"When I taught American literature at the Univ. of Iowa, a colleague taught a 'Great Westerns' course devoted to novels. Vardis Fisher's MOUNTAIN MAN, Alan LeMay's THE SEARCHERS, A.B. Guthrie's THE BIG SKY. Charles Portis's TRUE GRIT. Clearly Westerns can be literature. I suspect that Johnny D. Boggs would be on the syllabus today."
David Morrell, best-selling author of First Blood & The Brotherhood of the Rose
Johnny D. Boggs has worked cattle, been bucked off horses (breaking two ribs last time), shot rapids in a canoe, hiked across mountains and deserts, traipsed around ghost towns, and spent hours poring over microfilm in library archives -- all in the name of finding a good story. He was won a record nine Spur Awards from Western Writers of America, a Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and has been called by Booklist magazine "among the best western writers at work today." He also writes for numerous magazines, including True West, Wild West, Boys' Life and Western Art & Architecture, speaks and lectures often, studies old movies (Westerns and film noir) and even finds time to coach and umpire Little League. A native of South Carolina and former newspaper journalist, he lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his wife and son.
The Civil War is over. The future of the American West is up for grabs. Any man crazy enough to lead a herd of Texas longhorns to the north stands to make a fortune -- and make history. That man would be Nelson Story. A bold entrepreneur and miner, he knows a golden opportunity when he sees one. But it won't be easy. Cowboys and bandits got guns, farmers got sick livestock, the weather is unpredictable, the Army has its own reasons to stop Story -- and so do the Lakotas and Cheyennes. And back home in Virginia City, Montana, Story's wife fights her own battles. Johnny D. Boggs tells the amazing story of flawed men and women in this novel trying to survive in the Old West. Winner of the 2021 Spur Award from Western Writers of America for Best Mass-Market Paperback Novel.
Links to Recent Interviews
Walter Edgar's Journal: Walter Edgar interviews Johnny D. Boggs about growing up in the South and becoming a nine-time Spur Award winner. (February 21, 2022)
Start Spreading the News interview: Yes, Johnny D. Boggs, Kansas City Royals fan, talks baseball, Westerns and writing on a New York Yankees fan program with NYY experts Dr. Paul and Dr. Fagan! (January 17, 2022)
March 8, 2021: Johnny D. Boggs expanded his record-holding Spur total to nine by winning in the Best Original Mass-Market Paperback category for AThousand Texas Longhorns (Pinnacle/Kensington), Western Writers of America has announced. Awards are scheduled to be presented in Loveland, Colorado, at the WWA convention June 16-19. See Complete Results at WesternWriters.org.
Johnny D. Boggs receives Western Writers of America’s Owen Wister Award
January 26, 2020: Johnny D. Boggs, whose eight Spur Awards are a record in the 67-year history of Western Writers of America, will receive the organization’s 2020 Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Contributions to Western Literature.
Boggs will also be inducted into the Western Writers Hall of Fame, housed outside the McCracken Research Library at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyo.
“Johnny Boggs’s writing is infused with a profound respect for the historical record as well as a passion for the frontier,” WWA past president Kirk Ellis said. “His sharp former reporter’s eye is finely attuned to nuances of speech and character, and his prose crackles with vernacular energy. Johnny doesn’t retell old stories – he tells them as they’ve never been told before.”
Added WWA board member David Morrell: “Boggs displays a formal inventiveness that makes the way he tells stories as exciting as the stories themselves, turning them into art.”
The nonprofit guild’s highest honor will be presented during WWA’s convention June 17-20 in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Boggs has won Spurs for the short story “A Piano at Dead Man’s Crossing” (2002); novels Camp Ford (2006) and Legacy of a Lawman (2012); juvenile novels Doubtful Cañon (2008), Hard Winter (2010) and Taos Lightning (2019); and original mass-market paperback novels West Texas Kill (2012) and Return to Red River (2017). He has also been a Spur finalist 13 times.
Boggs’s other awards include the 2004 Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for Spark on the Prairie and the 2015 Arkansiana Juvenile Award for Poison Spring.
Since the early 1950s, WWA has honored and promoted all forms of literature about the American West. Previous Owen Wister honorees include Pulitzer Prize winner N. Scott Momaday; historians Eve Ball and Robert M. Utley; and bestselling novelists Rudolfo Anaya, Elmore Leonard, Tony Hillerman and Lucia St. Clair Robson.
Before moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1998, Johnny D. Boggs was a longtime newspaper journalist, working his way up to assistant sports editor/nights at the Dallas Times Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He returns to his journalism roots by documenting how newspaper journalists have been portrayed in Hollywood.
When "talking" pictures first appeared in cinema theaters in the late 1920s, films about newspaper journalists quickly became a Hollywood mainstay. These were a variety of responses from working reporters, editors, and photographers. The newspaper film was a popular genre into the 1950s, and famous films such as All the President'sMen (1976) and Spotlight (2015) have depicted the power of the press. Journalists have also been portrayed in films that are not specifically about newspapers, appearing in noir films like Woman on the Run (1950), Westerns such as Fort Worth (1951), comedies like The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966), musicals like Wake Up and Live (1937) and historical epics like Lawrence of Arabia (1962). A film historian, Boggs investigates how accurately films have portrayed journalists across the decades.
The book also details what journalists thought of the film depictions at the time, contributing to brief histories and analyses for each film. Featured journalist archetypes include airy reporters, screaming editors, photographers, sportswriters and war journalists. Classics, misfires, Westerns, obscure treasures and films the press both adored and detested are all included in this insightful, fun and well-illustrated edition.