Study Guide

Lonesome Dove Chapters 6-10

By Larry McMurtry

Chapters 6-10

  • Newt is reeling because Jake Spoon is an even bigger hero to him than Dish Boggett is.
  • Jake Spoon, another former Texas Ranger, was kind to Newt and Newt's mother, Maggie the whore.
  • Jake recognizes Newt, which makes him happy. But he's the only one. Call isn't happy, because "something in Jake didn't quite stick. Something wasn't quite consistent" (6.32).
  • Dish considers riding on when the Captain suggests he help dig a well while they wait for the horse drive. But he decides to stay.
  • Jake munches on some breakfast and talks about his plans of going to Montana. He's been on the run ever since he accidentally killed a man in Arkansas. Oops.
  • Even though everyone thinks Jake is a gunfighter, he isn't. The bandit he killed was a lucky shot. Ever since then, Jake's had pretty much bad luck all the way. Now he's got July Johnson, a sheriff from Arkansas, on his trail.
  • Jake asks about Newt, and Gus says they've had him since Maggie died. He insinuates that either Jake or Call is Newt's dad.
  • Gus asks Jake about Clara, a woman they both loved.
  • Jake says Clara is still in Nebraska with her dumb husband, Bob Allen.
  • Jake wants to know if there's a "sporting woman" (7.35) in town, but he decides to take a nap before sauntering on down to the Dry Bean.
  • Dish returns from well digging, and he feels mighty undignified covered in dirt.
  • Then Call comes up, and after some talk of the Hell B****, he suggests they all go north to Montana because Jake says there's beautiful country there.
  • Call and Gus argue about this idea and don't come to a decision.
  • It's a hot afternoon in Lonesome Dove, and everyone collapses in the shade.
  • But not for long. A couple of visitors ride up.
  • The visitors check out the sign Gus made, which is a door with a ton of writing on it, detailing everyone in the Hat Creek Cattle Company and Livery Emporium.
  • The visitor's name is Wilbarger, and he wants forty horses. Mexicans ran off his horses, and he has some cattle that need wrangling.
  • Wilbarger is sent to find Call, and Dish strolls down to the Dry Bean.
  • But someone else is in Lorena's room.
  • Dish goes away for an hour, and when he comes back, Lorena is at a table with none other than Jake Spoon.
  • Depressed, Dish gets a drink. Then another. Then another.
  • Wilbarger rides up to Augustus and Call to strike up a chat.
  • Call informs Wilbarger that they expect to have a hundred horses at sunup, and Wilbarger is welcome to wait for them. He even promises to bring back Wilbarger's horses if he finds them.
  • The plan is to get the horses from Pedro Flores, a rival horse wrangler over the border.
  • Dish stumbles in, drunk and puking, and Call is furious. He hired Dish, and now Dish is too drunk to ride.
  • Dish insists he can do his job and he'll be ready to ride at sundown.
  • Call invites Newt along for the ride and gives him a gun of his own. Newt "felt grown and complete for the first time in his life" (9.140). Hey, it is Texas.
  • Newt is surprised at how dark and empty the terrain is. No bandits to fight. No nothing out there, really.
  • Augustus doesn't think it's a good idea to steal horses from the "best-armed ranch in northern Mexico" (10.20), but Call isn't concerned.
  • Dish has ridden off most of his drunkenness and is tagging along just fine. Jake is along for the ride, too.
  • On the way to camp, the men encounter something surprising: two white dudes.
  • Call's men surround the white guys and storm their camp.
  • It turns out these are two Irishmen: Sean O'Brien and his older brother Allen. They've lost their animals and most of their food.
  • Call says he'll help the O'Briens on their way back from the Flores ranch. And he doesn't even ask for Lucky Charms in exchange.