Classic Views of American Life: Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Fiction

A[lfred] B[ertram] Guthrie, 1901-1991

The Way West


  • Born in Bedford, Indiana, but his family moved to Choteau,Montana when he was still an infant.  His father, an educator.
  • Attended University of Washington, University of Montana (A.B., 1923), and Harvard University (graduate study, 1944-45).
  • Began his newspaper career as a printer's devil on the Choteau Advocate; worked on the staff of the Lexington, Kentucky Leader for the following twenty year, finally becoming executive editor.


  • Considered one of the foremost writers on the American West.
  • Earned many awards for achievement as a writer, including the Distinguished   Achievement Award of the Western Literature Association and achievement awards from the governors of Montana, Kentucky, and Indiana.
  • Wrote the screenplays for Shane (Paramount, 1953) and The Kentuckian (United Artists, 1955)
  • Won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 1950 for The Way West.

Major Writings

Murders at Moon Dance (1943)
The Big Sky (1947)
These Thousand Hills (1956)
The Big It and Other Stories (1960), short stories
The Blue Hen's Chick (1965), autobiography
Arfive (1970)
The Last Valley (1975)
Fair Land, Fair Land (1982), a sequel to The Big Sky
Playing Catchup (1985)
Four Miles to Far Mountain (1987), poetry
Murder in the Cotswolds (1989)

Critical Sources and Reviews

  • New York Times Book Review, October 9, 1949 ("In the Western Mountain Country" by Robert Gorham David) and November 18, 1956 ("When Settlers Began to Take Over" by Walter Van Tilburg Clark).
  • New York Herald Tribune Book Review, October 9, 1949 ("Off to Oregon Again in a Fine New Novel" by Elrick B. Davis).
  • Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 23.
  • Dictionary of LIterary Biography, Vol. 6: American Novelists since World War II
  • The American Western Novel, James K. Folsom (1966)
  • A. B. Guthrie, Jr. , Thomas Ford (1968).
  • The Novel of the American West, John R. Milton (1980).

Retired Discussion Series

Debbie Sturman, Director
425 South Main Street, P O Box 510
Lusk, WY 82225-0510
Phone: 307-334-3490
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