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Lonesome Dove Study Guide

Lonesome Dove By Larry McMurtry

Gus McCrae, Woodrow Call, Joshua Deets, and Pea-Eye Parker are former Texas Rangers now running a livery in the Texas border town of Lonesome Dove with chef Bolivar and the boy Newt Dobbs, who may or may not be Call's son. McCrae is an adventurer with dead aim; Call is a workaholic who refuses to admit to having human emotion.

In Lonesome Dove, the group comes across Jake Spoon, a former comrade of Gus and McCrae who has been away for more than a decade. Now, he's on the run, having shot the brother of a sheriff in Arkansas. Spoon's description of Montana is romantic and scenic, and Call becomes obsessed with having the first cattle ranch in the territory. He connives Gus into going by pointing out that the love of Gus' life is living in a town that's en route. They prepare to go northward, recruiting much of the small town's male populace and stealing a bunch of Mexican horses.

Jake Spoon himself backs out at the last minute, having fallen in love with a prostitute and promised to take her away to San Francisco, which requires him to travel a ways northward before turning west. Coincidentally, the wife of the sheriff that Jake shot is going northward toward the same down that Gus' true love is living in. The three groups are traveling the same paths for much of their journey.

Horse thieves, murderers, hostile Indians, horrible weather, and their own inner demons plague their journey, which is not without a startling number of tragedies and fatalities along the way. Of prominent importance are Call's refusal to admit even as much as friendship with McCrae, and McCrae's torn loyalties between his friend and his love. Both flaws have profound impacts on the lives and deaths of their friends and employees

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