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Saturday, May 25, 2019


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willjamesheadshot 72 dpiWILL JAMES - HIS LEGACY,  LITERATURE & ART

High School Auditorium
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Admittance by Festival Button Only

The Will James Society in conjunction with the Lone Pine Film Festival will pay tribute to one of America's great cowboy talents - Will James. The Society, is dedicated to Promoting the Legacy, Literature and Art of the great cowboy author, and through its programs particularly the gifting of his inspirational books to schools, public libraries, military units and hospitals throughout the world, and other interested and worthy institutions and associations.

Smoky Cowhorse 1933 Poster

James most famous book, Smoky the Cowhorse, was translated three times into movies. In  1933, Smoky, a Fox Film directed by Eugene Forde and starring - Victor Jory, Irene Bentley, Frank Campeau. This film was narrated by Will James himself. A 1946 version, released by Twentieth Century Fox and directed by Louis King starred -Fred MacMurray, Anne Baxter and Bruce Cabot. The final, released in 1966 by Twentieth Century Fox and directed by George Sherman starred - Fess Parker, Diana Hyland and Katy Jurado.

The Festival is very excited to be screening the 1933 original, Smoky, with James narrating. Following the screening a panel including Sharon DeCarlo, the Editor of the Cowboys North & South - Official publication of the Will James Society and one of James Society founders, Tom Decker will host30 minute Q & A.  

Will James Society

WIll James SocietyThe Will James Society was formed in 1992 as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. The Society's purpose was and is to Promote the Legacy, Literature and Art of the Great Cowboy author, Will James, through the gifting of his inspirational books to schools, public libraries, our military units and hospitals throughout the world, and other interested and worthy institutions and associations.

This years Annual Will James Society Gather is proud and grateful to be a part of the Lone Pine Film Festival. This will be the first time the Society has partnered with another event to share James legacy at our gather and the first time that one of James books, that was made into movie, has been honored and shared with a specific and enthusiastic western film audience. The Will James Society board and members are looking forward to the entire schedule of events at the festival. Some of our members are coming to Lone Pine from as far away as Wisconsin, Alabama and Canada!

The Will James Society is made up of ladies and gentlemen who grew up with a special love of cowboys, horses and the western way of life. Will James books and all three of the Smoky movies have been a part of their life at some point in their life. It is positive and warm memories that still live in their hearts and they give back by helping the Society and its mission of book gifting.

Some years ago the Society purchased over 6,000 Will James books with the soul intention of gifting them out until they are all in the hands of avid readers everywhere! Children of all ages love the cowboy stories and excellent illustrations that jump off the pages of these timeless adventures. This is why at least four of James books have been made into movies, - "Smoky" being the most popular.

All members of the WJS receive the Society's official magazine Cowboys North and South that publishes twice a year. This magazine features Will James art, photos and stories by many wonderful knowledgeable contributors as well as a schedule of events promoted by the Society.

Anyone who would like to see a school in their area gifted books is welcome to fill out an application for that school. The books and shipping are free. Please go to www.willjames.org for more information and applications for gifting and membership.  READ MORE @ https://www.facebook.com/willjamessociety/

Sharon DeCarlo
Born in San Francisco California, and from the time she could walk and talk it was all about horses and cowboys! Sharon’s first years were spent in Sierra Valley, California and south west of there in Reno, Nevada. Her Mother’s family was Sierra Valley Swiss Italian dairymen and later cattle ranchers enjoying the “cowboy life. Later Sharon and her Mom would move to San Francisco right next door to the Cow Palace, where all the Hollywood cowboys and rodeo contenders would eventually perform their skills as horsemen or promote their movie’s.

If they looked like cowboys and rode horses they were her hero including real cowboys, rodeo cowboys and TV cowboys. Will James came into Sharon’s life when she was trying to learn to read. Struggling with dyslexia, a smart teacher told her Mother to find something she loved with pictures and read to her. Her Mother got out her old Will James cowboy and horse books which were beautifully illustrated and that did the trick.

