Study Guide

Pea Eye Parker in Lonesome Dove

By Larry McMurtry

Pea Eye Parker

Peas in a Pod

Like many in the Hat Creek Cattle Company, Pea Eye Parker is a hard-working guy, but he's also somewhat simpleminded. We're told he "looked totally helpless, but that was another case of looks deceiving" (1.17).

Now, Pea Eye is totally able when it comes to being a cowhand. Anything else, though… Well, that would be best left to someone else.

Like Call, Pea Eye is especially ignorant in the ways of women. He had a brief experience when he saw the widow Mary Cole soaking wet after a rainstorm, but other than that, nada.

Pea Eye is always prepared for survival, though, partially because he always dreams of a giant Indian killing him. That dream makes it a little ironic that Deets is then killed by an Indian— and a tiny Indian, too.

Pea Eye gets his own show of heroism when he's caught in a shoot-out with Gus. He escapes down a river that sweeps all his clothes off and has to hike naked back to camp. Suddenly, the Montana countryside "seemed endless" (94.195), and "it was the emptiness that discouraged him most" (94.205). The countryside was once beautiful, but it's dangerous when you're playing naked man vs. the world.

But Pea Eye makes it and goes back to being a cowhand like nothing happened. When Call leaves, he considers giving Pea Eye more of a leadership role, but "Pea Eye had contentedly taken orders for thirty years; to expect him to suddenly start giving them was to expect the impossible" (100.40).

We think he'll be happy wherever he is.