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Dead Man's Walk

(Lonesome Dove #3)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  10,123 ratings  ·  514 reviews
Dead Man's Walk is the first, extraordinary book in the epic Lonesome Dove tetralogy, in which Larry McMurtry breathed new life into the vanished American West and created two of the most memorable heroes in contemporary fiction: Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call.

As young Texas Rangers, Gus and Call have much to learn about survival in a land fraught with perils: not only
Paperback, 464 pages
Published October 17th 2000 by Simon Schuster (first published 1995)
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Prestonage This is an old question and I've only read the first 80 pages or so of the novel, but thus far:

Buffalo Hump (

Glanton (…more
This is an old question and I've only read the first 80 pages or so of the novel, but thus far:

Buffalo Hump (

Glanton (

Kirker (

are all based upon real life figures. (less)
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryTrue Grit by Charles PortisBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthyAll the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthyBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
Best Westerns
965 books — 1,154 voters
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryThe Time It Never Rained by Elmer KeltonMolly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She? by Molly IvinsThe Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtryThe Road by Cormac McCarthy
Texas Authors
651 books — 249 voters

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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,123 ratings  ·  514 reviews

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Dead Man's Walk: Where it all Began

When my Aunt gave my Grandfather Lonesome Dove for Christmas in 1985, I patiently waited for him to finish it before diving into the saga of Texas Rangers Woodrow McCall and Gus McRae. I thought it was a cracking good read. I figured I had seen the last of Call and Gus, though there was plenty more to tell if Larry McMurtry was of a mind to do it. Well, he was. Ended up with a tetralology, messing with my mind in the order in which he published them. Streets of
Mar 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Dead Man's Walk couldn't POSSIBLY be a more apt title, as this book mainly consists of two things: walking and dying. This, the chronological first of the Gus & Call stories, is a surprisingly harsh and brutal series of expeditions in the Southwest, usually involving hostile Mexicans, Apache and/or Comanche. The titular stretch of hostile ground in modern-day New Mexico is so fucking desolate and uninhabitable that it was even used for the Trinity atomic bomb test in 1945! The aforementioned ...more
My review for those who do not want to read this book:

Hungry, thirsty, lost, hungry, thirsty, lost, hungry, thirsty, Comanches, hungry, thirsty, lost, hungry, thirsty, Mexicans, hungry, thirsty, walking, hungry, thirsty, walking.

My Review for those who may:
This book, while entertaining, is rather repetitive. I'm not sure how entertaining it would be without having read Lonesome Dove first (a clearly superior novel). Strangely, both Gus and Call are bystanders rather than protagonists in this nov
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
While it was great to read about Gus and Call again - two of literature's more vivid characters - there seemed to be little point to DEAD MAN'S WALK other than "here's some more Gus & Call." While LONESOME DOVE contains not only great characters and stirring developments, but also meditates on themes of change, age and regret, here McMurtry seems content to just revisit his two leads and kick them around the old west for a few hundred pages.

Most disappointingly, in this novel Gus and Call a
Dec 12, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to smetchie by: overwhelming desire for Lonesome Dove to last forever
What a let-down. Prequels blow. I don't want to see my beloved, crusty, bad-ass cowboy heroes as young, inexperienced, frightened, blundering, bottom-of-the-totem-pole, young'ins any more than I want to see Darth Vader as an insolent, surly, teenager. It's not fun or cool or satisfying at all. I wonder if I'll ever learn.
Char (Tacky Genre Buff)
Some years ago, my friend Tressa finally convinced me to read a western and that book was Lonesome Dove. It is now one of my favorite books of all time.

Recently, I signed up for Audible, (to get a free audiobook, if I'm to be completely honest), and when I went to cancel the trial, they convinced me to stay on for a reduced price.
I agreed to it and immediately went book shopping. Thanks to my lovely GR and BL friends, (mostly I'm looking at you Bark and Spare Ammo), I stumbled upon and recogniz
Carol Storm
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really loved this "prequel" to the Western Classic LONESOME DOVE. In this story, Texas Rangers Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae are not seasoned veterans in the Wild West of the 1870's when the buffalo herds are gone and the Indian tribes nearly vanished. Instead they are boys in their teens, inhabiting a post-Alamo Texas where buffalo herds number in the millions and raiders of the mighty Comanche tribe can appear anywhere and inflict sudden death and unspeakable torture at any moment.

