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Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove #1)

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  124,449 Ratings  ·  5,843 Reviews
A love story, an adventure, and an epic of the frontier, Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize winning classic, Lonesome Dove, the third book in the Lonesome Dove tetralogy, is the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America. Journey to the dusty little Texas town of Lonesome Dove and meet an unforgettable assortment of heroes and outlaws, whores and ...more
Paperback, 25th Anniversary Edition, 858 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Simon Schuster (first published 1985)
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Popular Answered Questions
Jason No. There isn't.

Blood Meridian is the typical answer to this question and while Blood Meridian is an exceptional novel, it isn't as personal or as…more
No. There isn't.

Blood Meridian is the typical answer to this question and while Blood Meridian is an exceptional novel, it isn't as personal or as grand as Lonesome Dove. Lonesome Dove is simply the best.

On a personal note, I do not believe Blood Meridian is Cormac McCarthy's best western. I would recommend All the Pretty Horses over Blood Meridian. It isn't a popular answer, but I thought I would share. (less)
Cynthia Yes, if you want to read them all, read Lonesome Dove first, then the rest in order. Lonesome Dove won the Pulitzer Prize and the other books aren't…moreYes, if you want to read them all, read Lonesome Dove first, then the rest in order. Lonesome Dove won the Pulitzer Prize and the other books aren't nearly as strong. (less)

Community Reviews

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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Update: Finally able to talk about the book.

This book touched my heart, made me laugh so many times, made me mad and made me cry.

There are a lot of books I would never have read if it wasn't for my Goodreads friends, but the two most memorable and that have made it to my favorites list are:

The Conte Of Monte Cristo and Lonesome Dove

I loved so many characters in this book and I feel like I have been on that journey with them. I kept wishing they would have stayed in Texas or at least stopped
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.

Larry McMurtry is considered one of America's master story tellers. His novels include Terms of Endearment and The Last Picture Show, as well as the screenplay to Brokeback Mountain, which later became award winning films. A revered author in Texas, he was invited by former First Lady Laura Bush to be a special guest speaker at the first annual Texas Book Festival. It seems fitting that I began his definitive work, Pulitzer winning Lonesome Dove, on his birthday, June 3. A story of Texas Rangers ...more
Bill  Kerwin
Feb 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The account of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. This is a very long novel which is nevertheless always compelling. It contains memorable characters whose adventures are narrated in a deceptively straightforward style.

What impresses me most about this book is that the fates of the characters are neither cornily predictable nor deliberately surprising. The book's great length allows life to happen to them as it happens to all of us. We have the leisure to observe them carefully, and we are gl
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favoritest books ever. In fact, put a gun to my head and tell me chose just one, and it’d be better than even money that Lonesome Dove would be what I’d name.

It has the bonus of not only being an incredible book but also having an excellent companion piece in the television mini-series based on it that is 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 Cooper, Danny Glov
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Absolutely everyone!

Hands Down my Favourite Book in 2014

First of all the physical; the book I see looking up at me from my coffee table. It looks worn, well thumbed, well read, pages and cover alike, beginning to curl up, and soiled by use. Well that and all the casual (I take books with me) acquaintances, to the one, they all had to pick it up, look it over. It may look well rode, but it still feels soft, warm and pliant in my hand. The stars twinkle up at me from the cover and I wish, I wish, I wish it wasn’t ov
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“If you read only one western novel in your life, read Lonesome Dove.”
—USA Today

Above statement seemed a bit too much to me before reading the book but not after reading it.

My first time reading a Pulitzer winner and it is truly an epic story in every sense. A book that left me happy, sad, angry, and teary at times.

Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call are two retired rangers who run a cattle company in a small town called Lonesome Dove. Whereas Augustus is very talkative Call is the opposite, tal
Dan Schwent
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joe Valdez
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
My introduction to the fiction of Larry McMurtry is Lonesome Dove, consistently ranked as one of the best westerns whether the conversation is print or television. Published the year of the Texas Sesquicentennial in 1985 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the following year, the magnum opus is a magnificent exploration of male friendship, with a dozen supporting characters of both genders who McMurtry could've dedicated a novella to (and often attempts to over 857 pages). The bantering ...more
Dec 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy reading: but McMurtry asks way too much. This epic tale spans thousands of miles from the Old West (Texas) to the as-of-yet-up-for-grabs land of Montana. The characters are endearing; these are the premiere & authentic cowboys. The best stuff here is the campfire philosophy of Gus, and his incredible relationship with the solemn Woodrow Call is the stuff that legend is made of. The book refuses to end though, and despite the authenticity of this far away world (it is the Lord of the ...more
Jul 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: westerns
Lonesome Dove is my favorite book of all time and, when asked, is what I consider to be the greatest American novel ever written. 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.

Dirk Grobbelaar

Gus and his pig were aggravating company.

