Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Lonesome Dove– 1986 winner of the Pulitzer Prize– is a true western epic… a tale that brings into focus, the final days of the legendary wild west.
Retired Texas Rangers, Captain Augustus McCrae and Captain Woodrow Call are renowned American heroes for their service in defending and protecting the changing US border. Feared by most everyone, they are idling away their time on a small ranch in the one-street-village of Lonesome Dove. Gus McCrae is an educated amateur philosopher, a drinker, and a lady’s man. Captain Call is a quiet, stubborn, hard working, self-sufficient loner.
Everything was going just fine in their lives until a fellow ranger- smooth talking Jake Spoon- enters the narrative. Convincing them to make one last adventurous jaunt; a cattle drive to the wilds of unclaimed territory in Montana. Never mind that they had no cattle. It took only several days to raid ranches south of the border and steal 2000 head of steer and enough horses to make the 3000 mile journey. What is a warrior to do when there are no more battles to fight?
They quickly became the Hat Creek Cattle Company… and as a a crew of 15, they packed, saddled up, and set out for Montana. Members included the three Rangers, their young protégé, a Mexican cook, four young farm boys, two Irish brothers, and a handful of experienced cowboys. But at the very last minute, Jake decides to drag along Lonesome Dove’s pretty resident prostitute, Lorena.
Like soldiers of yore who romanticized going to war, the Hat Creek crew shared the incredible excitement of embarking on this historical adventure. Little did they understand the hardship and heartbreak that were in store; traveling unsheltered during sandstorms, lightening and snow storms, reckoning with wild bears, mosquitoes, and water moccasins, squabbles and conflicts, outlaws and a infamous renegade Indian named Blue Duck who “murdered and raped women, stole children, burned houses, shot men, ran off horses, killed cattle and robbed whenever he pleased”.
Lonesome Dove starts slow… mainly due to McMurtry’s penchant for detail and heavy character development. But his early investment pays big dividends… taking this lengthy tale to a whole new level in the western genre. Do not shy away from this book because you have never been an avid fan of westerns. Unlike many of them, this book is not just an action packed shoot-em-out drama about the good guys outsmarting and out-muscling the bad guys. Lonesome Dove presents a realistic vision of what life was like on the American frontier. Humor, drama, love, loss, sorrow, and tragedy… this book has it all!
Rated 4.5 Stars
All contents © 2010 Lois Weisberg. All rights reserved.