Larry McMurtry's vast, wild epic of a cattle drive that is something more is full of action and unforgettable characters. The story follows two long-time friends and former Texas Rangers, Woodrow Call and Augustus McCrae at the end of the 1800's. Their lives as cattle ranchers along the Rio Grande have lost the excitement of their younger lawman days. They set off on a long and difficult cattle drive to Montana along with an outlaw named Jake Spoon, who suggests the journey, a dancehall girl, Lorena Wood, Call's son Newt, and numerous ranch hands.
Along the way to Montana, Lorena is kidnapped by a fierce Indian warrior named Blue Duck but is rescued by McCrae. Jake eventually abandons the trail as he takes up with several prior criminal acquaintances who then proceed to steal horses and murder “sod busters”. Jake is caught and hanged by his old friends Gus and Woodrow. Sheriff July Johnson is traveling from Arkansas trying to track down his runaway wife. They encounter a desperate and starving tribe of Indians. Call reunites with his old flame Clara and leaves Newt with her. The cattle and horses make it to Montana at last although the same cannot be said for many of the original riders who set out from Texas, as several of the cattle drive riders (including one very shockingly prominent character) die along the way by water moccasins, Indian attacks, gunshot wounds, etc.
Lonesome Dove is a long novel with dozens of subplots and storylines. It is emotionally draining to follow along at times. The reader may feel the achievement of reaching the book's end comparable to the efforts of the story's heroes.
This report prepared by David Fletcher