Born in Indiana in 1859, writer Andy Adams lived the cowboy life on the Texas plains. He later rendered those experiences in fiction to set Americans straight about life in the West. Adams arrived in South Texas in 1881 and began rounding up livestock to send to Kansas. Through his work, he became fascinated with cowboys—their speech, culture, and work habits. In 1903, Adams published his first novel, The Log of a Cowboy, which recounts a trail drive from Brownsville to Montana. Adams's focus was not the wildness of the West but its peaceful, pastoral nature—and the effect the land had on the men who worked it. J. Frank Dobie called it "the best book that can ever be written about cowboy life." More»

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Portrait of Andy Adams. Courtesy of The Wittliff Collections, Alkek Library, Texas State University.