“When you call me that, smile!”
The Virginian is the pioneering novel set in the Wild West by American author Owen Wister. It paved the way for many more westerns by such legendary authors such as Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour.
First published in 1902, The Virginian created the familiar archetypes of character, setting, and action that dominate western fiction and film today.
The hero, tall, taciturn, and unflappable, confident in his skills, mysterious in his background; the heroine, the “schoolmarm,” dedicated to civilizing the untamed town; and the villain, a liar, a thief, a killer, and worst of all, a coward beneath his bravado.
And its action: the climactic shoot-out between hero and villain—shaped the plots of the thousands of books and movies that followed.
OWEN WISTER (1860-1938) was the "father" of western fiction. An American writer, he is best remembered for writing the seminal western novel, The Virginian.