Alan Brown Le May (June 3, 1899 – April 27, 1964) was an American novelist and screenplay writer.
He is most remembered for two classic Western novels, The Searchers (1954) and The Unforgiven (1957). They were adapted into the motion pictures The Searchers (1956; starring John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter, and directed by John Ford) and The Unforgiven (1960; starring Burt Lancaster and Audrey Hepburn, and directed by John Huston).
He also wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for North West Mounted Police (1940; directed by Cecil B. DeMille, and starring Gary Cooper and Paulette Goddard), Reap the Wild Wind (1942; directed by Cecil B. DeMille, and starring Ray Milland, Paulette Goddard and John Wayne, and Blackbeard the Pirate (1952; directed by Raoul Walsh, and starring Robert Newton and Linda Darnell. He wrote the original source novel for Along Came Jones (1945; produced by and starring Gary Cooper), as well as a score of other screenplays and an assortment of other novels and short stories. Le May wrote and directed High Lonesome (1950) starring John Drew Barrymore and Chill Wills and featuring Jack Elam. Le May also wrote and produced (but did not direct) Quebec (1951), also starring John Drew Barrymore.
He was born in Indianapolis, Indiana to John and Maude Brown Le May. His father was a public school teacher and his maternal grandfather (Daniel L. Brown, Sr.) and uncle (Daniel L. Brown, Jr.) were both lawyers. He first lived with his parents and uncle at his grandparents home at 3229 North Illinois Street in Indianapolis. He moved with his family, including his sister Elizabeth, to Aurora, Illinois as a teenager in the 1910s.
He attended Stetson University in DeLand, Florida in 1916. In 1918 he registered for the World War I draft in Aurora, and then enlisted and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. While attending the University of Chicago, where he graduated in 1922 with a Bachelor of Philosophy degree, he joined the Illinois National Guard. He was promoted to First Lieutenant Field Artillery for the Illinois National Guard in 1923.
He published his first novel, Painted Ponies, in 1927 (about the Cheyenne and the U. S. Cavalry horse soldiers).