Skip to main content
PBS logo
Want fewer ads?

Search - Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1)

Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1)
Lonesome Dove - Lonesome Dove, Bk 1
Author: Larry McMurtry
A love story, an adventure, an American epic, Lonesome Dove embraces all the West -- legend and fact, heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers -- in a novel that recreates the central American experience, the most enduring of our national myths. — Set in the late nineteenth century, Lonesome Dove is the story of a cattle drive ...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780671624613
ISBN-10: 067162461X
Publication Date: 2/28/1989
Pages: 945
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.

4.5 stars, based on 51 ratings
Publisher: Pocket Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 1
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

Gr8Smokies avatar reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on + 98 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
I have had this book for such a long time, and only read it for a challenge to read a big book. And this certainly qualifies.

But, the book was amazing. It is more than just a western--it is a character study and *what* characters inhabit this book! There are the Texas Rangers, cowboys, ladies, old and new loves, and outlaws. it is an easy book to follow and understand.

There were several laugh out loud moments as well as several cry-worthy ones. I now see why this book is so popular and why it won the Pulitzer. It is an excellent book.
reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This amazing book was sitting on a table in a cottage we rented. I ran out of things to read and picked it up. I had never read a western before and did not have high expectations. I could not put it down! I loved it. The story is mesmerizing, the characters leap off the pages. I can not imagine anyone not enjoying this book. It is probably on my top ten books list.
Kibi avatar reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on + 582 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
One word: magnificent, November 9, 2002
Reviewer: Candace Scott (Glendora, CA USA)

I have never been a fan of the literary western genre and confess that I read this book solely because I watched the movie based upon this book. Incredibly, the book supercedes the movie and McMurtry's characterization of Woodrow and Gus are truly stunning. It's the characters that turn this book into a compelling classic, rarely does the reader encounter such deftly-drawn and intriguing men as McCall and McCrae. You feel as if you are in Lonesome Dove with these men, and with them every step of the way from Texas to Montana. It's a magnificent journey and McMurtry is a superlative writer.
Even if you've never read a western book in your life, this is a literary masterpiece, the Shakespeare of the range, so to speak.
skywriter319 avatar reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on + 962 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Im not sure I can pull my thoughts and emotions together to write a full-fledged review for this book. LONESOME DOVE was a book that came onto my radar because it is one of my colleagues favorite books ever. He recommends it to every one of our students, he donated two copies to my companys library, he borrows those very two copies that he donated every few months to pass around to friends. Finally I happened upon an ex-library copy at a book sale and decided that itd probably be worth at least two dollars to check it out. I wasnt expecting the invaluable find of one of the best books Ive ever read, a stunning achievement of characterization set in the Old Wild West.

LONESOME DOVEs strength lies in how effortlessly Larry McMurtry conjures up a varied cast of characters. Easily a dozen characters take turns narrating over 900+ pages, and some of these characters really pissed me off with how slow/idiotic/selfish they acted. And I loved all the emotions that McMurtry was able to stir up in me. Spending time with childish Jake Spoon, depressed and selfish Elmira, damaged Lorena, and others made me realize how little I read from the points of view of characters I dont like, and how valuable it can be.

Oh, dont worry: there arent only despicable characters in this book. But no one is perfect, and theres not necessarily one protagonist to cheer on the whole way through. McMurtry breaks your heart by letting bad things befall good characters, or not letting bad characters receive their comeuppance. In the end, however, you understand why people are willing to follow Gus and Call in their endeavors: the two of them, so different in personality, are impressive leaders in action.

Most of us have seen a scene or two of the Wild Wild West, but Larry McMurtry really makes readers live it. McMurtrys Old Wild Wests main feature is the variety of rough characters one comes across on the road or in saloons, whores and gamblers and trigger-happy cowboys. A writer can write as much as he or she wants on the setting, but it is the people in LONESOME DOVE that really make you feel the dust between your teeth, snowblindness in your eyes, wet boots and socks through powerful Midwestern storms.

