Author of more than sixty popular, highly-influential Western novels, Zane Grey was born "Pearl" Zane Gray. Although no one knows for certain, it seems likely that Grey thought that "Pearl" was too feminine a name for an author of Western adventure. Zane was Grey's family name, and he was intensely proud of his Western pioneer heritage. His first-published book, Betty Zane (1803), was inspired by the true story of Revolutionary War frontier heroism in his family. Grey's early books about his own family were not commercially successful. Beginning with his first Western novel, The Heritage of the Desert, Zane Grey launched upon one of the most influential writing careers in American history.
With a lyrical ending, The Desert of War is different from Grey's Western novels, but equally satisfying to readers. The Desert of Wheat was made into a film called Riders of the Dawn in 1920.