L'Amour, Louis

L'Amour, Louis,

1908–88, American writer of western fiction, b. Jamestown, N.Dak., as Louis Dearborn LaMoore. He began writing in the 1940s, contributing stories to magazines under the name Tex Burns. After the success of his novel Hondo (1953), his works appeared under his own byline. L'Amour's fluidly written novels and stories are usually set in the hardscrabble world of the 19th-century American West. They feature vivid heroes and villains enmeshed in lively plots and espouse such frontier values as hard work and perserverance. One of the most popular and prolific practitioners of his or any other genre, L'Amour had, by the time of his death, published some 100 books, nearly a third of which were made into films; several previously unpublished works appeared posthumously. Among his best-known titles are The Daybreakers (1955), Taggart (1959), Bendigo Shafter (1978), and The Haunted Mesa (1987).


See his autobiography (1989); study by R. L. Gale (1985, rev. ed. 1992); R. Weinberg, The Louis L'Amour Companion (1992).

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L'Amour, Louis (b. Louis Dearborn LaMoore) (Tex Burns, Jim Mayo, pen names)

(1908–88) writer; born in Jamestown, N.D. Leaving school when young, he traveled throughout western America and the world and held a number of jobs, ranging from lumberjack to elephant handler. He published a book of poetry (1939), but it was his first Western novel, Hondo (1953), that gained him instant success. Although he would write a nonfiction book about the frontier and numerous film and television scripts, it was his many Westerns that gained him great popularity among a wide spectrum of readers.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.