Clio Logo
This marker indicates the location of the Elmer Kelton Mural. Elmer Kelton (April 29, 1926-August 22, 209) was a journalist and writer. He is best known for his Western novels. Many of his fellow writer is the Western Writers of America (WWA) regarded him as the best Western writer not only of the era, but of all time.

  • Elmer Kelton marker
  • Elmer Kelton
  • Elmer Kelton with his star on the Fort Worth Stockyard walk of fame
 Kelton spent his childhood at various Texan ranches where his father was working, giving him an excellent background for the Western novels he would later go on to write. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of the Arts in journalism. He began college in 1942 and graduated in 1948, with two years (1944-1946) taken off in the middle of his studies to serve in the U.S. Army during WWII. He spent the year as combat infantry in Europe.

Although he is better known for his highly accomplished career as a Western-style novelist, he also had an accomplished career as a journalist. From 1948-1963, Kelton worked as the farm-and-ranch editor of the San Angelo Standard Times. He was the editor of Sheep and Goat Raiser Magazine for five years and the editor of Livestock Weekly for twenty-two years. 

The fact that his journalism career is somewhat overshadowed by his literary one is not surprising given the legacy he left in the world of Western fiction writing. He won the Spur Award from the Western Writers of America for the following eight novels: Buffalo Wagons, The Day the Cowboys Quit, The Time it Never Rained, Eyes of the Hawk, Slaughter, The Far Canyon, Many a River, and The Way of the Coyote. He also received Western Heritage Awards from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for the following three novels: City: The Time it Never Rained, The Good Old Boys, and The Man who Rode Midnight.!about-elmer-kelton/cjg9