An American author and screenwriter, he is best known for his work on such films as The Call of the Wild (1935), A Message to Garcia (1936), and Billy the Kid (1941). His published works include A Solo in Tom-Toms (a memoir) and Shoe the Wild Mare (a novel).
He briefly attended the University of Colorado before accepting a position with the Denver Post. He published his first novel, Trumpet in the Dust, in 1930.
He was, at one time, a close friend of WC Fields.
He was born in Denver, Colorado and was raised by his mother and stepfather. In 1916, he married Agnes Hubbard, who became the mother of his three children.
He collaborated with actor John Barrymore on several projects.