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Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

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LONESOME DOVE FREE STUDY NOTES

CHAPTER 12

Summary

When they arrive at their ranch, Wilbarger offers Call all thirty-eight of his horses if heíll give him the filly. Call refuses, knowing that she is a special horse that heíll probably never see the likes of again. Wilbarger also offers Dish a job, but Dish chooses to remain with Hat Creek and head for Montana. Wilbarger warns them that Montana is too cold, too full of bears, and probably Indians as well.

Jake goes to the Dry Bean Saloon which has put Dish in a foul mood, knowing heís going to see Lorie, and Gus has not yet returned. Call tells Wilbarger that his other two horses will be coming with Gus. Pea hopes that Gus isnít lost, because then there will be no biscuits. Dish observes that all Pea has to do to have biscuits every day is get married, but he tends to think along the same lines as the Captain - stay away from them. He does remember one time when he overheard an argument between Call and Maggie, the town whore and Newtís mother. Maggie was crying and even called the Captain by his first name, something that no one but Gus had ever been heard to do. Later, Maggie had Newt, and then, Jake Spoon moved in with her. After Maggie died, Gus came to the Dry Bean and took Newt home with him and Call.

Eventually, Gus arrives with the Irishmen who are riding in big, decorative Mexican saddles and driving another ten or so skinny horses out ahead of them. The Irishmen are a comical sight, because itís obvious they know little about riding, and the horses are so tall, itís almost impossible for them to get down. Gus had stopped on the way back in Sabinas and found Mexican bandits so drunk that stealing their horses and saddles was an easy trick. Everyone is not in the least surprised that Gus would stop off along the way, but they are surprised when Sean OíBrien, the younger Irishman, begins to cry. Itís been a long night, one which he didnít expect to survive, and the emotion of it all overcomes him. Furthermore, heís been expecting grass and snow now that heís in America and canít figure out why he doesnít see it.

Call leaves to hire some more hands to help drive the horses north, telling Gus he needs to move the horses upriver as far as possible to avoid them being re-stolen by any vaqueros who might think of doing so. Dish is teaching Newt how to rope, a skill the other men on the ranch donít know as well. Call tells them to keep practicing, because as soon as they get some cattle, theyíll have a lot of roping to do.


Notes

This chapter is a continued look at the various characters at the Hat Creek Cattle Company and what makes them behave the way they do. Call is a very serious man with the leadership qualities they all look to for guidance. His decision to stay away from women makes Pea Eye, who is also unbelievably shy around women, decide the same. Pea Eyeís thoughts allow the reader to discover some information about Callís relationship with Newtís mother. Itís very possible that he is Callís son and not Jakeís, as he was born before Jake moved in with Maggie. Furthermore, itís supported in the fact that Gus brought Newt back to live with him and Call. It adds a little suspense to the story.

The Irishmen add flavor to the sameness of the other men. They have all lived on horses all their lives and would never think of crying in front of other cowboys. However, the Irishmen come from a very emotional culture where singing is an art instead of riding. They cry easily as well, and even though itís embarrassing to the others to see their tears, they are a curiosity that none of the Texans feel moved to drive off. The Irish brothers are determined to do their share of the work even if it means learning as they go.


CHAPTER 13

Summary

This chapter is an explanation of how Jake Spoon became the man who finally surprised Lorena. She has never found one yet that didnít react in an expected manner until she meets Jake. She tells him more about herself than she ever told anyone, and he tells her he will do everything he can to get her to San Francisco. She also has never offered any of her help and comfort to any man before, but Jake makes her want to give him what he needs. She is also impatient for him to assume responsibility for her and is determined that he wonít leave Lonesome Dove without her.

Jake also wins Lorie with his manners. He tries to make her happy and talks to her softly about San Francisco. In fact, he makes her feel so important that by the end of the week, she makes it clear to any other cowboy who approaches her that she is a sporting woman who has given up the sport.

Notes

This is a very important piece of foreshadowing: Jake has so impressed Lorena with his promises and gentle, loving manner, that she is determined he wonít leave Lonesome Dove without her. This prepares us for the later situation when she decides to ride with them towards Montana. It also prepares us for a dissatisfied Jake who has spoken one promise too many when it comes to Lorie and will find himself taking her with him when he never really intended to.

 

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