© Author Adventures

Will James

The Northeastern Nevada Museum in Elko (museumelko.org) features the work of cowboy writer and artist Will James (1892-1942) in its Red and Mary Ellis Gallery.

Most of this author’s books were written for young people in the 1920s and 1930s, and several were autobiographical. Elko now has a population of around 20,000, which is about 15,000 more residents than in the day of the writer.

James won the Newbery Medal in 1927 for Smoky the Cow Horse (originally Smoky), published by Charles Scribner’s Sons. Other books he published include Lonesome Cowboy, Cowboy in the Making Cow Country, and All in the Day’s Riding.

To this day, early editions of Smoky that are in very good condition can be extremely valuable. We found one priced at $6,500.00 through an auction house.

Quoting Will James

“For that pony had got tangled up in the cowboy’s heartstrings a heap more than that cowboy wanted to let on, even to himself. He couldn’t get away from how he missed him.”

“For they really belong, not to man, but to that country of junipers and sage, of deep arroyos, mesas–and freedom.”

This is the last stop on our Nevada Author Adventures Trail, unless you are attending an event at the Black Mountain Institute down in Las Vegas.

Patricia Smart