Riders of the Purple Sage, Zane Grey’s best-known novel, was originally published in 1912. The Western genre had just evolved from the popular dime novels of the late-nineteenth century and was finding an audience particularly interested in reading about Americans in their quest to conquer savagery with civilization. This classic tale is full of action, violence, sentimentalism, romance, and adventure. As in many Westerns, the description of the landscape plays a major role, being sometimes dangerous and menacing, and at others times providing safety for those who encounter it. This story of a gun-slinging avenger who saves a beautiful young woman from marrying against her will played a significant role in shaping the formula of the popular Western genre begun by Owen Wister in The Virginian (1904).