Carobeth Tucker was born in Coleman, Texas. She took a course in linguistics in 1915 at San Diego Normal School that was taught by John Peabody Harrington, a linguist, anthropologist, and ethnographer. Harrington was very impressed by her natural linguistic abilities, and they married the following year. She assisted him in his field work among Native Americans and learned from him, but the marriage was unhappy. They divorced in 1922. Carobeth moved in with and married George Laird, her principal Chemehuevi Indian contact.
With her second husband, Carobeth Laird recorded the mythology of the Chemehuevi people, which was published posthumously as Mirror and Pattern. Her other work included Encounter With an Angry God, an account of her life on the reservation with Harrington, and memoirs entitled A Texas Childhood.