Pearl Zane Grey (January 31, 1872 – October 23, 1939) was an American author best known for his popular adventure novels and stories that presented an idealized image of the American frontier. Riders of the Purple Sage (1912) was his best-selling book. In addition to the success of his printed works, they later had second lives and continuing influence when adapted as films and television productions. As of 2012, 112 films, two television episodes, and a television series, Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater, had been made that were based loosely on his novels and short stories. Riders of the Purple Sage is a Western novel by Zane Grey, first published by Harper & Brothers in 1912. Considered by many critics to have played a significant role in shaping the formula of the popular Western genre, the novel has been called "the most popular western novel of all time." This version of the book has 26, full-page illustrations. Four were drawn by Douglas Duer; the other 22 are unique to this edition. Riders of the Purple Sage tells the story of Jane Withersteen and her battle to overcome her persecution by members of her polygamous Mormon Church, a leader of which, Elder Tull, wants to marry her. Withersteen is supported by a number of Gentile friends, including Bern Venters and Lassiter, a famous gunman and killer of Mormons. Throughout most of the novel she struggles with her "blindness" in seeing the evil nature of her church and its leaders, trying to keep both Venters and Lassiter from killing her adversaries, who are slowly ruining her. Through the adoption of a child, Fay, she abandons her false beliefs and discovers her true love. A second plot strand tells of Venters and his escape to the wilderness with a girl named Bess, "the rustler's girl," whom he has accidentally shot.