Author of The Big Sky series, The Way West, and the screenplay for the classic Shane, among many other timeless stories of frontier mountain men, icon of Western literature A. B. Bud Guthrie Jr. brought a blazing realism to the story of the West. That realism, which astounded and even shocked some readers, came out of the depth of Guthrie's historical research and an acuity that had seldom been seen in the work of Western velists. In Under the Big Sky, the latest in his celebrated series of biographies of Western writers, Jackson J. Benson details the life and work of this true giant on the Western literary landscape. The small Montana town that figures in several of Guthrie's books is clearly patterned after the town where he grew up, Choteau, on the eastern front of the Rocky Mountains. Benson illuminates the critical details of Guthrie's upbringing and education, the influence of his intellectually inclined father, his work as a newspaperman in Kentucky, and his time at Harvard University. Animated by the observations of friends, family, and fellow authors, this intimate account offers rare insight into the life and work of a remarkable writer and into the making of the literary West.
Jackson J. Benson is an emeritus professor of English at San Diego State University. He is the author of several books, including The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, Writer: A Biography; The Ox-Bow Man: A Biography of Walter Van Tilburg Clark; and Wallace Stegner: His Life and Work (available in a Bison Books edition).