American novelist Vardis Fisher was born in Utah in 1895. His parents were Mormon converts--although he later became an atheist and remained so for the rest of his life--who were among the members of the Mormon wagon train that traveled west with Mormon founder Joseph Smith. He graduated from the University of Utah and got his M.A. and PhD from the University of Chicago. He began having his works published in the late 1920s, and in 1935 he was appointed head of the Federal Writers Project in Idaho. A prolific writer, he turned out a long string of novels, biographies and poetry books, his best known probably being 1965's "The Mountain Man", a novel based on the exploits of a real-life mountain man named Crow Killer Johnson--so named because he made it his life's work to kill as many Crow Indians as possible, after a Crow raiding party had murdered his wife--in the mid-19th century, which was later turned into a hit movie with Robert Redford called Jeremiah Johnson (1972).
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