Robert Laxalt grew up in Carson City, Nevada. He attended Santa Clara University in California and later graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno. He joined the staff of the University of Nevada in 1954, serving first as director of News and Publications and later as director of the University of Nevada Press, which he founded. He was named a Reynolds Distinguished Visiting Professor and was the first occupant of the Distinguished Nevada Author Chair. The author of seventeen books and many national magazine articles, his work has received international critical acclaim. He lived in Washoe Valley until his death in 2001.