“My beloved Arizona" was the term of endearment Zane Grey bestowed upon this state. Its history and people inspired his western novels. Its game and landscape impassioned his zeal for the wild, and its rugged natural beauty stirred his introspective soul.
Grey's passion for the American frontier was his birthright; his ancestors, the Zanes, were heroes of the American Revolution who settled the Ohio River Valley. But Grey was a baseball player, a New York City dentist, and a starving writer before his tales of the western frontier made him "The Father of the Western Novel."
His popularity and proliferation were unprecedented in his time. Virtually all of his 64 novels, over 300 short stories, 10 non-fiction westerns, hunting and fishing articles and books, and 130 movies were enormously successful.
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Grey's books have been published in over 20 languages and estimated annual sales today are between 500,000 and one million copies worldwide. The Riders of the Purple Sage is considered the quintessential western classic of all time.
Although he loved the rugged beauty of Arizona, one incident in 1929 made him turn his back on the Grand Canyon State forever.
He came to Arizona with an entourage from Hollywood to film a documentary about bear hunting. He missed bear season and the officials wouldn’t bend the rules for him. He left in a huff and said he’d never return. He was true to his word, he never returned. In so doing, we lost a true Arizona ambassador.
Zane Grey's influence on Americana is far reaching:
His name graces schools, libraries, museums, civic groups, roads, subdivisions, and a liberty ship.
His movies launched the careers of Shirley Temple, John Wayne, Tom Mix, Randolph Scott, and Alan Ladd.
He co-founded the Izaak Walton League, a conservationist organization whose publication was the forerunner of Outdoor America.
He owned patents on fishing lures, held eleven worlds records in deep sea fishing, and his trophies were displayed at the Museum of Natural Science.
Correspondence with Ernest Hemingway regarding Grey's struggle with a huge marlin parallels Hemingway's classic, The Old Man and the Sea.
Fans included Anwar Sadat, Dwight Eisenhower, and Winston Churchill. President George H. Bush quoted Grey in a speech.
Zane Grey's Historic Cabin
Grey, 67 died at home in Altadena, California in 1939. Time, vandals, and neglect damaged his cabin north of Payson until the 1950s when Phoenix businessman William Goettl bought and restored the structure. The original Zane Grey Cabin was built in its remote location in the early 1920’s. Prior to being destroyed by the Dude Fire in 1990, it was a favorite historical destination for over 20,000 visitors a year. Even today, fans of Zane Grey, come to Payson asking for directions to The Cabin.
"The Cabin" is Rebuilt
In 2003, the Zane Grey Cabin Foundation raised $200,000 to build a replica of the cabin on the grounds of the Rim Country Museum in Payson’s Green Valley Park. Not everything’s the same, of course, but you’ll get the idea. A writer’s chair, a cot, Grey’s saddle, a bear rug, and an array of cowboy boots help visitors visualize what life was like for the writer and avid hunter.
Facts about Zane Grey
- Pearl Zane Grey was born in 1872 in Zanesville, Ohio. In his mid-20’s he started going by Zane Grey.
- In 1904, after a brief trip to the Grand Canyon, Grey began writing western novels.
- Grey became one of the best selling American writers of all time, with more than 64 novels and more than 130 movies based on them.
- Grey’s publisher estimated that sales of Grey’s novels exceeded 17 million copies at the time of his death in 1939.
- Riders of the Purple Sage published in 1912, has sold more than 2 million copies.
- In 1916, Grey earned $28,000. By 1920 he earned $180,000. A few years later Grey earned $250,000 a year.
- A first-edition copy of one of Grey’s first books, Betty Zane, is displayed at the cabin in Payson.
- Grey’s original cabin, built in 1922, was restored in the 1950s and turned into a museum. It was destroyed in the 1990 Dude Fire.
- Grey, an avid outdoorsman, held a dozen world records including a 785-pound tuna caught off Nova Scotia, a 1,040-pound marlin off Tahiti, and a 1,036-pound shark off Australia.
