An understated and somewhat old-fashioned biography of the celebrated recorder of Western scenes--by a father-daughter writing team whose family has been associated with Remington's Upper New York State birthplace for generations. Remington, born in 1861, was the son of a newspaper publisher and Civil War hero, and of a woman driven by ambition who both spoiled and stifled her only child. Largely self-taught--he was only briefly enrolled as an art student at Yale and the Art Students League in New York--the artist quickly rose to the top of his profession after an initial failure as a businessman in Kansas City. His drawings appeared regularly in Harper's and Collier's magazines; he illustrated Theodore Roosevelt's Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail; his one-man exhibitions at the prestigious Knoedler Gallery were highly successful. He was a fairly wealthy man by the time he was 30, dead at 48. These and other facts the authors present in a clear and forthright manner; it is Remington's complex personality that stymies them. He was a hard worker and a bar-frequenting idler, a glutton and heavy drinker, a gregarious back-slapper known for his towering rages. There is something sinister, for example, in his wife Eva's note to an uncle: ""Fred feels anything but desperate and you need have no fear of him."" The authors leave hints like this one largely unexamined, resulting in a biography that, while informative, finally frustrates in its reluctance to probe beneath the surface of the artist's life.