American poet and writer John G. Neihardt (1881-1973) possessed an inquiring and spiritual mind. Those qualities came to the fore in Black Elk Speaks, the story of the Lakota holy man Black Elk, for which he is best remembered. Over the course of thirty years he also wrote a five-volume epic poem, A Cycle of the West, which told the story of the settling of the American West. Despite Neihardt's widespread name recognition, the success of Black Elk Speaks, and a list of critically acclaimed books and poems, Lonesome Dreamer is the first biography of Neihardt in nearly forty years. Timothy G. Anderson describes Neihardt's life from his humble beginnings in Illinois, to being named poet laureate of Nebraska in 1921, to his appearance on the Dick Cavett Show at the age of ninety. Anderson also delves into Neihardt's success as a poet far from the East Coast literary establishment, his resistance to modernist movements in poetry, and his wish to understand and describe the experience of the Plains Indians. Offering insight into both his personal and his literary life, this biography reaffirms Neihardt's place in American literary history, his successes and failures, and his unbreakable spirit.