Frederick (Fred) Benjamin Gipson, author, was born on a farm near Mason, Texas, on February 7, 1908, the son of Beck and Emma Deishler Gipson. He graduated from Mason High School in 1926 and after working at a variety of farming and ranching jobs entered the University of Texas in 1933. There he wrote for the Daily Texan and the Ranger,but he left school before graduating to become a reporter for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in 1937. A year later he worked for the San Angelo Standard-Times, then briefly for the Denver Post. Soon afterward he began to sell stories and articles to pulp Western magazines and to such slick magazines as Liberty and Look. By 1944 Gipson had published a story in the Southwest Review, Many of his short stories appearing in that journal in the 1940s were prototypes for the longer works of fiction that followed.
His first full-length book, The Fabulous Empire: Colonel Zack Miller's Story (1946), was moderately successful (25,000 copies sold), but it was his Hound-Dog Man (1949)that established Gipson's reputation when it became a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and sold over 250,000 copies in its first year of publication. Many critics and general readers maintain that Hound-Dog Man was Gipson's best work, and it remains popular with a large audience. The Hill Country writer earned increasing attention for the rapid succession of books that followed: The Home Place (1950; later filmed as Return of the Texan); Big Bend: A Homesteader's Story (1952), with J. O. Langford; Cowhand: The Story of a Working Cowboy (1953); The Trail-Driving Rooster (1955); Recollection Creek (1955); Old Yeller (1956); and Savage Sam (1962).