The American West in Film and Television: Riders of the Purple Sage: The Backstory

Charlie LeSueur

Arizona’s Official Western Film Historian Charlie LeSueur

Zane Grey’s “Riders of the Purple Sage,” which has been in print continuously since 1912, is perhaps the most popular western novel of all time. It significantly shaped the formula of westerns with its themes of revenge, love and morality and gave credence to the role of the gunman as anti-hero.

The novel spawned no fewer than five film versions of the epic saga. In addition, the world premiere of an opera based on the story will be presented by Arizona Opera February 25-26, 2017 in Tucson and March 3-5 in Phoenix.

In this program, Arizona’s Official Western Film Historian Charlie LeSueur explores the various incarnations of the film adaptations of the novel and the overall impact the book had on the western genre. 

Included with museum admission; free to museum members.