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Pearl Zane Gray studied dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania on a baseball scholarship, and later played with a minor league team. He met and later married Lina Roth, whose inheritance helped support his efforts to become a writer. He pioneered the Western genre. His first western, "Heritage of the Desert," became a bestseller in 1910, and he went on to write over sixty books, many of which became films.
In "The Mysterious Rider," Bill Bellound's foster daughter Columbine agrees to marry his son Jack out of love for her foster father. Jack is a coward, drunkard, gambler, and thief, and Columbine really loves the cowboy Wilson Moore.
Things are changed by the arrival of the title character, a gentle and kind middle-aged man who is so fierce a gunfighter he has earned the nickname Hell Bent Wade, and he will play a crucial role in righting the wrongs of the story.