Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry|
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PLOT SUMMARY FOR LONESOME DOVE BY LARRY MCMURTRY
This chapter introduces a character who will be the ultimate representative
of the devil - Blue Duck. He brings in the mood of danger, because he’s
so sinister. Gus has a past intertwined with this murderer, and the fact
that he leaves Lorie alone foreshadows terrible events yet to come. As
for Lorie, she’s once again in a position where her life depends on the
whims and the decisions of the men around her. When she tries to assert
her independence by staying and waiting for Jake, it only puts her in
When Gus returns to the camp, he assigns Newt to go back and guard Lorie, which annoys Dish Boggett enough that he questions Gus’ decision. Gus explains that he didn’t want a gunfight when Jake returned to find Dish with his woman. Call arrives during this discussion and explains that the new cook will be along the next day. Gus tells Call about Blue Duck and that Newt is going to keep an eye on Lorie. Gus explains that he didn’t kill him, because he didn’t know who he was at first, and once he did know, it was too late to get a jump on the man. He says that he thinks Blue Duck is just after the horses, and he has sent Deets to track him and keep him away from their horses. Pea Eye is also worried when he hears this story, because he thinks this big Indian is the one that has tormented his dreams in the last few nights.
Call re-saddles the Hell Bitch and rides around the herd to check that all
is right. Soon, Deets rides up and Call notes that more and more, he is
the only competent, trustworthy hand in his outfit. Deets explains that
he lost Blue Duck, and he worries that the Indian will try to take their
horses. However, it’s a full moon, so they’ll have better sight of him
if he tries. Call gets his rifle out of the scabbard and begins to clean
it, hoping the act of doing so will make his thoughts tame down a bit.
But it doesn’t work. He finds himself thinking of Maggie, Newt’s mother,
and how she had come to depend on him. Something about her had drawn him
back to her for over two months, and he is still amazed that a woman had
had such a hold on him. He had finally made himself stop going to her,
and he eventually came to realize that he had lost the chance to right
himself, and that he would never again be able to feel that he was the
man he wanted to be. He wanted for none of it to have ever happened, especially
the boy, Newt, whom he couldn’t bring himself to acknowledge as his son.
However, he has never been able to forget the look in her eyes when she
asked him to call her by her name, to acknowledge her as a human being.
The fact that Gus cried over a woman who’s been gone for sixteen years
does make him feel somewhat better. There are other men who have made
mistakes over women and have regrets for not living up to their responsibilities.
In this chapter, Call and Gus make a major mistake by not forcing Lorie back into the camp. This decision reinforces the casual way men of the west regard the women in their lives. They are important to them, but they seem to lack some sort of humanity for the men who care for them. Women are necessary as wives and mothers, but they have no individuality in many cases. This was true for Gus who lost Clara, because he didn’t care enough to change his life for her, and Call, who was seduced by Maggie’s need, but was unable to fulfill it. Women are expendable in the lives of these men and in a world filled with hardships, they are often the first to die.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Lonesome Dove".
. 09 May 2017