Study Guide

Lonesome Dove Chapters 16-20

By Larry McMurtry

Chapters 16-20

  • Call has hired four boys: two Spettles and two Raineys.
  • Call returns and is surprised to find that Pedro Flores never even tried to get his horses back.
  • Well, according to Jasper Fant, Pedro Flores is dead.
  • Call is shocked. One of his biggest rivals is dead. It's like if Mario showed up at the castle and found out that Bowser had croaked overnight.
  • That's pretty much the last straw for Call. He has no reason to stick around.
  • Gus suggests they take over Northern Mexico instead, but Call doesn't want to. He has Montana on the mind.
  • Lorena realizes she isn't as attached to Jake Spoon as she thought she was. "He was one of those men somebody had to take care of" (17.4). She doesn't want to take care of him.
  • Jake is also very jealous of any man who comes near Lorena—like Dish Boggett and two new cowboys: Needle Nelson and Bert Borum.
  • So Lorena finds herself between a rock and a hard place when Gus arrives to proposition her.
  • Lorena refuses, but Gus challenges her to a game. They'll cut cards, and if Gus wins, he'll pay Lorena fifty dollars for "a poke" (17.48).
  • Gus wins, of course, and he pays Lippy, the piano player, another ten dollars to keep the exchange a secret from Jake.
  • Afterward, Lorena says Jake is going to take her to San Francisco.
  • Gus tells Lorena that Jake's coming on the cattle drive, and he tells Lorena she is more than welcome to come with them.
  • Everyone has moved to a camp, where Call rounds up a few new heads of cattle each night.
  • Bolivar isn't happy to be at the camp. He misses his dinner bell.
  • Jake, for the moment, has decided not to go on the cattle drive and to go to San Antonio instead… but Gus tries to convince him to come along to Montana. It was all Jake's idea in the first place, right?
  • Gus wants to know if Jake plans to marry Lorie. "Marry her? […] Why would I marry her?" (18.35), says Jake. Gus doesn't know why he wouldn't.
  • Lorena wants to go to San Francisco, not San Antonio. San Antonio's where she met the last man, who abused her. Gus knows she wouldn't want to go back there, so he tells Jake one more time to bring her along.
  • Then Gus tells Call he invited Lorie. No surprise here, but Call isn't happy to hear that.
  • Newt daydreams of what he might find up North. Bears? Elk? People with Boston accents?
  • Newt's been making friends with Sean O'Brien, who is anxious about the North, too. He even makes Newt curious about Ireland.
  • While chopping wood, Newt gets distracted thinking of Jake and Lorena, and he takes a bad swing of the axe, sending a chip of mesquite flying off, almost hitting Deets in the head.
  • Newt realizes he needs to focus on his work and returns to choppin', which is different from Chopin.
  • Jake is sulky, in a bad mood, and dirty. Not a winning combination.
  • Jake talks to Lorena about going to Montana instead of San Francisco.
  • Lorena decides she should be honest with Jake, and she tells him Gus paid her for a poke.
  • Jake slaps Lorena. He says that if it had been anyone other than Gus, he'd have shot her.
  • After all the slappin' and threatenin', Jake says he and Lorena going to Montana. They'll make camp away from the men at night.
  • Lorena agrees to go, and she's excited to be leaving Lonesome Dove.