Study Guide

Lonesome Dove Chapters 66-70

By Larry McMurtry

Chapters 66-70

  • Traveling with Big Zwey and Luke is fineā€¦
  • Except when Luke tries to force himself on Elmira.
  • One day, Elmira pulls a gun on Luke and chases him away.
  • That night, Elmira tells Big Zwey what Luke tried to do to her.
  • When Luke returns, Zwey beats him so bad he tears his ear off.
  • Luke is laid up for two weeks before he recovers. The beating seems to have taken the fight out of him.
  • Newt is worried that Indians will ride in and kill everyone, but when Wichita Indians do arrive, they're friendly and just want food.
  • Po Campo gives the Wichita Indians some grub.
  • As our heroes ride on, Gus stays with Lorena, who is still recovering.
  • Lorena's worried that Gus will leave her, so she offers herself to him. Free of charge.
  • Gus doesn't take Lorena up on the offer.
  • One day, everyone has to take cover because of another storm.
  • This one is different: it's a storm of grasshoppers. There are thousands of them, so many grasshoppers that the men have trouble breathing.
  • Newt can't even grab the reins of his horse without closing his hand on grasshoppers. He gets so turned around in the swarm that when he gets his bearings, he realizes he's with the wrong people.
  • Newt's not with the herd anymore. He's slap dab in the middle of Indians. They're friendly, too, and they escort the confused boy back to the herd.
  • As with every decision he makes, Jake immediately regrets falling in with the Suggs brothers. They mostly sit around and speak of killing and dreaming of robbing banks.
  • In a town, Jake strikes up a conversation with a pretty young girl, but when that girl's gross old husband (there are a lot of these around) hits Jake for talking to her, Jake kills him. Dang. For a bad shot, he's quick on the trigger.
  • Now the Suggs brothers think Jake is a killer, too.
  • The men continue traveling and roughing up and robbing anyone they meet along the way. They even kill a farmer's milk cow and cave in the roof of his house.
  • Not nice, boys. Not nice.
  • July searches to no avail for Elmira in Kansas.
  • July learns that "Kansas towns were wild" (69.1) and mostly made up of criminals.
  • In Dodge City, July writes to Peach that everyone is dead and that he's still looking for Elmira.
  • The postal clerk tells July to question Elmira's friend, Jennie, who works in a local saloon.
  • Jennie and Elmira were both married to Dee Boot once upon a time. (Not at the same time.)
  • July saunters over to talk to Jennie, who tells July to stop worrying about Elmira. Elmira only has eyes for Dee Boot, and chasing that man is "like trying to keep up with a tumbleweed" (69.70).
  • Jennie fancies an evening with July, if only so she can say she stole Elmira's husband, but he's too drunk and collapses.
  • When July recovers, he talks to Jennie more and starts to fall in love with her. Or his version of love, which seems to come awful easy.
  • Jennie tells July she won't ever quit whoring, so July leaves, gets a new strong horse, and rides out of Dodge.
  • Ah, the grasshoppers are gone, the ride is going smoothly, and everything is at peace.
  • Then Newt's horse dies.
  • Newt wasn't even riding Mouse; he traded with Ben Rainey. Ben was riding Mouse when Mouse was gored by a cow horn and died.
  • Well, that's sad.
  • The next morning, Gus calls Newt over to join him and Lorena for breakfast.
  • Being in the presence of Lorena's beauty eases Newt's grief a bit.
  • Lorena is friendly to Newt because she thinks it will convince Gus to marry her if she is.
  • Deets returns from scouting and tells Call that Jake Spoon is nearby. He noticed his horse tracks.
  • Aside from Blue Duck, Jake Spoon is the last man anyone wants to see.