Study Guide

Lonesome Dove Friendship

By Larry McMurtry


A good cowboy is like a good boot. No, we don't mean he's leathery, rough-soled, and a little pointy in places—although that may be true. We mean that he's pretty useless all by himself. Even the best boot needs a match. You can't be walking through dusty deserts or brambles or cow-patty-strewn fields with one bare foot. In Lonesome Dove, Gus and Call are like a really good pair of boots. They're a package deal, and you can't have one without the other.

Questions About Friendship

  1. Why are Gus and Call such strong friends? How do they complement each other? (They sure as heck never compliment each other.)
  2. Or, are Gus and Call actually friends? Maybe they're just really good coworkers?
  3. Why do Clara and Lorena become friends in the end?
  4. Does Newt have friends? Do any of the men on the cattle company have friends?

Chew on This

The Cattle Company creates a temporary, ephemeral atmosphere. Men move on or die, so it's difficult to form bonds. Some men resist friendship in order to focus on the job.

Most men don't have the guts to talk back to Captain Call. Gus has guts. That's why these two are friends.

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