In this classic and timeless Western novel, The Virginian is a ranch hand at the Shiloh Ranch, located outside of Medicine Bow, Wyoming. He is described as a tall, dark, slim young giant, with a deep personality. His real name is never given. At first, he is only a worker, but halfway through the book, he is signed on as the full-time foreman. He is the Judge’s most trusted worker. Several times throughout the book, he is offered the chance to run down his enemy, Trampas, behind his back, but each time he refuses the temptation. It is made clear that he will not use his official position as foreman to crush any of the lower workers.
In the novel, one of the main plots is The Virginian’s ongoing romance with Molly Wood, the local schoolteacher. Being from the East, she is not used to the wild west, but he plays a perfect gentleman to her, intending her to like him, and to “love him before we get through.”
The Virginian is widely regarded as being the first cowboy novel and was reprinted fourteen times in eight months. The book was written in the library of The Philadelphia Club, where Owen Wister was a member, and is dedicated to Theodore Roosevelt.
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