A writer and artist whose works deal with the American West, he is most famous for his Newbery Medal-winning book, Smoky the Cowhorse. His other popular works include Bucking Horse Riders and Lone Cowboy.
He worked as a stuntman and served in the U.S. Army. He also worked as a sketch artist in San Francisco before publishing his first literary work in the early 1920s.
His last work, The American Cowboy, was published the year of his death.
He was born Joseph Ernest Nephtali Dufault in Quebec, Canada, and he moved to the United States only after he was accused of stealing cattle in his native country. He married Alice Conradt, the sister of his rodeo partner, in 1920.
He and Louis Sachar both won the Newbery Medal.