Do you need to have a good education in order to become a writer? As a teacher, I am a little biased toward believing in traditional education. Most writers seem to improve as they learn more about writing. However, it must be acknowledged that there are also self-taught writers. These are writers whose spark of genius and gift with words allow them to achieve amazing success without the benefit of formal schooling. Louis L’Amour was one of these writers.
He was born in Jamestown, North Dakota in l908. There were 8 kids in the family and his dad was a veterinarian. His childhood was quite happy but bank failures in the Midwest destroyed the economy and caused trouble for his family’s lifestyle. When Louis was in the 10th grade, he quit school for good and joined his family as they moved south looking for work. During these difficult times, Louis worked on farms, in mines, in lumber yards and saw mills. He met all kinds of people who would later find their way into his short stories and novels and screenplays. Even though he had been forced to leave school as a teenager, he loved to read. Sometimes he would go without food in order to be able to afford to buy books! He always wanted to become a writer but it seemed like the difficulties of his life would make that impossible.
Louis never gave up, though. He wrote short stories for magazines and eventually after years and years of hard work, he became highly successful writing westerns. He also achieved great success as a screenwriter. Many of his screenplays became TV movies.
The Louis L’Amour Trail, in Jamestown, North Dakota, allows you to visit the school and library and other places which were important in his early life.
The Rough Rider Gallery, in the state capitol, Bismarck, has a plaque showing a picture and giving information about L’Amour’s life. The Rough Rider Award is an honor given to individuals who have made a great contribution to the state of North Dakota.
The Louis L’Amour Trail in Jamestown is the first stop on our North Dakota Trail!
Rebecca Blake Beech