You might t
Bob Mayer
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lonesome Dove is one of my favorite books of all time. And a rare case where the casting of the mini-series was PERFECT. I've re-read the book several times.

Dead Man's Walk precedes Lonesome Dove timewise. We meet many of the characters when they are younger. While not as good as LD, it's still a great read.

The long walk across Texas is fascinating. I've driven it in my Jeep, I was so interested in it. Larry McMurtry is a master writer who has written a wide spectrum of books. I don't want to gi
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
i am not into Westerns but i have become a fan of Larry McMurtry. this is the second book in this series and i LOVE his style. i feel like i know the characters and wish them well. Cowboys vs Indians vs Mexicans. i recommend this and Lonesome Dove, so far. Nail biters for sure.
Wow. What a stinkeroo this turned out to be. In fact, it sadly confirms the suspicions I had of McMurtry while reading Lonesome Dove which is to say he has incredible skill in drawing you into a rich, realistic, dusty Old West atmosphere but lacks the ability to create a well-structured story. Also, contrary to popular opinion, I feel McMurtry -- at least in his Western novels -- paints some pretty one-dimensional characters.

This book triples the meandering of Lonesome Dove, which incidentally I
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This was the weakest of the series so far but it was still a good book. It was great to see Call and Gus when they were green and fumbling and it was great to see Gus meet Clara. Still, it didn't have the colorful characters that I loved so much in Lonesome Dove and Streets of Laredo. I was actually wondering if he wrote most of this as a background before he even wrote Lonesome Dove just because it was so much less entertaining.
Twerking To Beethoven
To be perfectly candid, the only reason I picked this book up is... I read Abercrombie's Red Country, loved it, and found out it was heavily influenced by McMurtry's The Lonesome Dove Series and Dexter's Deadwood among others, so I was like "why not?".

That being said, I know I'm supposed to type something else and give out further details about this book BUT, given there are some sweet reviews out there, and I'm not so good when it comes to reviews since I'm way better at being either a spoilin

A man could perhaps and perhaps all day, and not find his way to the truth.

I felt as though I walked across a very long desert by the time I completed this book. The prequel to the great Lonesome Dove, this book required staying power. Admittedly, I am not a big fan of westerns but McMurtry is a more-than-decent writer so this book entered my collection. But it exhausted me.

That doesn't mean the book is hard to read. Quite the opposite. But the title is very appropriate. Walking. Lots and lots o
Catherine  Mustread
The first in the four-book "Lonesome Dove series" can also be considered a prequel, since it was published ten years after the third of the original trilogy, Lonesome Dove, though Lonesome Dove was the first to be published in 1985 (?). This book follows a group of novice, inept and raggedy Texas Rangers, including Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae, setting out from San Antonio to Santa Fe, in search of victory and treasure. Instead they find much trouble, tribulation, and torture from other Rangers, ...more
Joshua Gross
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Like Lonesome Dove, there's a long journey through the whole book with a surprisingly short return journey. There's also a prostitute trying to get to California and some evil and creative Indians. This book, however, seemed more like tragedy after tragedy on the open range, where everyone is always completely miserable or in danger. Then things got weird and the book was suddenly over.
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
so far better than I expected!

Well, I'm glad I read this first because apparently it blows if you've read Lonesome Dove first.

I quite liked it; Feckless youths and scary-ass indians!
Not at all the romantical-style western I thought it would be.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Sep 07, 2016 marked it as to-read
Dead Man's Walk (Lonesome Dove #1)و Larry McMurtry
Angus McKeogh
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I haven’t seen the Lonesome Dove television series nor have I read the first two books in this series. I chose to approach the series with the earliest book in the storyline and I felt it was great. Interesting. Well-written. Continuously engaging plot development. Great characters. Sadness. Intrigue. An appreciation for living in the present. I’m really excited about moving on to Comanche Moon but I have some other things to get through first. Thinking I’m going to love this series after this s ...more
May 17, 2018 added it
4 and 1 / 2 stars

In this novel, Woodrow Call and Augustus “Gus” McCrae are just young men who have joined the Texas Rangers. On their first ride out to survey a new road, they meet up with Buffalo Hump, one of the fiercest Comanche warriors on the plains. They lose two men, and are lucky to make it back safely to San Antonio.

