Traverse the American West with “Lonesome Dove”

in Dove

It might be hard to imagine the American West as a frontier, now that we are accustomed to interstates, bridges, towns and rest areas. The days of saloons and high noon shootouts are a thing of the past.

Nowadays it can hard to keep a healthy perspective on the trials and tribulations of travel. If you want a book about the American West and reminder that cancelled flights and medical travel insurance aren’t the worst thing that can happen during your travels, look no further than the novel "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry

This large volume is an outstanding book in many ways. At its heart, "Lonesome Dove" is a book about a journey. This journey is a massive cattle drive from far southern Texas to the northernmost part of Montana.

I like to think it has something for everyone, including:

  • Superb character development
  • A twisting and engaging plot
  • Thorough examination of good versus evil

Detailed Review (may contain spoilers):

Two friends (both former Texas Rangers) Captains Augustus "Gus" McRae and Woodrow Call decide to tackle one of the last frontiers of the West and make their fortune by bringing cattle to the unsettled wilds of Montana. Thy experience the splendor and peril of nature in many forms. The travels include the deserts and brush of Texas, the prairies of the Midwest, and the mountains and dense forests of the upper Midwest.

McRae and Call have two completely different personalities; despite their differences, the two have a decades-long friendship. One might say they know each other better than anyone else. While "Lonesome Dove" is about the cattle drive, it is also about the friends’ journey through aging and adversity.

The cowboys encounter attacks from Indians, including a bandit named Blue Duck who has established himself as Gus and Call’s mortal enemy. Surviving the attacks only part of the adversity; the pair also tackle the most dangerous foe of all: the frontier. The weather and the terrain make the journey life-threatening at times.

The secondary characters are also interesting:

· Dish Bogget is strives to earn his reputation as a top hand.

· Lorena Wood is a seductive love interest.

· Pea Eye Parker faithfully balances his devotion between Gus and Call.

· Newt battles to fit in and prove himself on his first cattle drive.

"Lonesome Dove" strikes a profound balance between breathless admiration, somber respect and mirthful hatred of the western frontier. The poetic prose portrays the beauty of the mountains as well as the dangers of being completely vulnerable on the prairie. A great study guide on “Lonesome Dove” can be found at

Author Box
Blake Fields has 8 articles online

Blake Fields has read this book, and watched the movie. They both will completely captivate you, and draw you into there world. It's a must read if you ask me.

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Traverse the American West with “Lonesome Dove”

This article was published on 2011/09/22