Now, the funny thing is, the first time I read this book, I got really mad at the ending because I seem to have missed one very key sentence toward the end. (SPOILERS in the rest of this paragraph only.) And I still think that a showdown between Gene Stewart and Don Carlos is called for, and I'm mad that we didn't get one. BUT. Grey does tell us that Don Carlos got captured and thrown in jail. He's not left on the loose, waiting to ambush Stewart and Madeline on their way home. (End of SPOILERS.)
I learned recently that Grey wrote a sequel to this, called Majesty's Rancho. When I was at the Zane Grey Museum in Zanesville, Ohio, last week, I picked up gorgeous vintage 1940s editions of both books, and promptly started rereading this. I've watched the 1940 movie version several times since the first time I read the book, so I wanted to get the book back in my head before reading the sequel. Which I hope/plan to read this summer still, after I finish up a few other things I am currently reading. I'm really excited to see where Stewart and Madeline's lives take them! Fingers crossed that it's a happy book and not full of them getting angry at each other over misunderstandings all the time, or something lame like that.
In this book, Madeline "Majesty" Hammond comes west to visit her brother and runs afoul of drunken cowboy Gene Stewart before she's even left the train station. What ensues? Only a secret and unconsummated marriage, a lot of dramatic scenery, really crazy car driving, a Mexican revolution, and a rugged camping trip just to add some spice.
Parts of this book kind of demand the readers leave modern sensibilities behind, but that's not something I personally have difficulty doing because I read a LOT of old books, and I know enough about history to understand when things are a product of the era they were written in, and when they're something I'm just not going to be okay with no matter what. If you can't do that without it ruining your enjoyment of this book, you probably aren't going to like it.
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG for western violence and a little bad language here and there.