James was a Canadian born cowboy, drifter, cattle rustler, children’s author, and illustrator. He became one of the country’s best known western authors and illustrators. He wrote about things he knew the best which included cowboys and horses. He sold his first story, Bucking Horse Riders, in 1922. His most famous book, Smokey the Cowhorse, was published in 1926 and won the Newbery Medal for children’s literature in 1927.