Hamlin Garland was born and raised on pioneer farms in the upper Midwest, and his earliest and best fiction (most of it collected in Main Travelled Roads, 1891) deals with the unremitting hardship of frontier life---angry, realistic stories about the toil and abuses to which farmers of the time were subjected. As his fiction became more popular and romantic, its quality seriously declined, and Garland is remembered today chiefly for a handful of stories, such as "Under the Lion's Paw" and "Rose of Dutcher's Coolly." His only contribution to literary theory is Crumbling Idols (1894), in which he argued for an art that was truthful, humanitarian, and rooted in a specific locale. The first volume of his autobiography, A Son of the Middle Border (1917), was followed by the much-admired second volume, A Daughter of the Middle Border (1921), which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. He published several other volumes of reminiscence, all of which are once more available with the reprinting of the 45-volume collection of his works.