On their next adventure, the troop heads out for Santa Fe, New Mexico – over a thousand miles away! They meet up with a tornado. Gus falls in love with practically every wom
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
The reader meets Captains Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call in the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Lonesome Dove as tired old men, ready for one last adventure after a life of Texas Rangering. Here in Dead Man's Walk, the reader is reintroduced to them as young recruits to the Rangers.

Like Lonesome Dove and its sequel Streets of Laredo, this prequel is a hell of a good time. McMurtry turns a guilty pleasure genre into a rich, capital-L Literary experience. Though the thorough characterization in Lo
Jan 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Dead Man's Walk is one of the best Western novels I have read, not nearly as deep as Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian or All the Pretty Horses; but this is only the first McMurtry I have read, and I am delighted to find that there are so many more to read.

I am not very familiar with the Texas landscape, but reading this book makes me want to go visit Big Bend National Park and some of the other areas around West Texas.

At first I had a little difficulty separating the two main characters in my
Cindy Leighton
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: us-west
I do not understand all the whiny reviews. Not it's not Lonesome Dove - but what is?? I LOVED this prequel to LD even though knowing which characters make it on and which don't did ruin some of the suspense. I was completely absorbed in the journey, felt my heart pounding repeatedly as I read, and laughed out loud more than twice. What more can you ask for? McMurtry is one of few male authors who can include strong women characters in a book that obviously focuses on men, but make them genuine, ...more
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Not as nearly as fantastic as Lonesome Dove, but I'm determined to read all four books in the series.
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lonesome Dove is my favorite book (tied with Pillars of the Earth), and I had an urge to reread the series. It's been a few years and I was slightly worried my love for this series wouldn't hold up. I have no idea what I was thinking! For anyone not sure if they would like a Western, Larry McMurtry's writing style captivates you completely. You forget it's a Western... instead you care about the characters, and about their perils and triumphs. I can't wait to read the next one in the series, Com ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the prequel to the Lonesome Dove series, going back to the day that Call & Gus first met.
It's been many years since I read Lonesome Dove and I had totally forgotten what a wonderful writer & storyteller Larry McMurtry is. His uncanny ability to describe the bleakness, beauty, and harshness of the American West, as well as, weaving great characters, especially strong women, & historical facts into his narratives makes for a great read. I could hardly put this down.
Callum Hyslop
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I bought this book as i was interested in reading a series of books, however i don't think i'll be reading the next one, as i found this book repetitive, although well written, the majority of book is the main characters getting attacked by Indians, getting lost, getting attacked by Mexicans, getting lost, and finally an ending that did not please me.
Garrett Graham
This is for sure my favorite book of the Lonesome Dove series. Surprisingly it took me 4 days to read I usually take my time on reading books but this one just had me wanting to come back for more. The movie is really great also.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great story and the audio was wonderfully narrated. I can't believe I have not read Now ready to start on next in series which is a bit difficult to figure out as every list has the numbers of the Lonesome Dove series in a different order.
descriptions of scenery are fantastic - Characters that you care for and cry a bit at their loss for some of them. The harshness of the land is clearly felt. There is colorful descriptions of the Indians (Commanche and Apache)and their plight is often handled
Joshua Thompson
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Although tales of the Wild West aren’t anywhere near the top of my list of preferred reading genres, I found this to be a masterful portrayal and left me wanting to read more. Great characters and a great adventure.
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western, audio
It was with quite a bit of trepidation that I gave McMurtry and his Lonesome Dove crew another shot. If you read my review of Lonesome Dove you know how furious I was with the poor ending of that very, very long novel. Also, I find McMurtry's head-hopping narrative style rather annoying.

However, McMurtry does such an amazing job of creating characters, and I was (and still am) in the mood for good Western reading that I gave Dead Man's Walk a chance. I don't regret it.

This is chronologically the
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Larry McMurtry was born in Wichita Falls, Texas on June 3, 1936. He is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two essay collections, and more than thirty screenplays.

His first published book, Horseman, Pass By, was adapted into the film "Hud." A number of his other novels also were adapted into movies as well as a television mini-serie

Other books in the series

Lonesome Dove (4 books)
  • Lonesome Dove
  • Streets of Laredo
  • Comanche Moon
“-she remembered them kindly, for there was a sweetness in boys that didn't last long, once they became men.” 8 likes
“Well, boys," Long Bill said. "I guess here's where I quit rangering. It's rare sport, but it ain't quite safe.” 3 likes
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