Ralph Owen Moody (December 16, 1898 – June 28, 1982) was an American author and actor 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 and moved to Colorado in 1906 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, 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 older sister Grace combined ingenuity with hard work in a variety of odd jobs, including starting a street baking business, to help their mother provide for their large family. The Moody clan returned to Boston some time after Charles's death, because of Mary Emma, Ralph's mother, not wanting to appear in court against a man she thought to be innocent. Ralph, however, had difficulty readjusting. Following more than two times that he got his name in the local "bad boy book," most of which were false charges, he left the family home in Boston to live on his maternal grandfather's farm in Maine. His later 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; this led to his first novel Father and I Were Ranchers, which led to a series covering his diverse boyhood and overcoming the rigors of growing up in the American West. His books have been described as crude in the language of the times but are highly praised by his 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.)

After a period in Massachusetts as a livestock owner, he called for sweetheart, Edna Hudgins, whom he later married. They then had three children. [6]


  • 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:

Play Edit

  • Me mums car! (1966)[7]


The image gallery for Ralph Moody may be viewed here.


External linksEdit

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