On the top shelf, back in the upper right hand corner sits Lonesome Dove, the 1985 Pulitzer Prize winner by Larry McMurtry. Who could forget Lonesome Dove? A blockbuster movie, television series, country music iconic song all attributed to McMurtry’s storytelling. All of the elements of a great western epic are incorporated in Lonesome Dove. Texas Rangers, a love story, Indians, a lawless frontier, and the sheer beauty and adventure of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. Recalling the pleasure of reading Lonesome Dove brings into focus the entire Lonesome Dove Series.
Lonesome Dove (1985), Streets of Laredo (1989) Dead Man’s Walk (1996) Comanche Moon (2008). Although written in the aforementioned order, if you wish to read them in the chronological order of the plot setting you would begin with Dead Man’s Walk ( set in the 1840s) dealing with the earliest adventures of Texas Rangers Augustus McRae and Woodrow Call set around the Santa Fe Expedition of 1841. You will also be introduced to Comanche worrier Buffalo Hump and several other important characters that appear in the later novels.
Comanche Moon is set in the 1850s-1860s with McRae and Call in pursuit of the Comanche horse thief Kicking Wolf. Also entering the storyline is McRae’s love interest Clara Forsythe, and his rival Bob Allen. Buffalo Hump leads the Comanche Nation to war with a detailed plot of characters and twist and turns moving through the Civil War and to Lonesome Dove.
Streets of Laredo is the fourth and final book in the series, set in the 1890s. Texas Ranger Woodrow Call is now a bounty hunter tracks a Mexican Bandit who is praying on the railroads. Gus McRae appears protecting settlers from renegade Indians and bad folks in general. Loves are won and lost; the paternity of certain children is surprisingly identified. Judge Roy Bean, “The Law West of thePecos” is hanged.
I read Lonesome Dove first, set in the mid to late 1870s but having done so my next step is to return to the beginning of the chronological order of the plots and pick up Dead Man’s Walk.
McMurtry’s ability to establish and carry forward characters reminds me of Tom Clancy with Jack Ryan, Jack Ryan Jr., et al. McMurtry has given us Augustus Gus” McCrae, Woodrow F. Call, Joshua Deets, Pea Eye Parker, Jake Spoon, Clara Forsythe Allen, Maggie Tilton, Lorena Wood Parker, Blue Duck, and Buffalo Hump. You will be fascinated with all of them.