Study Guide

Lonesome Dove Love

By Larry McMurtry


Love is easy for cowboys today. All they have to do is put on their best ten-gallon hat, pull on their best boot-cut jeans, and sharpen their spurs for their profile picture on But back before anyone could be a cowboy, finding love on the range was a little harder. Keeping it was next to impossible. In fact, many of the man of Lonesome Dove pretend love doesn't even exist. That sure simplifies things, but it makes for a lonesome existence.

Speaking of lonesome, if you take "onesome D" out of the title, you're left with "love." What, you don't think that was intentional?

Questions About Love

  1. Does Gus love Lorena the same way Jake does?
  2. Why does Lorena love Gus and not Dish? Did she actually love Jake, or did she only see him as an opportunity to escape?
  3. How does Clara's love for Gus change over the years? How is their love different during the book from the way it was in Gus's memory? Did it actually change, or did Gus's perception of Clara change?
  4. Why do some of the adult men have a childish view of love? What will it take for them to grow?

Chew on This

Feelings of love—or what the men in the novel think is love—are heightened by being on the trail for so long. Isolation and mortal danger make feelings of love more powerful.

There's also brotherly love on the trail, like between Gus and Call. Gus is able to love almost any creature—man, woman, or pig.

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