|To the Last Man star Richard Dix at Arizona's Mogollon Rim.|
It was probably in the late teens that Zane Grey began work on what would become To the Last Man, his fictionalized account of the real-life Graham-Tewksbury feud, aka the Pleasant Valley War, the bloodiest conflict between cattlemen and sheepmen in the history of the West. The violence began in 1886 in central Arizona’s Tonto Basin region (today a district within Gila County) and reached a deadly climax when the last of the Graham family was murdered in Tempe in 1892. Historians estimate that about 20 deaths can be directly linked to the vendetta.
According to an item in the March 18, 1922, issue of the American Library Association Booklist magazine, Grey made three trips to Tonto Basin to dig out “the truth” about the feud. In an October 1930 letter to Flagstaff’s Coconino Sun newspaper, he estimated he’d spent $30,000 – a king’s ransom in those days – just on research.
|Dying on his feet, Blue (Frank Campeau) tells Jean Isbel (Richard Dix) that he has killed two enemies in Last Man.|