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James Oliver Curwood was born in Owosso, Michigan on June 12, 1878.
His first story to be sold was "Across the Range" for $5 to Gray Goose. He was to have may more stories and more than 30 books published during his lifetime. River's End was the first book to sell more than 100,000 copies in its first edition. The critics considered his stories with right and wrong clearly defined to be melodramatic, but they were popular enough to be translated in foreign languages and made into movies.
In 1909, Curwood took his first trip into the Canadian Northwest. For the next 18 years he would spend up to six months of each year in the wilderness, exploring, writing, and building log cabins.
Curwood was an avid hunter until about ten years before his death. While on a hunting trip in the Rockies, he saw a large bear he called Thor. He tried to shoot him three times in three weeks. One day as Thor approached him, he slipped and fell, breaking his gun. The bear reared up before walking away. Curwood turned from hunting for trophies to championing the cause of wild things.
Curwood had planned to live to be 100 by eating little meat, drinking no coffee, tea, or liquor, and exercising regularly. Instead, he died at the age of 49 on August 13, 1927 at his home. He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Owosso.