In 1907, fifteen-year-old Ernest Dufault left Quebec for Montana, where he passed himself off as an American cowboy named Will James. Over the next few decades, Ernest would become a cattle thief, a soldier, a Hollywood stuntman, and a bestselling and award-winning writer of westerns. The cowboy was so successful an impostor he was later inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners. His estranged wife, Alice Conradt, would only learn his true identity when, at the age of fifty, Will James died and left his estate to a man she had never heard of: Ernest Dufault.
In Benediction, Ernest’s relative Olivier Dufault uncovers the true story of Will’s two years in a Nevada prison for stealing cattle. Using real materials, including letters, telegrams, and court documents, combined with his inimitable novelistic writing, Olivier reconstructs an incredible life where truth and lies were almost indistinguishable.