The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965 Page: 291
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drifted to Texas and became a cowboy; but there the parallel
ends. Adams, although his life on the range and on the trail
spanned only seven years, steeped himself enough in cowboy life
to become its best interpreter in fiction. His first and finest novel,
The Log of a Cowboy, which came out in 1903, remains a classic
that many later writers have imitated but have not matched.
Adams did not achieve much financial success in Texas, either
with cattle or later in the feed and seed business. Late in 1893,
with the Cripple Creek gold boom under way, he moved to
Colorado, where he spent most of the latter half of his life. He
had no idea of becoming a writer until he witnessed a Texas
melodrama in Colorado Springs in 1898. If the false and the
ludicrous were in such demand, he told himself, "the real thing
ought to take on immensely." After discovering the hard way
that he was no playwright, he turned to stories and novels. He
remembered sharply and made repeated trips back to Texas for
Adams, who died in 1935, has found a sympathetic and thor-
ough biographer in Professor Wilson M. Hudson of the Univer-
sity of Texas, who discovered him in a course in regional life and
literature. Hudson points out that The Log of a Cowboy, while
lacking the love story and popularity of an earlier novel, The
Virginian, by Owen Wister, is much more detailed and authen-
tic in its cowboy lore. While Wister wrote about cowboys with-
out cows, Adams packed his books with so many real incidents
of the range and trail and such pithy figures of speech that some
critics and readers refused to believe that they were fiction.
The Hudson book is both a biography and a literary study.
The author shows that Adams, although he wrote fiction of a
particular kind, had creativeness as well as fidelity. Of The Log
of a Cowboy, he concludes that, while it does not have the ob-
vious marks of fiction, it is "the only acknowledged masterpiece
in the literature of the cattle country. And Andy's campfire tales
are the best ever committed to paper."
Hudson's study shows thorough research, sound judgment, and
good writing. It should introduce many of today's readers to the
novelist who did more than any other to preserve the lore of the
open range, the cow camps, and the Longhorn trails.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965, periodical, 1965; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101198/m1/333/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.