Lonesome Dove
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove #1)

4.44 of 5 stars 4.44  ·  rating details  ·  79,160 ratings  ·  3,736 reviews
Lonesome Dove is a dusty little Texas town where heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers embody the spirit and defiance of the last wilderness. Larry McMurtry's American epic, set in the late 19th century, tells the story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana, a drive that represents not only a daring foolhardy adventure, but a part of the American Dr...more
Published June 12th 2000 by Phoenix Audio (first published January 1st 1920)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Dec 04, 2013 Aaron rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: any human
I was only willing to read this book because a friend told me I had to. When I was thirty pages into it and complaining to him about being unable to handle any more discussion about horses and beans, he made me a bet: If I got to page 101 (out of 900, mind you) and I still didn't enjoy it, he'd take me out to dinner at any restaurant I wanted in New York City. If at page 101 I had warmed up to it, I had to finish. I don't think I made it past the 60th page before I knew I had "lost" the bet.

Steve Sckenda
Oct 29, 2013 Steve Sckenda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Those who believe that story and character matter
They take no lip from surly bartenders, and they don’t rent pigs. Retired Texas Rangers seek one last adventure by running cattle from Lonesome Dove, Texas, to Montana in 1876. “I sure would like to see that country,” dreams Woodrow Call, a taciturn, industrious, and puritanical man of vision.

Woodrow’s friend and loyal tormenter is Augustus McCrae. Gus possesses a leisurely philosophy and loves to argue. “He’d rattle off five or six different questions and opinions running them all together li...more
This is one of my favoritest books ever. In fact, put a gun to my head and tell me to pick just one as my all time fave, it’d be better than even money that Lonesome Dove would be the one I’d name.

It has the bonus of not only being an incredible book but of having an excellent companion piece in the television miniseries based on it. That’s one of the great all-time fusions of print and film. I can’t read this without hearing the voices of Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Anjelica Huston, Chris...more
My favorite book of all time and the best book ever written in the English language. It was so engrossing and the characters so compelling and the adventures so entertaining, that I wanted to read it in one sitting. It's one of those reads that I envy others who have yet to read it.

Gus and Call are two of the most memorable characters in American fiction. They are the yin & yang of cowboys: one caring and comical, the other cold and unemotional.

Blue Duck is one of the most evil characters I...more
The earth is mostly just a boneyard. But pretty in the sunlight.

During a recent trip to the local bookstore, a discount stack of Lonesome Dove caught my distracted eye. Picking up a copy, I randomly flipped through to read three separate passages. And like an amnesiac, I promptly forgot all about the books I sought to find in the first place. Because this here was the book I didn’t know I needed to read right now.

At its core is a simple enough story—an epic cattle drive, not long after the Civil...more
HEADLINE: Where do we place Lonesome Dove and Gone With the Wind within the American Canon?

Who gives a damn? Really. What do we care? Here is what we do with Lonesome Dove and Gone With the Wind. We read them.

Half way through Lonesome Dove Augustus McCrae rides into the breaks of the Canadian River. He is tracking Blue Duck who has kidnapped Lorena. He comes upon an old adversary, Aus Frank, a former mountain man and ineffectual bank robber, in the middle of nowhere. Aus is collecting buffalo bo...more
Thanks, Broadway street-book dude. Cowboys telling fart jokes and falling in love with sullen whores are EXACTLY what I want to read about right now.

Warning: This book will destroy you. I have never been so completely and utterly decimated by a novel. I don't need a book club; I need a support group.

On a side note: Maybe these are fightin' words, and I only ever read Blood Meridian, but I'll take McMurtry over McCarthy any day of the week. No Faulknerian pretensions, no torture-porn, no dogged...more
This book completely ravaged me. I didn't expect to fall in love with Gus, but dammit if I did anyway. McMurtry dragged me through every mud hole, snake pit, camp fire and stampede his characters endured. I felt every cactus prickle and tasted the beans and bad coffee. Who knew I could love the West so damn much?

Next to The Three Musketeers, this is the best man-love story around. Gus and Call are totally OTP 4evah.

I won't spoiler the story for anyone here... but there's a place in the book wher...more
Oct 10, 2010 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: born on a train
Recommended to Mariel by: two characters in search of a country song
My ex gave me this book with written notes in the margins of the book. He started reading it, anyway, and gave up. I've read that it is supposedly "slow" in the beginning, but I didn't feel that way. It's exactly the kind of directly into the psyche style of writing I crave the most (if the change in perspectives took time to get used to, ultimately it was complimentary of the other). I'm gonna have to buy a fresh copy... Okay, some people thought that The Wire was a slow burn and I never did. I...more
Feb 16, 2013 Maciek rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Everyone who enjoys reading
Recommended to Maciek by: Tressa
All America lies at the end of the wilderness road, and our past is not a dead past, but still lives in us. Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us the wilderness still lingers. What they dreamed, we live, and what they lived, we dream.

