Born in Jamestown, North Dakota in 1908, Western novelist Louis L'Amour lived the life of an adventurer. He held jobs as a longshoreman, lumberjack, miner, elephant handler, boxer, and fruit picker, among others. During his years traveling he was shipwrecked in the West Indies, and was also left stranded in the Mojove Desert. And of course, he worked as a journalist, lecturer, and author. L'Amour's body of work includes over 100 books, several of which have been made into films. He won the American Book Award in 1980, was the first novelist to win the Congressional Gold Medal, in 1983, and was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. L'Amour married Katherine Elizabeth Adams in 1956, and the couple reared two children, Beau and Angelique. He died at his home in Los Angeles in 1988.