Louis L'Amour is internationally renowned for his authentic novels about the American West, over 45 of which were later adapted into Hollywood films such as Hondo. Before becoming an author in 1951, the North Dakota native lived much of what he wrote about, having worked as a prospector, cattle skinner, logger, journalist and a boxer. For his valuable contribution to popular American literature, L'Amour was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the U.S. Congress in 1983, making him the first novelist ever to win the prestigious honor. The following year President Reagan awarded him the Medal of Freedom. He has also earned the North Dakota Roughrider Award.