Jo Sykes has enjoyed the kind of western life about which many dream. Born in American Falls, Idaho, she later moved to Livingston, Montana. While in her teens she bought her first horse and found a job on a cattle ranch, where she worked as a genuine ranch hand on and off for ten years—riding and breaking horses, building fences, rounding up cattle, branding—doing all the various things that need doing on a ranch. In the intervals, she attended college in Illinois and Montana; later, she spent a year tying dry flies in a fishing tackle shop, worked as a children’s librarian, and performed as both an extra in a western movie and as a rodeo clown. Of all her various pursuits and activities, her deepest interest has been in writing about Montana—the setting against which horses and dogs play key parts in the story. Besides wishing to instill an appreciation for the Western stock horse, several of her books—including Leashed Lightning and Trouble Creek—have sprung from her enjoyment of dog-obedience training and competition in A.K.C. dog shows and obedience trials.