by Larry McMurty
a kate west favorite
"Lonesome Dove" is a good old-fashioned heartfelt western. Larry McMurty is well known for this series of amazingly endearing books recounting tales of Cowboys and Texas Rangers like Augustus McCrae and W. F. Call. Impossibly ornery, yet fiercely loyal to each other, the two of them drive a cattle herd all the way from Texas up to Montana. Of course there's a lot of trouble on the way, and heartache too.
Stereotypes abound in this virile masculine world, including Lorena, the whore with a heart of gold, the renegade Native American Blue Duck, the illegitimate son Newt, the earnestly stalwart ranch woman Clara and lots of simple-minded cowboys. And it all works quite well. The characters are strongly believable and you care deeply about each of them, hoping they find the right path, though many of them do not. Regardless, they are all profoundly human and you will want to read every book you can regarding their heroically flawed exploits.
Oh and there is also a television mini series starring Robert Duvall (Gus), Tommy Lee Jones (Call), Danny Glover (Deets), Anjelica Huston (Clara), Diane Lane (Lorena), Rick Schroder (Newt), Frederic Forrest (Blue Duck), Robert Ulrich (Jake), Chris Cooper (July Johnson), D.B. Sweeney (Dish) and Glenne Headly (Elmira). It's not the Pulitzer Prize winning book, but it's fairly good television, so by all means, check it out. But please read the extraordinary novels first - you won't be able to put any of them down.
Are those retro Time Life Old West books still in print?