Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Published: 1985

Genre: western

Length: 843 pages

Setting: It starts in Lonesome Dove, Texas in 1876 and ends the next year in Montana

Interest: It was a Pulitzer Prize winner

Summary: We follow the adventures of the Hat Creek Cattle outfit. It’s run by two ex-Texas Rangers, Call and Gus. One of their compatriots from rangering days, Jake, blows back into town. He’s on the run from accidentally killing a dentist in Fort Smith. Jake talks up the land in Montana and convinces Call to take some cattle up there. Jake tags along, bringing Lori, the whore from Lonesome Dove, along because she’s pretty and he likes to be attended by a pretty woman. In part two, we add in the story of July Johnson, the sheriff o Fort Smith. He’s shamed into going after Jake, but he switches directions when he finds out his wife left him. There’s lots of adventures along the way involving weather, wild animals and Native Americans. Even in the open prairie, all the disparate characters run into each other, and eventually the cattle make it to Montana.

Final thoughts: A very enjoyable epic story about the West and driving cattle. It is quite long, though, and not gripping enough to keep me reading straight through (I finished the entire Paradox series while I was reading this book). There were several side stories that caught my attention, especially Lori’s story. She wanted to get to San Fransisco and thought Jake would take her there. Too bad he was all talk and no action. Since she was a working girl in a saloon to start with (that pretty much everyone in the Hat Creek Outfit visited at one time or another), and her profession was an important part of the story. However, there was no mention of “sex” or “penis” directly, so all the euphemisms employed in the story amused me. I was disappointed with the ending, although really it’s just the last few pages I was annoyed with. It felt like the author didn’t quite know how to end this massive epic so he just stopped writing at one point and declared himself done, even if the story wasn’t really at a stopping point.

Awards won: the Pulitzer Prize in 1985

Title comes from: The setting at the beginning of the story

Reading challenges fulfilled: All those pages and I only get #20 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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