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As It Was: Author Zane Grey Gathers Regional Material

In June 1919, the Klamath Falls Evening Herald profiled Western author Zane Grey as pleasing, with a “glad to meet you” personality, who enjoyed talking to people.  Their conversations provided material for his novels.

Grey enjoyed Southern Oregon and its fishing so much that he built a cabin beside the Rogue River.

His 1927 novel titled Forlorn River used a remote wilderness area of Northern California and Southern Oregon as background.  His research included visiting ranchers in the Tule Lake Basin.

The book’s Forlorn River was based on the Lost River that flows from California’s Clear Lake into the Klamath area of Oregon.  It goes underground before reappearing and emptying into Tule Lake in California.  The book features the area’s geography and history, including the ice caves, the Lava Beds National Monument and lava tubes.  One of the characters in the book is named Modoc, named after the tribe that favored the Lost River.

The book was first made into a silent movie before the 1937 sound film starring Buster Crabbe.


Sources: Juillerat, Lee. Lava Beds National Monument. Arcadia Publishing, 2015, p. 74; Younker, Donald. "The Writings of Zane Grey Book Review "Forlorn River"." Zane Grey West Society, Zane Grey West Society, 2006,
www.zgws.org › br-forlornriver; Jandreau, Marle. "Looking Back: This Week in Klamath Basin History 100 years ago." Evening Herald, 30 June 1919 [Klamath Falls], www.heraldandnews.com › news › local_news › looking-back-this-w; "Forlorn River." Wikipedia, 2019, p. 1, en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Forlorn_River; "Trust sells Zane Grey Cabin on Rogue River to BLM." Oregonian Live, 18 May. 2008, www.oregonlive.com › environment › 2008/05 › trust_sells_zane_g.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.