Search - List of Books by Will James
Will James (June 6, 1892 - September 3, 1942) was an artist and writer of the American West.
Total Books: 101
James was born Joseph Ernest Nephtali Dufault, in 1892 in Saint-Nazaire-d'Acton, Quebec, Canada. He started drawing at the age of four on the kitchen floor. James, a Canadian Francophone, settled in the new French-Saskatchewan settlement of Val Marie in 1910 and learned to be a western cowboy. Accused of cattle theft, he left three years later and traveled to the United States with a new name, William Roderick James.
During the next several years, he drifted and worked at several jobs. He was briefly jailed in Carson City, Nevada, for cattle rustling and took care of the prison's horses during his sentence. He then worked as a stuntman in movies and served in the U. S. Army from 1918-1919. He began selling his sketches. He was a horse wrangler for the First Annual Nevada round-Up in Reno in July 1919. He met and married Alice Conradt, while living in Reno, Nevada, in 1920 and sold his first writing, Bucking Horse Riders, in 1922. The sale of several short stories and books followed, enabling him and his wife to buy a small ranch in Washoe Valley, Nevada, where he wrote his most famous book, Smoky the Cow Horse. It was published in 1926 and won the Newbery Medal for children's literature in 1927. Several film adaptations were made of the book, with James narrating the 1933 film. His fictionalized autobiography, Lone Cowboy, was written in 1930 and was a bestselling Book-of-the-Month Club selection. He wrote his last book, The American Cowboy, in 1942. In all, he wrote and illustrated 23 books.
His later years were spent on his ranch at Pryor Creek, Montana and at his Billings home on Smoky Lane. He died in Hollywood, California, in 1942.
The largest public collection of James' writings, artwork, and personal effects is at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Montana.
James was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 1991.