Lonesome Dove Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Lonesome Dove

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.
Click here to see the rest of this review

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.
The review of this Book prepared by David Fletcher

Chapter Analysis of Lonesome Dove

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 30% Tone of story    -   very upbeat Time/era of story:    -   1600-1899 Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Western    -   Yes Story primarily about    -   attacked on ride through the West

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Texas    -   West Prairie?    -   Yes Farm/Ranch?    -   Yes Farm/Ranch:    -   farm    -   ranch    -   lots of descript of animal care

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very gorey descriptions deaths/dead bodies Unusual forms of death    -   hanging    -   perforation--bullets Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Lonesome Dove

Larry McMurtry Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian