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Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

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The protagonists are Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae, the partners who own the Hat Creek Cattle Company. During the Civil War, they were persuaded not to enlist by the Governor of Texas who needed them as Texas Rangers controlling the border with Mexico. They spent the ten years following the Civil War in Lonesome Dove running their catch-as-catch-can company. Then, they decide to start a cattle drive north, because Jake Spoon convinces Call that Montana is a rancher’s heaven.


One of the antagonists is Blue Duck, the Indian who kidnaps Lorena, and of course, there are all kinds of bandits, Indians, and murderers they have to face. However, the greatest antagonists for Call and Gus are themselves. They both have issues they need to put to rest as they take this long journey.


The climax is the death of Gus McCrae, because after he dies, Call decides to follow through with Gus’ request to be buried in Texas and that decision has major repercussions on the characters Gus leaves behind.


Call buries Gus in Clara’s Orchard outside of Lonesome Dove, but fails to claim Newt as his son even though he leaves him in charge of the Montana ranch. The final dramatic event is the news that Xavier Wanz committed suicide, because of “that whore,” Lorena.


This novel relates the tale of two aging former Texas Rangers, Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae, who decide to go on one last major journey together, driving cattle north from Texas to Montana. Along the way, they lose friends and employees and come to some deep realizations about themselves. They leave the town of Lonesome Dove, Texas after Jake Spoon regales them with tales of the beauty of Montana. They travel through Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska and cross paths with good men and bad and reveal their own weaknesses and strengths. they fight battles with storms, Indians, and even the US Calvary is their search for a new life, and in the end, Gus dies of arrow wounds and Call find himself back in Lonesome Dove burying Gus.


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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Lonesome Dove". . 09 May 2017