Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry|
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LONESOME DOVE ONLINE NOTES
Suddenly, shots ring out behind Newt which cause the horses to pick up their speed. He loses all sense of where he is and what’s happening. Now, he’s engulfed in a mass of moving animals and sees a rider who is neither Captain Call nor Pea Eye Parker. Newt immediately realizes that he’s caught up in a herd of horses being stolen by Mexicans and headed south along with his herd which is headed north. Soon all the horses are headed northwest and Mouse, his big gelding, is in charge as Newt can do nothing to control the flow. He hears shots to his left and ducks, and then nearly loses his seat as Mouse jumps a chaparral bush. From then on, he concentrates on staying in the saddle with his head low. He’s surrounded by dust which chokes him but also affords him cover from any vaqueros who might decide to take a shot his way. He is reassured when he hears shots close by from Captain Call’s big Henry and keeps riding and praying to see dawn in the sky.
Eventually, the sky begins to lighten and Newt finds himself at the old Comanche
crossing of the river, only a mile from Lonesome Dove. When the light
becomes stronger, he realizes that they now have both herds of horses
and waiting on the bank of the river is Captain Call with his big rifle
on his arm. He discovers that the Mexicans thought their herd was a roundup
by the army and hadn’t put up much of a fight. One vaquero kept trying
to turn the herd and Call was forced to shoot him. It is good, in Call’s
mind, that Newt has had a little experience with nothing worse than a
dirty face to show for it. He’s also very pleased with how his filly -
the Hell Bitch, as the other men call her - has performed. Not only has
she been surefooted, she’s also resilient and not used up like the other
horses they’ve ridden. He heads them for home, looking forward to the
money he can get from Wilbarger.
The rite of passage that Newt has begun continues with a flourish. By stealing the horses from the Hacienda Flores and adding the horses the Mexicans were stealing from Texas, he has come through a dangerous moment that is oddly emotional for him. He not only learns how to be a man, he also realizes the importance of home and the security it affords. The irony is that the border is the only real boundary between what is right and what is wrong in his world. Call would have thought nothing of hanging the vaqueros had he caught them in Texas and the Mexicans would have willingly shot Newt if he had been caught in their country. It is the law of survival in the post-Civil War world they inhabit.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Lonesome Dove".
. 09 May 2017