Dane Coolidge was the son of a farmer and cousin of President Calvin Coolidge. As well as an author, he was also a naturalist, a photographer and a poet. He attended Stanford University to study biology and became the editor of the student paper The Sequoia. He went on to Harvard, but left after only a year. Upon leaving, he was sent to Europe for field collection by the British Museum, the United States Zoological Park and United States Biological Survey. That assignment resulted in his discovery of several new mammal species. After his first novel, Hidden Water, was published, he spent the next 30 years criss-crossing the Southwest in search of his next story, photographing cowboys, cattle and horses, border towns, lawmen, prospectors and people of the Old West going about their business.