A. B. Guthrie Jr.

Easton Press A. B. Guthrie Jr. books

The Big Sky - 2008

Franklin Library A. B. Guthrie Jr. books

The Way West - Pulitzer Prize Classics - 1979


Writer A.B. Guthrie Jr.

A.B. Guthrie Jr., born on January 13, 1901, and passed away on April 26, 1991, was an American novelist, historian, and screenwriter, best known for his Western novels and his literary contributions that explored the American frontier experience. Born in Bedford, Indiana, Guthrie developed an early interest in literature and writing. Guthrie's academic journey led him to the University of Montana, where he eventually became a professor of English. His early career was marked by his work as a journalist and editor. However, it was his foray into historical fiction, particularly Western novels, that brought him widespread recognition.

Guthrie's most celebrated work is the epic novel The Big Sky, published in 1947. The novel, set in the early 19th century, follows the adventures of Boone Caudill, a frontiersman exploring the American West. The Big Sky was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1950 and is considered a classic of Western literature. Continuing with his exploration of the American West, Guthrie penned the acclaimed The Way West in 1949, the second book in his Western trilogy. The novel, which revolves around a wagon train journey along the Oregon Trail, earned Guthrie the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the second time.

In addition to his novels, Guthrie contributed to the Hollywood film industry as a screenwriter. He adapted several of his own works for film, including the screenplay for the movie version of Shane (1953), based on Jack Schaefer's novel. A.B. Guthrie Jr. was not only a skilled storyteller but also a historian with a deep appreciation for the American West and its cultural heritage. His works often explored themes of exploration, survival, and the clash of cultures during the westward expansion of the United States.

Guthrie's legacy extends beyond his novels; he played a crucial role in preserving Western literature and history. He was honored with the Western Literature Association's Distinguished Achievement Award in 1986. A.B. Guthrie Jr.'s contributions to Western literature continue to be recognized and appreciated, and his novels remain essential reads for those interested in the American frontier experience.


The Big Sky - Book 1

Originally published more than fifty years ago, The Big Sky is the first of A. B. Guthrie Jr.'s epic adventure novels set in the American West. Here he introduces Boone Caudill, Jim Deakins, and Dick Summers: traveling the Missouri River from St. Louis to the Rockies, these frontiersmen live as trappers, traders, guides, and explorers. The story centers on Caudill, a young Kentuckian driven by a raging hunger for life and a longing for the blue sky and brown earth of big, wild places. Caught up in the freedom and savagery of the wilderness, Caudill becomes an untamed mountain man, whom only the beautiful daughter of a Blackfoot chief dares to love.

The Way West - The Big Sky Series Book 2

The sequel to The Big Sky, The Way West is the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the American West by A. B. Guthrie, the Academy Award nominated screenwriter of Shane.

This enormously entertaining classic brings to life the adventure of the western passage and the pioneer spirit, charting a frontiersman's return to the untamed West in 1846.

Dick Summers, as pilot of a wagon train, guides a group of settlers on the difficult journey from Missouri to Oregon. In sensitive but unsentimental prose, Guthrie illuminates the harsh trials and resounding triumphs of pioneer life.

A celebrated novel, The Way West pays homage to the grandeur of the western wilderness, its stark and beautiful scenery, and its extraordinary people.

"With A. B. Guthrie, the pioneer West has found its novelist at last." - Bernard DeVoto, Pulitzer Prize winning historian

Other The Big Sky Series Books include:
Fair Land, Fair Land

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