An American writer of novels set in Montana, he is best known for works such as Sweet Thunder, English Creek, and Ride with Me, Mariah Montana. His works typically focus on the influence of location upon generations of family life.
He studied American history at the University of Washington.
He was once called the "new dean of western literature."
He was born into a ranching family in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. He later married Carol Muller.
His writing has been compared to that of Wallace Stegner.