I wanna do it, Gus. I wanna see that country, before the bankers and lawyers all git it.Lonesome Dove
— Captain Woodrow Call
is the name of a highly-regarded Western
novel by Larry McMurtry published in 1985. It was also adapted into a 1989 Emmy-winning four-episode television miniseries. It is considered the first part of a trilogy, with the second being Open Range
and the third being Broken Trail.
Two prequel novels, Dead Man's Walk and Comanche Moon were subsequently published.
In 1876, former Texas Rangers Captains Augustus McCrea and Woodrow Call run a livery in the small border town of Lonesome Dove. When their old colleague Jake Spoon arrives with tales of the unsettled territory in Montana, Call is inspired to drive of cattle there to start a ranch.
- Anyone Can Die: and how
- Badass Mustache: Gus
- Berserk Button: Do not hit Newt when Woodrow Call is around.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: When facing hanging, both Jake and Blue Duck decide to preempt their execution. Jake, who was being hanged from a tree branch, spurred his horse out from under himself before Gus could do it. Blue Duck, when about to be led from his fourth-story cell to the gallows, broke away from his guards and jumped out a window.
- Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie: Woodrow Call brings Gus MacCrae's body across the country so he can be buried in his favorite orchard.
- Cattle Drive: the whole basis of the plot
- Cool Old Guy: Gus
- Dies Wide Open: Deets
- The Drifter: Gus, also, Jake Spoon
- Driven to Suicide Xavier, out of loneliness, and Jake Spoon
- Emotions vs. Stoicism
- Genre Deconstruction: McMurtry intended the series to be one for the Western genre, but feels that a lot of people missed out on this.
- Grumpy Old Man: Call
- Heroic Bastard: Newt
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Gus and Call.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Lorena
- Maggie, Newt's late mother, who appears in the prequels Dead Man's Walk and Commanche Moon.
- I Ate What?: When recruiting a new cook in San Antonio, Po Campo asks Gus and Call to try something he made. Call pops it in his mouth and says "Dang, that's tasty!" What exactly is it? "Grasshopper." Cue Spit Take.
- Invulnerable Horses: Averted.
- Magical Negro: Deets practically is one.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Everyone, but especially Deets.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog
- Taking You with Me: When Blue Duck pulls his high-dive, he drags a lawman with him.
- The Lancer: Gus
- The Stoic: Woodrow Call
- Stuffed into the Fridge: In Streets of Laredo, the author discontinuously revisits Lorena Wood's kidnapping from the Lonesome Dove, in flashback in order to add in a characteristically gruesome scene where a child is kidnapped and burned to death, just so we hate the main villain more.
- Super Window Jump: Blue Duck throws himself out of a high window.
- What Could Have Been: Larry McMurtry originally wrote "Lonesome Dove" in the early Seventies as a screenplay called "The Streets of Laredo" to be directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring John Wayne as Call, Jimmy Stewart as Gus and Henry Fonda as Jake Spoon. The proposed film was abandoned after Wayne turned down the part on the advice of director John Ford. McMurtry turned the screenplay into a novel and used the original title for the sequel.