Sharon has been a fan of Will James ever since and her passion is to know everything about him. For the past 34 years Sharon has been the editor of her own horsemen’s magazine Horse Tales Publication and editor of the Will James official quarterly Cowboys North and South. Will James books are the foundation of her love of reading, writing and profession. She now publishes both magazines from her home in Gardnerville, Nevada.

Sharon has been a board member of the Will James Society since 1997. All three of the movie’s Smoky the Cowhorse adapted from Will James book remains her favorite horse movies of all time. Sharon sincerely hopes that the Lone Pine Film Festival audience finds Will James contribution to the western world of entertainment and movie going as fascinating as she has for most of her life.

Tom Decker
Hello to all at The Lone Pine, Tom Decker checking in born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. I believe I was about 13 years old when my brother Don handed me a book and said read this. The book was Lone Cowboy, written and illustrated by Will James. I spent many hours at the Toledo library enjoying every Will James book available. I was hooked! Later in life I attended the first Will James gather in New Mexico and became one of the founding members.

I was very involved in The Spirit of the Cowboy, Will James Traveling Art Show in 1985 and many other activities thru out the years  attributed to Will James.
I have and am currently involved with collecting, trading and selling his art work and books. I was on the Board of Directors at the CM Russell Museum in great Falls, Montana for 15 years 1999-2011. It's still amazes me how a runaway range cowboy wrote and illustrated 24 books for  Scribners, the finest book house in America. Will stood strong along side with some of the greatest Earnest Hemingway, Thomas Wolf, Marjorie Rawlins to name a few. My opinion is, his black and white art is superior to any and equal to that of the great Charles Russel

Will James
WJ typwriterWill James (June 6, 1892 - September 3, 1942) was an artist and writer of the American West. He is known for writing Smoky the Cowhorse, for which he won the 1927 Newbery Medal. Born Joseph Ernest Nephtali Dufault, in 1892 in SaintNazaire-d'Acton, Quebec, Canada. James started drawing at the age of four on the kitchen floor. He was taught wrangling by local cowboys.

In his late teens, he traveled to the United States with a new name, William Roderick James. During the next several years, he drifted and worked at several jobs. A turning point in James early life came in 1914, when he was accused of rustling cattle in Ely, Nevada and sentenced to the Nevada State Prison at Carson City for a year to fifteen months. During his prison term, he turned to his art for solace, and after his release he became one of the best known Western writers and artists. Between 1920 and his death in 1942, he wrote and illustrated more than twenty books and numerous magazine articles

According to cowboy and folksinger Ian Tyson, James traveled to Hollywood to sell sketches and began working as a stuntman in western movies there. Soon he was in the U. S. Army, serving from 1918-1919. He was a horse wrangler for the First Annual Nevada Round-Up in Reno in July 1919. He met and married Alice Conradt, sister of Fred Condradt, his rodeo business partner, while in Reno, Nevada, in 1920. Note: Tyson wrote and recorded a compelling and moving song entitled simply "Will James "and it is one of his most requested songs when performing.

wj washoe pic

He sold his first writing, Bucking Horse Riders, in 1922. The sale of several short stories and books followed, enabling him and his wife to buy a small ranch in Washoe Valley, Nevada, where he wrote his most famous book, Smoky the Cowhorse. It was published in 1926 and won the Newbery Medal for children's literature in 1927. Several film adaptations were made of the book, with James narrating the 1933 film. His fictionalized autobiography, Lone Cowboy, was written in 1930 and was a bestselling Book-of-theMonth Club selection. He wrote his last book, The American Cowboy, in 1942, shortly before his death and the last line he wrote was The cowboy will never die. In all, he wrote and illustrated 23 books, 5 of which were made into feature films.

James was inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 1991, and into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1992, on the hundredth anniversary of his birth. James was indeed a cowboy and “was a popular and cheerful camp mate and a gifted story teller around the evening camp fires. His cronies affectionately called him ‘Windy Bill’ for his talkativeness and ability to spin a yarn.” He learned to paint in the tradition of Charles Russell, capturing the “real cowboy.”

James died of alcoholism in Hollywood, California, in 1942.

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