part of the American heritage too, I think pull yourself up by your own bootstraps sort of thing and you know, self-reliant and manly men and yeah, that sort of thing.

Laura Maylene Walter (42:11):
So Zane Grey was not the first American author of Westerns, but he made the genre so popular. He was publishing so much. And then as I learned in his biography, paperback books were not really a thing in the 20s when he was publishing. So his work first appeared I think in 1939 was when his books started being published as paperbacks. And from there it just exploded. So after his death in I think through the 50s or 60s, the stores would be packed with paperbacks of Zane Grey books because he had so many. And, also I didn't mention the films. That's a whole other part of his career. I think over a hundred films were made from his books. And this was a time when the studios would make a lot of B films and have the double features, especially in the Depression, to kind of try to keep people coming to the theater. And so just tons of Westerns, most of them I don't think we would really know today, but one of his books was made into a film that was the first film ever shot at Monument Valley. So before Stagecoach. So that's really interesting. Yeah,

Lucas Fralick (43:12):
That's just, that's wild.

Laura Maylene Walter (43:13):
And then when Westerns as a film genre became really popular in the fifties, I guess producers kind of ignored Zane Grey novels. I don't really know why, but they weren't making movies based on his books and the genre kind of took off from there. And now to the point where as far as books are concerned, Westerns are not very popular and it's really been in the decline. But do either of you have any books you'd like to recommend for our listeners, maybe contemporary Westerns or, Lucas, any books about Wyoming that you'd like to recommend?

Lucas Fralick (43:47):
Yeah, there's a few non-fiction. I can't tell you any fiction stuff.

Laura Maylene Walter (43:51):
No, non-fiction's great.

Lucas Fralick (43:52):
WYOMING RANGE WAR by John W. Davis takes place in Johnson County depicts a very infamous event in Wyoming's history involving sheep headers and cattle and a lot of disrupting a lot of politics. And it was a literal shootout. In fact, you go to Buffalo, Wyoming today, you can find outside their ranch where the shootout took place and the bullet holes are still there in a lot of the barns. So very, very worth your time. And a memoir by Mary Flitner called MY RANCH, TOO which gives a great contemporary snapshot of ranch life. Although the methods and techniques and technology has changed, the basic idea of ranching has remained very much the same. It's a very remote, hard work, constant 24/7 job. So very much worth your time to get to know Wyoming in a slightly different way.

Laura Maylene Walter (44:44):
What about you Don? Do you have any recommendations?

Don Boozer (44:46):
For the West? I would say that Mary Doria Russell's two books that she wrote about Doc Holliday and the other one about Wyatt Earp are done really well and especially EPITAPH, the one about Wyatt Earp takes him from the O.K. Corral and then actually moves through his life to whenever they were making movies about his life and that sort of thing. So it's a really interesting fictional account of that whole thing cause the O.K. Corral, that's part of the whole mythology of the West almost. And the fact that it actually happened is like, oh, look at that.

Laura Maylene Walter (45:14):
And I would recommend for a contemporary novel about an independent woman going out west would be THE HEARTS OF HORSES by Molly Gloss. So I recommend that. And more recently in 2020, C. Pam Zhang published HOW MUCH OF THESE HILLS IS GOLD, and that was very well reviewed and got of a lot of attention. So I'll link to all of those books in the show notes as well.

Lucas Fralick (45:36):
Yes, yes. That's a good one. Good recommendation. Yeah.

Laura Maylene Walter (45:40):
Well we will wrap up in a minute. We're running out of time and I hope I didn't take up too much of it by complaining about Zane Grey <laugh>. But is there anything we didn't get to that either of you would like to make sure we bring up?

Lucas Fralick (45:50):
I should say that I did not appreciate how Zane Grey depicted Native Americans very well.

Laura Maylene Walter (45:57):
Yes, we didn't get to that. Do you want to briefly summarize? I mean, they were barely in the book.

Lucas Fralick (46:02):
It's just that on the peripheral was almost enough negativity. I can't remember if it was the first incident Martha was attacked or the second, but that was clearly implied that the man who did that was Indigenous and to a degree, the references to the powwows and things like that. And of course, having gone to college in Black Hill State University, he spent a lot of time in the Black Hills. It was kind of interesting that they were depicted as this horrible, god forsaken place that Native people are going to kill you if you go up there, which is such a terrible thing to say.

Laura Maylene Walter (46:32):
And also race in the novel. I mean, it's mostly everything's ignored, but there is one point when Martha Ann is picked up on the road by a Black couple. When she sees who it is picking her up, she "swallows her surprise," but she gets in the car and they have a very pleasant, nice drive. At one point she, which I found just interesting, she specifies when she's arguing with Andrew about her own independence, she says, I'm over 18 and I'm white, and I'm free to do what I want. So I thought that was just, you know, notable that she's referencing that.

Don Boozer (47:04):
That was one of my OMG post-it notes in the book <laugh>. Yeah.

Laura Maylene Walter (47:08):
I mean, she wasn't wrong right, at that time.

Don Boozer (47:10):

Laura Maylene Walter (47:11):
I did read in his biography that Zane Grey, he did write I think more than one, but his first book where he wrote it in the point of view of a Native American, and let's just say it was not great. It sounds like he did zero either research or soul searching of how to do that. It wasn't great. So he was really criticized for that and he did absorb a lot of criticism through his career, but he also became extremely rich before the Depression, when he did struggle. But thank you for bringing that up. I think that's important.

Don Boozer (47:39):
I will say I got a kick out of his attempt to do the dialect, the language that people were speaking. It was hard to read with all the apostrophes and that sort of thing. But after a while I sort of let my mind go and I would just sort of, you know, read it in that drawl in my head. And I was like, I doubt if this is very accurate, but it's kind of fun to like let it go through your head. The one line I have here was like, "While we Wyoming folks are particular about our brands."

Lucas Fralick (48:09):
That pseudo Southern accent. Just really rubbed me the wrong way. I thought, do we really sound like this? And just, I could not. I just, it was awful. And I don't think we ever sounded like that, but it is true, we are very particular about our brands. That is absolutely true <laugh>.

Laura Maylene Walter (48:26):
All right, well on that note, I have a quote I would just like to leave as a sort of a parting gift from the Zane Grey biography by Thomas H. Pauly that I wanted to share to kind of wrap up Zane Grey's career and influence: "When Grey left for the West in search of new direction for his writing career, the Grand Canyon was not yet a national park. Arizona was not yet a state, and the Western was not a recognized genre. His writings have nurtured and still sustain a belief that life in the West is somehow different and better, that it offers open spaces, breathtaking vistas, and untapped possibilities, and that the last best place still exists somewhere out there." So on that note, I think we will close WYOMING, but thank you both so much for being here, Lucas and Don, it's been a lot of fun. Thanks for reading this book with me.

Lucas Fralick (49:16):
Oh, thank you. Thank you. I had a blast.

Don Boozer (49:19):
Yeah, it was great to see you, everybody. And I guess we say happy birthday to Zane Grey.

Laura Maylene Walter (49:25):
Page Count is presented by the Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate, and leave a review for Page Count wherever you get your podcast. Learn more online or find a transcript of this episode at, follow us on Twitter @cplocfb, or find us on Facebook. If you'd like to get in touch, email and put "podcast" in the subject line. Finally, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @LauraMaylene. Thanks for listening, and we'll be back in two weeks for another chapter of Page Count.

If you enjoy Page Count, please subscribe and spread the word. Get in touch by emailing us (put “podcast” in the subject line) or find us on Twitter or on Facebook. Learn more about Cleveland Public Library.