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.
Most of Curwood's stories were adventure tales set in the Canadian North, where the author spent much of his time. During the 1920s his books were among the most popular in North America, and many were made into movies. The River's End was the first book to sell more than 100,000 copies in its first edition. The book begins: Between Conniston, of His Majesty's Royal Northwest Mounted Police, and Keith, the outlaw, there was a striking physical and facial resemblance. Both had observed it, of course. It gave them a sort of confidence in each other. Between them it hovered in a subtle and unanalyzed presence that was constantly suggesting to Conniston a line of action that would have made him a traitor to his oath of duty. For nearly a month he had crushed down the whispered temptings of this thing between them.
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