The characters in LONESOME DOVE are so strong that Im almost reluctant to say anything critical about the book, because I can forgive just about everything in light of such splendid characterization. But if I had to make criticisms about the book, two things come to mind. The more minor one is how incomplete the ending felt. It seemed almost like McMurtry was writing along, and then, around the 900-page mark, got bored with his story, while at the same time also realizing how successful it could be, and thus raced through the end, slapped on a few satisfying conclusions but also left a lot of things frustratingly open for a sequel.

A more major concern I had was its treatment of POC characters. All the American Indians that appear in this book are heartless, cold-blooded murderers; Deets, the sole black man of the Lonesome Dove outfit, is wise, knowledgeable, and dutiful, one-with-the-earth in a prophetic way. I get it that the nineteenth-century American West was not the most non-racist period in American history, and while I felt that the characters behaved synchronously with their time, I was disappointed that a twentieth-century author couldnt do better than rely on stereotypes for creating his POC characters.

Despite those quibbles, however, I still wholeheartedly recommend this book. LONESOME DOVE is an epic read that will easily be, if not the greatest book youve ever read in your life, then at least the best Western youll ever read in your life.
reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on + 330 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
When people talk about the romance of the west they must be crazy. The west was a hard and horrible place or so this movie shows us. A herd of cows, horses, green cowboys and two pigs from Texas to Montana where they encounter some rather rough characters, Indians, old lovers and live long enemies. I loved this book, loved how the characters would come and go and how the storylines built on themselves and then twisted back to the beginning to tell the whole story.
Read All 57 Book Reviews of "Lonesome Dove Lonesome Dove Bk 1"

Please Log in to Rate these Book Reviews

reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on
I really enjoyed this story although I am not a fan of westerns. The colorful descriptions and character development allows one to totally immerse themselves in the story. There are some hilarious one-liners as well. Highly recommend.
reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on + 16 more book reviews
Truly great novel. The best he wrote.
reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on + 10 more book reviews
This novel is just outstanding. Funny - I'm a 52 year old woman with no particular love of westerns, yet I couldn't put this down. The characters are beautifully drawn and the dramatic events both shocking and absolutely real. There is not a cliche in it. It takes you out of our spoiled, self-centered modern world to a place of true character, brotherhood and raw survival. It is also a very witty book. Reading it prompted me to rent the TV mini-series, which is very faithful to the original and considered one of the best mini-series ever produced. It was also excellent.
I highly recommend this as a modern classic - check it out.
southchick-ga avatar reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on + 4 more book reviews
I've never been a fan of Westerns, but this is now one of my most favorite books of all time. This novel, with its varied cast of characters, speaks for itself. Go read it now.
Readnmachine avatar reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on + 1292 more book reviews
McMurtry's epic adventures of Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae continues as the aging pair set out to collect and drive a cattle herd to Montana, meeting and occasioally creating adventure along the way. McMurtry is overly dependent on coincidence -- his vision of the Great American Plains seems to be that they are like the neighborhood pub -- if you hang around long enough, everyone you know will show up -- but the sweep of the story almost makes you forgive him that fictional convenience.
reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on
This is one of my all time favorites.
reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on
this is a great book
reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on + 16 more book reviews
I love Lonesome Dove. The author also wrote Terms of Endearment. The characters he introduces you to in this little Texas town keep your attention to the end.
reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on + 588 more book reviews
A love story, an adventure, an epic of the frontier, Larry McMurtry's LONESOME DOVE 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 the kinds of unforgettable characters we have come to expect from the author of Terms of Endearment and The last Picture Show --heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers. Richly authentic, beautifully written, always dramatic, LONESOME DOVE is a book to make us laugh, weep, dream and remember.
reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on
THE BEST western I have ever read, one of the best books period.
reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on + 59 more book reviews
A wonderful story about life in the old west. The characters are wonderfully drawn and compelling. McMurtry at his finest!
reviewed Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove, Bk 1) on + 29 more book reviews
Excellent story


Want fewer ads?