Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry|
LONESOME DOVE CHAPTER NOTES
July Johnson decides that because, in his view, all gamblers are lazy and
arrogant, he should stop in Fort Worth first to find Jake Spoon. It would
save him time and miles and help him get back to Elmira more quickly.
He also wants to post a letter he has written to her there. When he arrives
at the Fort Worth post office, the post master informs him that thereís
a letter there for him. He hopes itís from Elmira, but it turns out to
be from Peach who informs him that Elmira has run off, and she thinks
sheís left on a whiskey boat. July just canít understand it, but Joe seems
to know that his mother has left. That makes July even more confused that
the boy would know what his mother has done, but he canít figure it out.
Furthermore, Joe says that his mother has probably gone looking for Dee
Boot, his father, but July thought the man was dead. So, now he knows
that Elmira has lied to him and has probably lied to him about why she
even married him. He decides that he has to find Roscoe and see if he
knows anything more about Elmira.
This chapter offers a contrast to the plight of women by showing how women
avoided being used by manipulating men stupid enough to fall in love with
them. Elmira married July to get away from the buffalo hunters, but she
has never loved him. He, on the other hand, has fallen deeply in love
with her and feels great pain at her lies and her loss. He canít give
up the thought of her and can only hope that Roscoe will give him more
clues to where she has gone. Like Dish Boggett and Newt who are so deeply
enamored of Lorena, July is a lost soul when it comes to the woman he
The next morning while July is making coffee, he hears the sound of cattle.
It is a large herd, thousands in number, spread over the plain for three
or four miles. He and Joe head for the wagon riding with the herd in order
to ask about Roscoe. It turns out to be Wilbargerís herd, and they find
him sitting on a tarp reading a book. They discuss who he has seen including
any Texas Rangers. Wilbarger tells them how Call and Gus had re-stolen
his remuda from Pedro Flores, and that if theyíre looking for Jake Spoon,
theyíve overshot him. The Hat Creek Company wonít be in that area for
a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, Wilbarger hasnít seen Roscoe. He also
offers Joe a job with his herd, and once again, July is tempted to leave
the boy. He even thinks for a minute about going north with Wilbarager
to find Elmira instead of looking for Roscoe. However, in the end, he
keeps Joe with him and continues on in his confused state back towards
This chapter expresses some ironies of the story. First, even meeting up with Wilbarger who has come to know the Hat Creek Company is ironic, because the very man July seeks - Jake Spoon - is likely with them. Second, Wilbarger is an unusual man for the time: he likes to read and he reads poetry and the classics. Finally, July is so confused about what he wants to do and what his duty is that heads east back towards Arkansas when they leave Wilbarger.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Lonesome Dove".
. 09 May 2017