On a Silver Desert
The Life of Ernest Haycox
$24.95 Hardcover

Spur Award, Best Western Nonfiction Biography, Western Writers of America

Vocal Republican, accomplished gardener, lover of large cars, Ernest Haycox was nothing if not three-dimensional. Despite a haphazard childhood that included abandonment by his parents, Haycox (1899–1950) decided early on to be a writer. Once he began he did not stop, approaching writing with both an unparalleled passion and a keen business sense that included normal business hours in a downtown Portland office.

Until now little has been written about Haycox, the famed Collier’s and Saturday Evening Post contributor who wrote twenty-four novels and more than two hundred short stories. Bridging the gap between the formula Western and the literary western novel, Haycox frequently incorporated actual historical events into his works: Trouble Shooter documents the building of the Union Pacific railroad, The Border Trumpet covers the Apache wars in Arizona, and Bugles in the Afternoon draws upon the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Director John Ford adapted Haycox’s work for Stagecoach (1939, starring John Wayne), as did Cecil De Mille for Union Pacific (1939, starring Barbara Stanwyck).

Ernest Haycox Jr. describes his father’s life, work, and views on the craft of writing. In a remarkably candid biography, original photographs of Hollywood stars and excerpts from Haycox’s correspondence, including letters from the last years of his life, round out this incisive look at a literary giant.


About The Author

Ernest Haycox Jr. is a retired journalist and public relations specialist. He is the author of On a Silver Desert: The Life of Ernest Haycox, published by the University of Oklahoma Press.

Ronald L. Davis is Emeritus Professor of History at Southern Methodist University, where he was Director of both the Oral History Program on the Performing Arts and the De Golyer Institute for American Studies. He has written many books on the performing arts in America, including the best-seller Hollywood Anecdotes.

Book Information
52 b&w illus.
365 Pages
Hardcover 978-0-8061-3564-9
Published November 2003
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