Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry|
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FREE PLOT ANALYSIS - LONESOME DOVE
The men of the Hat Creek Company have become more and more concerned about the possibility of Indians, especially Newt. Po Campo, however, is more worried about drought. That filters down to the men who look upon him almost as an oracle, because so many of his predictions have come true. He reads Gusí future in the manís spit and tells him he will have no more wives, because the sky is his wife.
Later, a group of Indians does show up, but they are poor and starved-looking, and Call allows them to take a steer with a split hoof which would have to be put down sooner or later. The old leader of the group raises his hand in respect to Captain Call as he rides away, and the event is the subject of much conversation later. When Gus points out that Call must be getting mellow in his old age, Call reminds him of an Indian named Old Bacon Rind who had fed them buffalo once. Now Call feels itís only fair to return the favor.
Gus continues to minister to Lorie who tends to sleep most of the day as she heals. She no longer trembles as much unless she thinks of coming to a town. As for Gus, he observes that an accidental shot during a card game in Arkansas had started all these things happening. It had ended up killing more than the dentist - it also killed Sean OíBrien, Bill Spettle and the three people traveling with July Johnson. So many lives lost so far and Montana nowhere in sight. He thinks Jake should have taken his hanging there. He knows that Jake canít really be blamed for any of their troubles except for Lorenaís, and to Gus, he deserves hanging for that alone. As for Lorie, she begins to worry that Gus may not want to stay with her after awhile, because heís made no effort to show his sexual desire for her. When she voices her fear, he calms her by telling her that she needs to stay away from such doings for awhile.
Then comes the grasshopper cloud. Gus and Lorena take shelter in the tent,
but the hands are caught out in the middle of it. Call tells them that
they have to just live through it. Newt is nearly thrown by Mouse, but
manages to hang on and run through it. It lasts for hours, but finally
the sky clears. When Newt looks around, he realizes heís alone with fifty
or sixty cattle and coming toward him is a group of Indians. They seem
to want his cattle, but Newt keeps saying no even though one of the Indians
points west and jabbers in a language Newt canít understand. They whoop
at the cattle and get them started west over his protest, and when they
finally stop, there is the main herd with the rest of the hands. The Indians
had meant him no harm and were, in fact, trying to help him. They even
tell Captain Call that they must go west rather than north or water would
be sixty miles away, a distance the cattle will never be able to make.
This chapter shows the Indians in a different light than the example set by Blue Duck. They are often starving and poor and are only seeking the same help they may give to the whites. Call remembers such a time when Old Bacon Rind gave him a buffalo, and now Newt sees how a small group is not there to kill him or steal his cattle, but rather wants to point him in the right direction. Itís a lesson against stereotyping no matter what race or culture with which we may associate.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Lonesome Dove".
. 09 May 2017