Zane Grey Novels
- Betty Zane, (1903)
- Spirit of the Border, (1906) -- Sequel to Betty Zane
- The Last of the Plainsmen, (1908), Western
- The Last Trail, (1909) -- Sequel to Spirit of the Border
- The Short Stop, (1909), Baseball
- The Heritage of the Desert, (1910)
- The Young Forester, (1910), Western
- The Young Pitcher, (1911), Baseball
- The Young Lion Hunter, (1911), Western
- Riders of the Purple Sage, (1912)
- Ken Ward in the Jungle, (1912), Western
- Desert Gold, (1913), Western
- The Light of Western Stars, (1914), Western
- The Lone Star Ranger, (1915), Western
- The Rainbow Trail, (1915), Western -- Sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage
- The Border Legion, (1916), Western
- Wildfire, (1917)
- The Up Trail, (1918), Western
- The Desert of Wheat, (1919)
- Tales of Fishes, (1919), Non-Fiction/Fishing
- The Man of the Forest, (1920), Western
- The Redhead Outfield and other Stories, (1920), Baseball
- The Mysterious Rider, (1921)
- To the Last Man, (1921), Abridged version of Tonto Basin (2004)
- The Day of the Beast, (1922), Western
- Tales of Lonely Trails, (1922), Western
- Wanderer of the Wasteland, (1923)
- Tappan’s Burro, (1923)
- Call of the Canyon, (1924), Western
- Roping Lions in the Grand Canyon, (1924), Western
- Tales of Southern Rivers, (1924)
- The Thundering Herd, (1925), Western
- The Vanishing American, (1925)
- Tales of Fishing Virgin Seas, (1925), Non-Fiction/Fishing
- Under the Tonto Rim, (1926)
- Tales of the Angler’s Eldorado, New Zealand, (1926), Non-Fiction/Fishing
- Forlorn River, (1927), Western
- Tales of Swordfish and Tuna, (1927), Non-Fiction/Fishing
- Nevada, (1928), Western -- Sequel to Forlorn River
- Wild Horse Mesa, (1928), Western
- Don, the Story of a Lion Dog, (1928), Western
- Tales of Fresh Water Fishing, (1928), Non-Fiction/Fishing
- Fighting Caravans, (1929), Western
- The Wolf Tracker, (1930)
- The Shepherd of Guadalupe, (1930)
- Sunset Pass, (1931), Western
- Tales of Tahitian Waters, (1931), Non-Fiction
- Book of Camps and Trails, (1931), Non-Fiction
- Arizona Ames, (1932), Western
- Robber’s Roost, (1932), Western
- The Drift Fence, (1933), Western
- The Hash Knife Outfit, (1933), Western
- The Code of the West, (1934), Western
- Thunder Mountain, (1935), Western
- The Trail Driver, (1935)
- The Lost Wagon Train, (1936), Western
- West of the Pecos, (1937)
- An American Angler in Australia, (1937)
- Raiders of Spanish Peaks, (1938), Western
- Western Union, (1939), Western
- Knights of the Range, (1939), Western
- Thirty Thousand on the Hoof, (1940)
- Twin Sombreros, (1940), Western -- Sequel to Knights of the Range
- Majesty’s Rancho, (1942), Western -- Sequel to Light of Western Stars
- Omnibus, (1943), Western
- Stairs of Sand, (1943), Western -- Sequel to Wanderer of the Wasteland
- The Wilderness Trek, (1944), Western
- Shadow on the Trail, (1946), Western
- Valley of Wild Horses, (1947), Western
- Rogue River Feud, (1948), Western
- The Deer Stalker, (1949), Western
- The Maverick Queen, (1950)
- The Dude Ranger, (1951), Western
- Captives of the Desert, (1952), Western
- Adventures in Fishing, (1952)
- Wyoming, (1953), Western
- Lost Pueblo, (1954), Western
- Black Mesa, (1955), Western
- Stranger from the Tonto, (1956), Western
- The Fugitive Trail, (1957), Western
- Arizona Clan, (1958), Western
- Horse Heaven Hill, (1959), Western
- The Ranger and Other Stories, (1960)
- Blue Feather and Other Stories, (1961)
- Boulder Dam, (1963)
- The Adventures of Finspot, (1974)
- The Reef Girl, (1977)
- Tales from a Fisherman’s Log, (1978)
- The Camp Robber and Other Stories, (1979)
- The Lord of Lackawaxen Creek, (1981)
- George Washington, Frontiersman, (1994), Historical Fiction
- Desert Crucible, (2003), Unabridged version of The Rainbow Trail (1915)
- Tonto Basin, (2004), Unabridged version of To the Last Man (1921)
Directions to the Zane Grey Cabin in Payson Arizona
From Phoenix take Highway 87 (Beeline Highway) north into Payson. From Heber / Showlow take Highway 260 west to Highway 87 and head south (left). From Sedona / Prescott / Camp Verde take Highway 260 east to Highway 87 south. From Winslow take Highway 87 south. Turn west at the light on Main Street and Highway 87 in Payson. Turn north (right) on Green Valley Parkway and you are there!
Address to Rim Country Museum and Zane Grey Cabin [Map It]
700 Green Valley Parkway
Payson AZ 85541
Hours of Operation
|Wednesday - Monday
10am – 4pm
|Children under 12