Ralph Moody (author)

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For other uses, see Ralph Moody (disambiguation).
Ralph Moody
Born (1898-12-16)December 16, 1898
East Rochester,
New Hampshire
Died June 28, 1982(1982-06-28) (aged 83)
Occupation Writer, cowboy
Nationality United States
Period 1950–1968

Ralph Owen Moody (December 16, 1898 – June 28, 1982) was an American author who wrote 17 novels and autobiographies largely about the American West (though a few are set in New England). He was born in East Rochester, New Hampshire in 1898 but moved to Colorado with his family when he was eight in the hopes that a dry climate would improve his father Charles's tuberculosis. Moody detailed his experiences in Colorado in the first book of the Little Britches series, Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers.

After his father died, eleven-year-old Moody assumed the duties of the "man of the house". He and his sister Grace combined ingenuity with hard work in a variety of odd jobs to help their mother provide for their large family. The Moody clan returned to the East Coast some time after Charles's death, but Moody had difficulty readjusting. Following more than one ill-timed run-in with local law enforcement, he left the family home near Boston to live on his grandfather's farm in Maine. His later Little Britches books cover his time in Maine and subsequent travels through Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Kansas – including stints as a bust sculptor and a horse rider doing "horse falls" for motion pictures – as he worked his way back toward Colorado while continuing to support his family financially.

Moody's formal education was limited, but he had a lifelong interest in learning and self-education. At age 50, he enrolled in a writing class, which eventually led to the publication of Father and I Were Ranchers. In addition to the Little Britches series, Moody wrote a number of books detailing the development of the American West. His books have been described as crude in the language of the times, but are highly praised by Moody's readership and have been in continuous publication since 1950. (The "crude language" is solely used as an accurate portrayal of the common language of the times, being spoken by the real-life characters depicted in the books. The stories themselves are well authored, being vividly descriptive and illustrative of noble values like integrity, hard work, ingenuity and self-examination leading to growth.)

After a period as livestock business owner in rural Kansas, Moody sent to Massachusetts for his former sweetheart, Edna. They married and moved to Kansas City. They had three children.[1]


  • Kit Carson and the Wild Frontier (1955)
  • Geronimo, Wolf of the Warpath (1958)
  • Riders of the Pony Express (1958)
  • Wells Fargo (1961)
  • Silver and Lead: The Birth and Death of a Mining Town (1961)
  • America Horses (1962)
  • Come on Seabiscuit (1963)
  • The Old Trails West (1963)
  • Stagecoach West (1967)


In historical order:

  • Little Britches (1950)
  • Man of the Family (1951)
  • The Home Ranch (1956)
  • Mary Emma & Company (1961)
  • The Fields of Home (1953)
  • Shaking the Nickel Bush (1962)
  • The Dry Divide (1963)
  • Horse of a Different Color (1968)


  • The Valley of the Moon (1966)[2]


  1. ^ [1] City of Littleton. 23 February 2008.
  2. ^ Hackett, Raymond W.; Ralph Moody; Bohemian Club. The Valley of the Moon, the Sixty-first Grove Play. 1966

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