THE SWARTHOUTS

One of the first families of American letters, Glendon, Kathryn, and their son Miles have all distinguished themselves writing in various fields in the latter half of the 20th century.

Novelist father Glendon wrote 16 novels, some of which became bestsellers made into motion pictures. Among them were Seventh Cavalry (Columbia Pictures, 1956) starring Randolph Scott and Barbara Hale; They Came To Cordura (Columbia, 1959) starring Gary Cooper and Rita Hayworth; Where The Boys Are (MGM, 1960) starring George Hamilton and Paula Prentiss; Bless The Beasts & Children (Columbia, 1972) starring Billy Mumy; The Shootist (Paramount Pictures, 1976) starring John Wayne and Lauren Bacall; and A Christmas To Remember (CBS TV, 1978) starring Joanne Woodward and Jason Robards.

Book reviewers and critics of "serious" literature occasionally accused Glendon of writing for Hollywood, since he had sold or optioned so many of his stories for films, but in an interview he gave later in his life to the Los Angeles Times, he answered this high-brow slur. "I do not write for the movies. I've been accused of it and I deny it. I do plead guilty to writing stories with a beginning, middle and end. I write a linear story, without a lot of flashbacks or interior monologues, what a character is thinking or feeling, and I suppose these plot-strong tales of mine convert more readily into images than a more 'literary' novel."

Films made from Glendon's novels (click on for more information) 
Seventh Cavalry (Columbia Pictures, 1956)
They Came To Cordura (Columbia, 1959)
Where The Boys Are (MGM, 1960)
Bless the Beasts & Children (Columbia, 1972)
The Shootist (Paramount Pictures, 1976)
A Christmas To Remember (CBS-TV, 1978)
Where The Boys Are '84 (MGM, 1984)
Mulligans! (1997)

His long-time British publisher, Tom Rosenthal, once called Glendon the writer "with the widest range of any American novelist he knew of," and just studying the brief list of titles above bears that description out. From Westerns about dying gunfighters to Christmas stories to contemporary comedies to a college-set drama which became the first and most famous of all the "beach pictures," there is just no classifying the creative works of Glendon Swarthout, no one pigeon-hole to put him into. He once said that he wanted to try all the genres (except science fiction), to experiment with all forms of fiction, for with a B.A., a Master's degree, and a Ph.D. in English literature, he knew almost too much about literary history and was constantly trying to match himself against the best writers of all time.

From dramas to comedies to mysteries to tragedies to books for kids, Glendon Swarthout never wrote a sequel, never repeated himself, never wasted any time on non-fiction or an autobiography, which made him difficult for readers and reviewers to "type" and follow. But across his tremendously distinguished, broad writing range in fiction, he has no equal in American letters this past century. Glendon was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction by his publishers and won a number of other awards for his novels, including a couple of Spurs and a Wrangler, as well as the Western Writers award for Lifetime Achievement.

Glendon Swarthout's Biography (click on for more information)


Glendon Swarthout's novels 
(click on these titles for more information)
Willow Run
They Came To Cordura
Where The Boys Are
Welcome To Thebes
The Cadillac Cowboys
The Eagle and the Iron Cross
Loveland
Bless the Beasts & Children
(Pocket Books, 25th anniversary edition paperback)*
The Tin Lizzie Troop
Luck and Pluck
The Shootist
(Berkley Press, 25th anniversary edition paperback)*
The Melodeon aka  A Christmas Gift

Skeletons
The Old Colts
The Homesman
Pinch Me, I Must Be Dreaming

Easterns and Westerns

Glendon's Plays  (click on for more information)


Further Sources about Glendon Swarthout

Contemporary Novelists, 4th edition, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1986, pgs. 795-797.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, vol. 35, pgs. 398-404.

Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, vol.1 Detroit, Gale Research, 1981, p.647.

Who's Who In America, 46th edition, 1990-91, vol.2 MacMillan, 1990, p.3205.

Contemporary Authors, First Revision, Volumes 41-44. (reference for Kathryn Swarthout)

"What Price Hollywood," by Edwin McDowell, New York Times News Service.

"A World Where Heroes Still Exist," by Don Dedera, Calendar, Los Angeles Sunday Times, August 14, 1988.

"The Westerns of Glendon Swarthout," by Miles Hood Swarthout, Persimmon Hill, Spring, 1996, vol.24, number 1, pgs. 68-75.

back to top


Glendon Swarthout

With his former grade school teacher wife Kathryn, they wrote 6 "juveniles," among which currently Whichaway is out in a new, revised edition from Northland Publishing. Another novella, The Button Boat, was chosen by the New York Times Review of Books as one of the 20 Best Books for Children published in 1969. In 1972 the National Society of Arts and Letters awarded Glendon a Gold Medal and Kathryn a Certificate of Merit for their accomplishments in American literature.

Kathryn Swarthout's Biography  
(click on for more information)

Glendon and Kathryn Swarthouts' books for young adults 
(click on these titles for more information)
The Ghost and the Magic Saber
Whichaway
(Rising Moon Books, Northland Publishing, 1997)*
The Button Boat
TV Thompson
Whales To See The
Cadbury's Coffin

back to top


Glendon Swarthout

Son Miles is a screenwriter working in Hollywood, who received a Writers Guild nomination for Best Adaptation for The Shootist in 1976. Miles has adapted a number of his father's novels into films, among them A Christmas To Remember for CBS in 1978, some of them owned by actors or studios but unmade, others still available, including a number of original screenplays and teleplays for possible TV series. As a journalist, Miles currently writes a Hollywood Western column for the Western Writers of America's bi-monthly magazine, The Roundup. He also won a Stirrup Award from that organization for "The Duke's Last Ride, the Making of The Shootist," the best article to appear in that publication in 1994. Miles has also written several articles for Persimmon Hill, the quarterly magazine of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, among them "The Westerns of Glendon Swarthout"in the special spring summer issue from 1996, Hollywood and the West as well as in the sequel to this best-selling issue for spring 2000, "America's First Cinema Cowboy -- William S. Hart." Miles' interview with novelist Ron Hansen discussing the making of that author's novel-to-film, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, ran in the Winter, 2006 issue of Persimmon Hill.

Glendon Swarthout

Miles edited a volume of his late father's 14 short stories, Easterns and Westerns, which also included an extensive overview of Glendon's literary career. Michigan State University Press published Easterns and Westerns in hard cover in the summer of 2001 and this book is still in print and available. The first few pages of Miles' Spur Award-winning novel, The Sergeant's Lady, are also reprinted here. This 2003 Spur-winning Western novel is available in hard cover and paperback from on-line used booksellers like abebooks.com, alibris.com, and Barnes and Noble's used books website.

Opening pages of Miles' new novel  
(click on for more information)

Miles Swarthout's Biography  
(click on for more information)

Miles' original screenplays 
(click on for more information)
Convictions of the Heart

The Sergeant's Lady
Hard Travelin'

The P. O. (Parole Officer)
Surgical Affairs
John Wesley Hardin, the bittersweet truth
Big Man On Campus

Miles' adaptations of Glendon Swarthout's stories 
(click on for more information)
The Shootist
The Tin Lizzie Troop
A Christmas Gift
Luck and Pluck
Skeletons
The Old Colts
The Homesman
Pinch Me, I Must Be Dreaming

Whichaway
Cadbury's Coffin

Mulligans!

back to top

HOME | NOVELS | FILMS | FAMILY BIOGRAPHIES | SCREENPLAYS
BOOKS FOR YOUNG ADULTS | PLAYS | POETRY | ORDERS | CONTACT US