James Oliver Curwood, (June 12, 1878 – August 13, 1927), was an American novelist and conservationist.
A great number of his works were turned into movies, several of which starred Nell Shipman as a brave and adventurous woman in the wilds of the north. Many films from Curwood's writings were made during his lifetime, as well as after his passing through to the 1950s. In 1988 French director Jean-Jacques Annaud used his 1916 novel, The Grizzly King to make the film The Bear. Annaud's success generated a renewed interest in Curwood's stories that resulted in five more films being produced in 1994 and 1995.
James Oliver Curwood lived most of his life in Owosso, Michigan, where he was born on June 12, 1878. His first novel was The Courage of Captain Plum (1908) and he published one or two novels each year thereafter, until his death on August 13, 1927. Owosso residents honor his name to this day, and Curwood Castle (built in 1922) is the town's main tourist attraction. During the 1920s Curwood became one of America's best selling and most highly paid authors. This was the decade of his lasting classics The Valley of Silent Men (1920) and The Flaming Forest (1921). He and his wife Ethel were outdoors fanatics and active conservationists.
It was all new—most of it singularly dramatic and even appalling to the woman who sat with the pearl-gray veil drawn closely about her face. For eighteen hours she had been a keenly attentive, wide-eyed, and partly frightened bit of humanity in this onrush of "the horde." She had heard a voice behind her speak of it as "the horde"—a deep, thick, gruff voice which she knew without looking had filtered its way through a beard. She agreed with the voice. It was the Horde—that horde which has always beaten the trails ahead for civilization and made of its own flesh and blood the foundation of nations. For months it had been pouring steadily into the mountains—always in and never out, a laughing, shouting, singing, blaspheming Horde, every ounce of it toughened sinew and red brawn, except the Straying Angels.
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