This is an epic novel, and the quotation by T.K. Whipple which I provided above is indeed an appropriate epigraph. It's interesting that Larry McMurty originally devised it as a...more
Aug 19, 2011 smetchie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: everyone who knows how to read
Recommended to smetchie by: Janet
Now this is a book. It's so good it hurts.
The snake part!?! Holy crap! I'm not aware of having experienced a more vivid moment in a book ever.
Everyone should read this book. EVERYONE! I don't give a goddamn that it's 900some pages and you already saw the miniseries with Ricky Shroeder. You still have to read it. If you love to read and you haven't read this book then you're cheating the fuck out of yourself. GET ON IT!
O BABY BABY. I went crazy for this book; it changed my entire vernacular. Penises are now referred to only as "old carrots," and having sex is only called "poking." Not to mention the fact that I now wear chaps and drink nothing but whisky. The cowboy life is my dream fantasy life; even with all of the injuries and general poor health. Never brush your teeth! Prostitution as a fine career endeavor!

One of my favorite epics; the characters are beautifully developed even in their own simplicity. O...more

Read Lonesome Dove the book. Transport yourself to Lonesome Dove the town. Taste the dry dust and sand of its streets. Meet its inhabitants. Respect Augustus McCrae and Captain Call, legends of the Texas Rangers. Shake the callused hand of cowboys with cowboy names, such as Dishwater Boggett, Deets and Lippy. See them dismount from their horses and walk bowlegged to the saloon for their evening respite of drinking, gambling, and whoring. Smell the dried sweat on every man's collar and the reek o...more
Nov 23, 2012 Hanne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: absolutely everyone (adults)
Recommended to Hanne by: Next Best Book Club

This book definitely earned its place as an epic classic.
It is that good! And it only keeps getting better and better and better and better. Really.

The first thing the author manages brilliantly is recreating the atmosphere and the feel of that period, so that even I as a 21st century European can transfer myself into 19th century America. I can imagine what it looks like, how it feels and how people go about their business.
This book is not a western. Or at least not what i associate with wester...more
You know how everyone says this book is great? Well, me too. This book is great. I laughed and cried! Well, not really, but I came about as close to crying as I've come since Where the Red Fern Grows.

I hope you don't consider that a spoiler; if you don't suspect that not everyone's gonna make it through this book, you have misjudged it badly.

It's the story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. There are a bunch of dudes and a bunch of ladies and a whole bunch of cows.

I blazed through this i...more
Sep 08, 2008 Monica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anyone with a little time on their hands.
Recommended to Monica by: EW New Classics List
Just finished this beast. All 945 pages of it. I'm trying hard not to overstate my love for this book since I just finished it and I suppose its possible that some of the shine could rub off of this in the coming months. But for right now, Lonesome Dove is the best thing I've read all year and it might be my favorite book of all time. Okay, so I'm not trying hard enough apparently.

Having read Last Picture Show and now this, I can say that I am totally enamored of McMurtry's style. His deepest gi...more
Sep 27, 2007 Aaron rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone and everyone -- there is no earthly reason not to read this novel
I am giving this novel five stars because Goodreads doesn't allow me to give it ten.

Somewhere between its opening images of two snakes eating a rattlesnake and its final heartbreaking depictions of a good man just doing the wrong thing, I knew that I was going to be editing my review of A Prayer for Owen Meany because it is no longer my favorite novel of all time. Lonesome Dove is.

McMurtry pulls off an astonishing feat: He makes 940+ pages of cattle driving immensely readable. Wonderfully vivid...more
Jeanette (Most of My Favorite Authors Are Dead)
GRAND! Just abso-fooking-lutely grand from start to finish.
All I can say about my first read of this book is that I read it after getting it for my daughter as a present (Christmas), but before I had to wrap it. Probably my fastest read ever of a near-1000 page book. Obviously I liked it a lot.

So now here in Medora North Dakota (taking a look at Theo. Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota's Badlands) I picked up a used copy in a bookstore for fifty cents. Naturally I've started reading it a second time. This should lead to a slightly more interesting re...more
Jane Stewart
Great story telling. Wonderful characters. So different. I loved the personalities and relationships.

However, the ending was sad. Some good characters died. Some good characters lived. I’m in a down mood when I think about it. Some story lines were not finished. I wanted to know what would happen with several characters. That frustrated me. But the first 30 plus hours of the book were so good that I’m glad I read it. I will continue to think about it.

Texas Rangers in the 1800s fought...more
This probably wouldnt have been a 5 if it was shorter, funnily enough. But I feel like Ive been reading it so dern long that it earns itself another stripe just by familiarity. Its so nice when you've been in the same territory with a big long book for a while and it feels comforting to pick up and slip back in with the characters and plot with ease. I think you really feel your on the journey with them across the wide open spaces and going through their trials and tribulations. I loved Gus and...more
Adam Wilson
I started Lonesome Dove based on a recommendation and a desire to read something very lengthy, and not by Stephen King. McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize Winner delivers 100%,

and that is just the percent that I got the first time through. To my surprise, Lonesome Dove was a western, a genre with which I am not that familiar other than a

novel by Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour each. Most seem to be rather short though but this book is 990 pages (judging by the paperback version) and every one of those

A friend gave me a dog-eared copy of Lonesome Dove with the words, "It's the best book I've ever read." High praise indeed, but when I sat down to read the book I couldn't get past the first 50 pages. Dust and heat and dust and pigs and heat and pigs and dust. I couldn't have been more bored. I put the book down and picked it up again a few weeks later with the same result. I gave the book back to my friend with the excuse that Westerns weren't my thing, but my friend told me to keep the book. M...more
Finally finished it.

