Study Guide

Lonesome Dove Chapters 95-102

By Larry McMurtry

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Chapters 95-102

  • Gus keeps his pistol at the ready all night, but no one attacks.
  • The Indians have left in pursuit of bison, which are more important to them than a wounded cowboy.
  • Worried that Call is days away, Gus decides to limp to the nearest town.
  • Gus ends up meeting a white man named Hugh Auld, a man who gathers animal pelts.
  • Seeing Gus's leg, which is so infected it's black, he agrees to loan him a horse… and to tie Gus to it.
  • Gus arrives in town and fires his pistol into the air to get some attention. He asks to be taken to the medical man, and he soon passes out.
  • Gus wakes up in the medical man's bed. He's missing his left leg.
  • Dr. Mobley wants to amputate Gus's right leg, too, or else he'll die. The only reason he didn't do it while Gus was out is that he was afraid Gus would shoot him when he woke up. He's probably right.
  • Call arrives in town and tries to talk Gus into having his other leg removed.
  • But Gus won't, so all Call can do is sit around and wait for his friend to die.
  • Gus's dying wish is to be buried in the grove on the Guadalupe, where he has fond memories of Clara.
  • That's all the way back in Texas, for those of you who didn't pay attention in geography class.
  • Even though it's all the way back there, Call agrees to do it.
  • Gus continues, saying that Call is mistreating Newt by not claiming him. He also wants the sign he made to be his gravestone.
  • Finally, Gus writes two notes: one to Lorena and one to Clara. Call takes them to deliver them personally.
  • Gus wills his saddle to Pea Eye, and then he closes his eyes.
  • Call sits by the bed, waiting for Gus to reopen his eyes. Call's tired, too, and when he nods off, Gus dies.
  • Gus is dead. The end. Right?
  • No, the book keeps going.
  • Call intends to honor his friend's dying wish: to be buried in the grove near the Guadalupe.
  • That's, what, only a few months' drive away?
  • The doctor agrees to pack Gus in charcoal and salt—including his amputated leg—through the winter. In the spring, Call will drive Gus back to Texas.
  • Call returns to his men and tells them Gus is dead. "They stopped as if frozen" (97.65).
  • No one expected Augustus McCrae to die. Maybe not ever.
  • Not only are the men upset about that, but they're also annoyed with Call because of the flippant way he told them about it.
  • Hugh Auld, the man who lent Gus a horse, joins the drive. And he talks about as much as Gus does. Gus did. Oh, that's right, Gus is dead. Sniffle.
  • Call sells some cattle to an army major; then they keep heading north, north, north.
  • The men wonder if Call will ever stop.
  • Finally, men reach the Milk River. And there, they stop to build a headquarters.
  • Dish wants his pay, and he wants to hightail it out of there. He doesn't want to do carpentry work. He's heading to Nebraska, to see Lorena.
  • The rest of the men settle down and restart life in a little Lonesome Dove of the north.
  • Call notices how good Newt is at breaking horses, and he lends the boy to a nearby Fort to help them out and get more experience.
  • Call still doesn't tell Newt he's his dad, though.
  • July Johnson proposes to Clara at the beginning of the New Year.
  • At least, that's how he sees it. What he really does is ask her, "Would you ever marry me?" (99.1)—which is one of the lamest proposals ever.
  • Clara doesn't answer the question, and July wonders if he should just leave.
  • When the baby, July's son, is sick, he doesn't stay and comfort Clara.
  • This makes Clara angry. She tells him, "You're not much of anything, but you could be" (99.26). She tells him to man up, start giving orders, and ask her to marry him again in a year. Yep, a year.
  • Dish Boggett shows up, and July becomes jealous of Dish, who is much more capable of, well, everything than July is.
  • It's an odd love square here: July likes Clara, who admires Dish, who lusts after Lorena, who likes nobody.
  • Despite the futility of Dish attempting to court Lorena, he decides to stay on the ranch when Clara offers him a job. She needs somebody competent to help out.
  • Call is irritated that Gus left half his cattle to Lorena.
  • Every time he makes a sale, Call banks half the money for Lorena.
  • At Christmas, the men kill the two blue pigs that followed them all the way from Lonesome Dove. That better be some good bacon.
  • Later, horses are stolen, and Call, Pea, Newt, and a couple other men find the horse thieves—an old man and a younger man.
  • The old man attacks with a hatchet, and Call shoots him dead.
  • But the younger man says his Pa forced him to steal those horses, so Call goes easy on him. Call even lets him work on the farm.
  • That's a mistake. The boy tries to steal a horse, so Call hangs him.
  • As spring approaches, Call has to make arrangements to return Gus to Texas. He makes Newt top hand, which irritates Soupy.
  • The older man attacks Newt, and Newt puts up quite a fight, even though he loses.
  • The other men admire Newt's tenacity, and they turn against Soupy for hurting the boy.
  • So Soupy takes his wages and quits.
  • Before Call leaves, he has one more surprise for Newt: he gives him the Hell B****.
  • Then Call rides away. Newt expects Call to return, to tell him that he is his father.
  • But Call doesn't.
  • In the city, Call finds that the storage shed, where they were keeping Gus, is a total mess.
  • Gus's leg is missing, but the rest of him is there.
  • Call bundles Gus up and puts him in the wagon, and off he goes.
  • Call's first stop on the Augustus McCrae funeral tour is to see Clara in Nebraska.
  • Clara thinks Gus and Call are crazy for going on this stupid journey, even if it is to a place Gus remembered fondly because of her.
  • Call gives Clara Gus's letters.
  • Clara reads hers, but Lorena, who can't read, doesn't read hers. She doesn't want Clara to read it to her.
  • In the morning, Clara asks one more time for Call to forget this journey. She tells him to go back to his camp, tell Newt he's his son, and raise him as such.
  • Call says he gave Newt his horse, and that's more valuable than a name. And off he goes.
  • People in Denver flock around Call and his wagon. It's not every day you see a man hauling a dead body across the country.
  • In New Mexico, Call rides into a town that is housing Blue Duck in jail. He's been captured, and he's due to be hanged.
  • Call visits Blue Duck in jail, and Blue Duck taunts him, saying he'll kill him next.
  • "Not unless you can fly" (102.48), Call says.
  • When Blue Duck is due to be hanged in the courthouse, he gives Call a creepy smile and somehow manages to jump out a window, taking a Deputy with him. He tried to fly but failed.
  • On his way out of town, Call is interviewed by a reporter, whom he mostly ignores.
  • Finally, Call is getting close to Gus's resting place… when he's shot at.
  • Call races away and ends up crashing and wrecking the wagon in the process.
  • Call fights off the Indians, then travels on with Gus's body, a mule, and a horse.
  • Greasy the mule dies, leaving just Call and the horse, with Gus's body.
  • Call makes it to the little hill above the Guadalupe.
  • There, Call buries Gus's body and leaves the sign, most of its letters rubbed away, as his grave marker.
  • Call scratches A. M. on the board, just so people know it's a grave marker.
  • Call mounts the little pony and rides on to Lonesome Dove, which is nearby. He expects it to be deserted, but there's old Bolivar, the cook, who didn't want to go home. He's banging the dinner bell with a crowbar, just like he always did.
  • Call looks around Lonesome Dove. It's different. The Dry Bean is gone.
  • According to a cowboy, Xavier Wanz kept his promise: he burned it down when Lorena left.
  • The cowboy has the last words: "The woman. They say he missed that whore" (102.108).

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