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Literature / Comanche Moon

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In 1985 Larry McMurtry wrote Lonesome Dove, a Western novel about two retired Texas Ranger captains, the Stoic Woodrow Call and the Epicurean Augustus McCrae. After the success of this novel McMurtry wrote a sequel, The Streets of Laredo and two prequels, Dead Man's Walk and Comanche Moon.

Comanche Moon begins in what can roughly be determined to be the winter of 1856 and the main action of the story takes place between then and the late spring of 1857. The third section of the novel brings Comanche Moon up to approximately 1867 when Call and McCrae finish their last mission as Rangers and decide to retire to Lonesome Dove where they are at the begin of the first novel.

Because this novel bridges the gap between the beginning of their career and the end of it, it creates a few Plot Holes and creates a timeline that is slightly different than the one suggested during the first printing of Lonesome Dove.

This novel provides examples of:

  • Action Dad: Woodrow Call after Newt is born, even though he doesn't recognize Newt as his son.
  • After Action Patch Up: The whole city of Austin gets in on this after Buffalo Hump's Great Raid.
  • Alpha Bitch: Inez Scull delights in screwing with people's heads in the cruelest possible ways.
  • Always on Duty: The Texas Rangers become this after the Civil War starts and most of the soldiers and fighting age men go East.
  • Artistic License – History: Buffalo Hump's Great Raid in this novel is entirely fictitious but based on his real life one.
    • Buffalo Hump also was not murdered near Black Mesa by his son with a Mexican captive. He most likely did die in 1867, though on a reservation.
  • Awful Wedded Life: The Sculls can't stand eachother. Captain Scull is a decent, if eccentric guy, but his wife Inez is...well, "evil, sociopathic bitch" doesn’t even come close. Several characters remark that Captain Scull's Suicide Mission to recover his horse is really just an excuse to stay the hell away from her. He would rather walk into the empty desert and likely die in any of dozens of unpleasant ways than go home and deal with her shit. Let that sink in.
  • Badass Boast: Gus delivers a legendary one: "We are Texas Rangers! Our jurisdiction is wherever we happen to be!"
  • Band of Brothers: What the Texas Rangers become throughout the story.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Texas Rangers reason to be.
  • Break the Badass: What the Black Vaquero puts Inish Scull through.
  • Bring News Back: Captain Scull sends the rest of his troop back to Austin to tell the Governor that he's made McCrae and Call captains and that he is pursuing Kicking Wolf on foot.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The Comanches love this. But Goyeto is the MASTER of this. The Black Vaquero is its GOD.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Slavery was legal in Texas in 1856, and Inez Scull keeps an attractive black girl as a slave. Said slave is the most frequent victim of Inez's cruelty.
  • Dirt Forcefield: One of the bluecoat officers the Rangers have to work with wishes he had this.
  • The Dreaded: Ahumado, AKA The Black Vaquero. A Mexican outlaw, said to be of Mayan blood, who trades in stolen horses. The man is just straight-up EVIL.
  • Exotic Weapon Supremacy: Buffalo Hump's bow, lance, and buffalo skull shield become this over time.
  • Fed to the Beast: One of Ahumado's many terrible fates. In this case, it's to snakes and spiders.
  • Heroic BSoD: Everyone has one at some point.
  • Indy Ploy: McCrae and Call's plan to rescue Scull turns into this.
  • Little Hero, Big War: Essentially what the Texas Rangers become during the Civil War.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: The first thing Ahumado has Scull do when he captures him is join him in feasting on Scull's own horse that he had been chasing across all of Texas and into Mexico.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Twice Gus and Call are given the option to say they couldn't find Scull and return home. No one would think any less of them.
  • One Riot, One Ranger: Played With. With the actual Texas Rangers even! There's always more than one Ranger on a patrol but they often muse on how it's typically thirteen men maximum versus five hundred Comanche or more guarding a border that the whole US Army after the war couldn't watch on its own.
  • The Precarious Ledge: The canyon on the Llano. Even if you survive the fall, you're now very close to or in Buffalo Hump's camp.
  • Protectorate: The whole state of Texas is this to the Texas Rangers. Austin in particular.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The Comanches' modus operendi
  • Start of Darkness: Blue Duck enters the story as a teenage (half-Mexican) Comanche warrior and youngest son of Buffalo Hump. Though his mother is said to Buffalo Hump's favorite wife, Blue Duck himself is very much The Un-Favorite. His daddy issues evolve him into the utter sociopath seen in Lonesome Dove.
    • A lesser one for Jake Spoon, who we see Used to Be a Sweet Kid before Mrs. Scull used him and discarded him for her own sick amusement. At the beginning, Jake is a nice kid, who even appears to have a Precocious Crush on Inez Scull's house slave. By the end, he uses women and won’t think twice about hitting them.
  • Walk into Mordor: Everyone who enters Sierra Perdida where The Black Vaquero lives is doing this.