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+ By Tony Ken
Categorie(s): Fiction, Westerns
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Andy Adams was born in Indiana. His parents, Andrew and Elizabeth (Elliott) Adams, were pioneers. As a boy he helped with the cattle and horses on the family farm. In the early 1880s he went to Texas, where he stayed for 10 years, spending much of that time driving cattle on the western trail. In 1890 he left the trail to try his hand at business, but the venture failed, so he turned his hand to gold-mining in Colorado and Nevada. In 1894, he settled in Colorado Springs, where he lived until his death. He began writing at the age of 43, publishing his most successful book, The Log of a Cowboy, in 1903. His other works include A Texas Matchmaker (1904), The Outlet (1905), Cattle Brands (1906), Reed Anthony, Cowman: An Autobiography (1907), Wells Brothers (1911), and The Ranch on the Beaver (1927). The Log of a Cowboy is a fictional account of a five-month drive of 3,000 cattle from Brownsville, Texas, to Montana in 1882. But it is firmly based on Adams's own experiences on the trail, and it is considered by many to be the best account of cowboy life in literature. Adams was disgusted by the unrealistic cowboy fiction being published in his day; The Log of a Cowboy was his response. It is still in print, and even modern reviewers consider it a compelling classic. The Chicago Herald said: "As a narrative of cowboy life, Andy Adams' book is clearly the real thing. It carries its own certificate of authentic first-hand experience on every page." In Reed Anthony, Cowman: An Autobiography (1907), Adams breathes life into the story of a Texas cowboy who becomes a wealthy and influential cattleman. The Wells Brothers: The Young Cattle Kings (1911) tells the tale of two orphaned boys who, against all odds and in the face of numerous calamities, establish their own cattle ranch. It was followed by a sequel, The Ranch on the Beaver (1927).