Who's Who in Western Prose

The trend setters

Owen Wister is usually credited with having written the first western novel, The Virginian, and as a result is considered the "Father of Western Fiction." It is said that Western fiction has allowed readers world-wide to become familiar with the western life-style.

OWEN WISTER 1860-1938

Zane Grey was a well-known writer of western fiction and also a dentist, having graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He is best known for his novel Riders of the Purple Sage and has contributed considerably to the understanding of the west.

ZANE GREY 1872-1939

Bret Harte is best remembered as a writer of short stories featuring miners, gamblers, cowboys and other characters of the California Gold Rush days. His story The Luck of Roaring Camp is considered a classic. His career spanned more than four decades during which he continued to write fiction but also wrote poetry, plays, lectures, and more.

BRET HARTE 1836-1902

One of the great chroniclers of Texas and the western life-style. His classic, A Vaquero of the Brush Country  (1929), was written as the story of John Young, an old-time vaquero, trail driver, lawman, Texas Ranger, and more. Dobie also wrote The Mustangs (1952), The Longhorns (1941), Tales of Old Time Texas (1928) , Voice of the Coyote (1949) and Cow People (1964).

J. FRANK DOBIE 1888-1964

Jack London is best known for his stories of the American Northwest, especially the Yukon. His novels Call of the Wild and White Fang, are considered classics. London was a prolific writer and wrote stories in a variety of settings, but his contribution to stories of the American West are considered among the trend setters.

JACK LONDON 1876-1916

Tony Hillerman spent his career in Santa Fe, NM where he wrote fiction about the Navajo Police, incorporating Navajo lore into his novels. As such, he documented much of the Navajo life style and provided his readers with new insight. 


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ANDY ADAMS is the author of the classic Log of a Cowboy that despite being fiction, is based on actual experiences of  Adams who was a working cowboy for some years. Log of a Cowboy is generally recognized as a seminal work about cowboy life and the American West.

ANDY ADAMS 1959-1935

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Best known as the author of the Western Words Dictionary and Cowboy Lingo, Ramon F. Adams was also author of several other books dealing with the American southwest. He also was a musician who taught violin at the University of Arkansas in 1912.

RAMON F. ADAMS 1889–1976

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Best know for writing of western fiction, he was a journalist in San Angelo, TX, a recipient of the coveted Owen Wister Award in  1977 and eight of his novels have received SPUR awards from the Western Writers of America.

ELMER KELTON 1926-2009