Well, I can see why this novel is so popular. Now that I have finished it and can look back at all that had happened to these characters and what their fates had in store them, I agree that this definitely was a standout story.
A day later, and I'm still thinking about Gus, Call, Newt, Lorie, Dish, Clara, heck, dern near all of em.

This book had a very slow start. In fact, if it hadn't been for the
tons of five-star reviews, I don't think I would have stuck with it. Some review...more
Apr 20, 2008 Vulgrin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone interested in the American West who has patience to endure a long novel
Recommended to Vulgrin by: Chompa
This is a hard book to review. Lonesome Dove is not a "story" like a traditional story with a beginning, middle, climax, and end. It's more like you are riding along in these people's lives for a while, until you turn up the trail on your own.

This isn't a spaghetti western with good guys trying to find the black hats so they can "head them off at the pass." It's also not about one of the great legends of the old west like Doc Holiday or Billy the Kid.

It's simply the telling of a time in the life...more
May 26, 2010 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Adam by: liz
Lonesome Dove is the best western novel I've ever read. It doesn't contain the sublime satire of Thomas Berger's Little Big Man, its prose isn't as beautiful as Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, and it doesn't engage in mythmaking on the same scale as McCarthy's Border Trilogy, but it stands head and shoulders over those works (the other western novels I've read that I consider really great books) in terms of sheer storytelling. The situations and places in Lonesome Dove are vividly rendered, an...more
Jul 27, 2013 Sparrow marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford
When Cowboys and Aliens came out, I was basically ecstatic – cowboys in space with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig? Yes, please! I didn’t watch it at the time because I was in school, but a few weeks ago, my snake-in-the-grass intern lured me to watch it. So, I can never get those fifteen hours of my life back. It was not like Firefly and Cowboy Bebop. It was a Western, you guys! Just a plain old Western with some “aliens.” It was like if Starship Troopers were earnest. Ugh.

Anyway, the point is t...more
Completely bored and lacking inspiration on any other books to read, I decided I'd pluck at the bottom of the "Klaw 102", a list of top books by an interesting baseball writer, Keith Law, who will also write commentary on his personal blog about books, movies, cooking, and anything else that strikes his fancy. I have read a few other books because he talked about them, and some were boring and some were good.

This is one of the best books I have ever read, which was certainly not an expected outc...more
I never thought I would enjoy this book quite as much as I did. It is/was so far away from my comfort zone but has turned out to be one of the most accomplished books I have ever read. The book is full of people looking for something. Love, fulfilment, adventure, friends, reason, peace. They waste a lot of time and loose lives making the wrong decisions. A simple description would say that Lonesome Dove is an epic cowboy adventure. Epic in more ways than one, the .epub file is 1400+ pages long b...more
Will Klein
Probably, and justifiably, McMurtry's most beloved novel, Lonesome Dove can be the story of a couple fellas getting old in a changing west- and when I reread (regularly) I admit I usually skip all the non Gus & Call stuff- but it's also an epic painting of the American West itself: almost every aspect of the Classic Western is included, kitchen sink as well, all viewed through the dusty and cracked glass of age. The west is getting old in this book, and there isn't a lot left of it. All of t...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Suggest best of Larry McMurtry 21 142 Feb 08, 2014 07:27AM  
Western Authors &...: Westerns 68 72 Dec 11, 2013 09:08AM  
Summer Goal--Lonesome Dove! 99 413 Nov 01, 2013 07:09PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Double check series order 3 31 Aug 13, 2013 01:14PM  
  • The Town
  • The Store
  • In This Our Life
  • Guard of Honor
  • Scarlet Sister Mary
  • The Way West
  • The Able McLaughlins
  • His Family
  • The Edge of Sadness
  • Honey in the Horn
  • The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters
  • The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford
  • Advise and Consent (Advise and Consent, Book 1)
  • Elbow Room
  • Lamb in His Bosom
  • Now in November
  • Dragon's Teeth I (World's End)
  • Tales of the South Pacific
Among many other accolades he was the co-winner of an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain in 2006.

Larry McMurty was born in Wichita Falls Texas in 1936. His first published book Horseman, Pass By was adapted into the film "Hud".

McMurty went on to publish many more novels, a number of which went on to become movies as well as a TV mini-series.
More about Larry McMurtry...
Terms Of Endearment The Last Picture Show Streets of Laredo Comanche Moon Dead Man's Walk

Share This Book

“If you want one thing too much it’s likely to be a disappointment. The healthy way is to learn to like the everyday things, like soft beds and buttermilk—and feisty gentlemen.” 153 likes
“It ain’t dying I’m talking about, it’s living. I doubt it matters where you die, but it matters where you live.” ~spoken by Augustus McCrae” 121 likes
More quotes…