When I finished this, yesterday evening, I was filled by a tremendous sense of melancholy, not just because the book was finally finished, but because of its introspective nature. By far one of the best I’ve read, Lonesome Dove is a dense book in more ways than one, and runs a gamut of emotions that will leave you feeling giddy. Hysterically funny the one moment, heartbreakingly tragic the next, it alternately delighted and depressed me to an extent I hav
Jan 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Dec 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lynne King
When Augustus came out of the porch the blue pigs were eating a rattlesnake – not a very big one. It had probably just been crawling around looking for shade when it ran into pigs. They were having a fine tug-of-war with it, and its rattling days were over. The sow had it by the neck, and the shoat had the tail.

I’ve had a first here in that I’ve done a complete U-turn on a book. I had serious doubts from page 1, especially when I read the above opening paragraph. Rattlesnakes, sows and young p
Helene Jeppesen
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 stars.
It was a refreshing experience to read a western, and I loved “Lonesome Dove” a lot! It contains a vast set of lovable characters, it’s set in Texas and it follows a bunch of cowboys’ journey through the wilderness of America with a whole bunch of cattle and some dangerous encounters with blood-thirsty Indians - what’s not to love?
Only a few passages felt a little weak in my eyes, and I was expecting a bit more from the ending. I think that’s because people have been telling me tha
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wild-west, favorites
Quite simply a stunning achievement, the most compelling novel I’ve read all year. The relationship between the two old Texas Rangers, Call and McCrae has to be one of my favourites in all literature. Both are brilliant character studies of archetypal men – Cal, infuriatingly silent, emotionally shy, almost retarded in his refusal to allow feeling, McCrae, prone to excess drinking, lazy and vain about his scant erudition. The bond they share becomes more and more moving as the novel progresses. ...more
May 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
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All the Stars
“If you only read one western novel in your life, read Lonesome Dove.” – USA Today
It’s right there in bold print, on the back cover. And while I’m fairly new to the genre, I would wholeheartedly agree. This is a quintessential American tale. Really what’s more American, than striking out into parts unknown to make a fresh go of it? This country was founded by explorers, thrill-seekers, risk-takers; it’s in our DNA, our blood & bones. And what better place to tackle, than that
Why is it that I always struggle to write a "review" for the books I love the most?

I fell in love with Lonesome Dove. Hard. I know this is a book I will revist many times in the future. Hell, it's the kind of books that make me want to have children just so I can read it to them!

It is magnificent, it is heartbreaking, uplifting, funny, inspirational, cruel. While telling a simple story and being surprisingly easy and fast to read, it is also profound and emotionally exhausting.
Lonesome Dove is a
Oct 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
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
Edward Lorn
Jan 10, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paperbacks
DNF @ 275 pages.

I've been sitting around the house today (enjoying my new couch... IT CAME!) and thinking of things to do other than reading this book. I've been watching book reviews on YouTube and tweeting about this whole Donald Trump #passingwatergate and #goldenshowers and simply ignoring this boring-as-fuck 945 page novel. I was only doing 30 pages a day. Easy enough, right? Well, not so much.

I realized something this afternoon. I'm a fucking moron. Now, while some of you will agree with t
Oct 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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!
This is a book worth reading. It's simple yet complex, it's beautiful but cruel, and it's filled with the type of characters that are real and flawed and human. There's a bleakness to this book that is interspersed with life and humor at the most necessary of times, which was surprising and delightful. It was long, and I traveled far in this book, but now that I'm done with it, I kinda just have the urge to cry because I'm not sure I wanted it to be over.

I kinda loved this book.

Gus and Call ar
Jun 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“What’s that you’re reading?”

“Erm, it’s a book about some cowboys who move some cows across a country.”

“Looks like you’ve got a bit of a sweat on, you alright?”

“Yeah, it’s just taking a fair amount of effort to hold up this book. It’s nearly 1000 pages long!”

“So let me get this straight, you’re reading a book about a cattle drive that is longer than the phonebook?”

“Yeah, that about sums it up.”

“Is that why you’ve got tears in your eyes? Bored to death?”

“Not in the least, it’s because the j
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, favorites

I will play the parrot and repeat what other readers noticed when coming across this one:


“If you only read one western novel in your life, read Lonesome Dove.” – USA Today

I have myself read more than one western novel, some simplistic, some literary gems (“Angle of Repose”, “Butcher’s Crossing”), but there is something special about Larry McMurtry, a combination of epic adventure, personal tragedy, humour and philosophy that entertains and disturbs, that touches both the squalor, the danger
All I can really remember 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. Maybe I can come up with a better revi
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned

I loved the TV series; I even own the DVD.

I hated this book. Too crass. Here is what I learned before flushing the book down the toilet:

Definition of a cowpoke, a cowboy who can’t keep his carrot in his pants long enough to move cattle from point A to point B, and all because they brought a woman on a cattle drive. I will never look at the word “carrot” or “poke” in the same way again.

After one hundred pages, a couple of reviewers said that this book picks up. No, it doesn’t. It is like real lif
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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
More about Larry McMurtry

Other books in the series

Lonesome Dove (4 books)
  • Streets of Laredo
  • Dead Man's Walk
  • Comanche Moon
“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.” 262 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” 212 likes
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