A twentieth-century American author and scholar, he is best known for A River Runs Through It and Other Stories (1976) and Young Men and Fire (1992). His other works include The Theory of Lyric Poetry from the Renaissance to Coleridge (1940) and A Manual of Instruction in Military Maps and Aerial Photographs (1943).
During the World War I years, he worked in Montana for the United States Forest Service. He later graduated from Dartmouth College and the University of Chicago.
His non-fiction book, Young Men and Fire, won the National Book Critics Circle Award.
He married Jessie Burns in 1931; they became parents to two children.
His work, A River Runs Through It, was made into a film directed by Robert Redford.