The Victims

"The End of the Trail" is a sculpture by James Earle Fraser. This plaster version exhibited at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. (1915). Some believe it may have inspired the ending to Zane Grey's The Vanishing American.

In Zane Grey's The Vanishing American, there are thousands of victims, specifically the American Indians living on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations. Certainly, the final words of the novel are symbolic, not just of the shattered and abused Shoie, but also of the American Indians on the reservation, and perhaps in all of America, being victimized:

"At last only one Indian was left on the darkening horizon—the solitary Shoie—bent in his saddle, a melancholy figure, unreal and strange against that dying sunset—moving on, diminishing, fading, vanishing—vanishing."

In the novel, there are three people who best represent that sad condition. They are a young girl abused within the "protection" of the Indian school system; her father who tried to protect her; and a mentally ill warrior.  In all cases, the identity of the individuals who inspired these characters is clear.