Dead Man's Walk

Dead Man's Walk

by Larry McMurtry


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Dead Man's Walk is the first, extraordinary book in the epic Lonesome Dove tetralogy, in which Larry McMurtry breathed new life into the vanished American West and created two of the most memorable heroes in contemporary fiction: Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call.
As young Texas Rangers, Gus and Call have much to learn about survival in a land fraught with perils: not only the blazing heat and raging tornadoes, roiling rivers and merciless Indians but also the deadly whims of soldiers. On their first expeditions—led by incompetent officers and accompanied by the robust, dauntless whore known as the Great Western—they will face death at the hands of the cunning Comanche war chief Buffalo Hump and the silent Apache Gomez. They will be astonished by the Mexican army. And Gus will meet the love of his life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780684857541
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 10/17/2000
Series: Lonesome Dove Series
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 50,972
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays. He lives in Archer City, Texas.


Archer City, Texas

Date of Birth:

June 3, 1936

Place of Birth:

Wichita Falls, Texas


B.A., North Texas State University, 1958; M.A., Rice University, 1960. Also studied at Stanford University.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"In Dead Man's Walk, McMurtry uses a simple, wry, immensely accessible storyteller's voice to ponder the same questions that Melville and Conrad did. This is a great book. . . . Larry McMurtry, at his best here, is one of the finest American novelists, ever. We are lucky he's around."—John Milius, Los Angeles Times

"McMurtry remains a good storyteller, and he remains a master of dialogue, doing a sort of frontier version of Oscar Wilde."—Washington Post Book World

"Dead Man's Walk. . . succeeds marvelously . . . resurrecting two brilliantly conceived characters and delivering a rousing tale of the Wild West."—Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle

"Gee-haw! Larry McMurtry is back in the yarn-slinging business—with a vengeance. . . . Readers will gobble up Dead Man's Walk—a wild and wooly read—from cover to cover."—Denver Post

"Dead Man's Walk is a very good read . . . [It] will keep you reading [and] make you miss meals." —Seattle Times

"McMurtry does great characters. Call and McCrae are real, lifelike, believable, and lovable. . . . McMurtry's stories are brimming with passion and page-turning excitement. . . It's good, good stuff."—Kansas City Star

Customer Reviews

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Dead Man's Walk 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 71 reviews.
srgwriter More than 1 year ago
Book one of a four book western masterpiece that does not pander to cliche. I'm glad I read the series in chronological order. McMurtry merges real history and his story into one ineresting and real read. This series of books Dead Man's Walk, Comanche Moon, Lonesome Dove, and Streets of Loredo has become the standard I measure all westerns against.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dead Man's Walk by Larry McMurtry is an awesome history lesson on the early ages of the United States. Anyone that enjoys learning about the past should consider deeply about reading this book. I could not put it down. The story line and the amount of detail used will really capture any reader who has interest in Western's. This book should be read because by everyone because it will teach the value of hard work and show everyone what a near death experience is like. I know that now I appreciate everything in life, even if it wouldn't normally be wanted.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a harsh tale of the earliest partnership between Woodrow Call and Gus MaCrae, the marvelously heroic anti-heroes of LONESOME DOVE. In this tale the two, as young men, stumble into the early Texas Rangers, drawn by the naive love of adventure which rangering promises the two youths. But they soon find that they and the rangers they lucklessly attach themselves to are no match for the harsh country they confront. The Commanches and the Apaches are harder and smarter in the ways of the wilds and the Mexicans are more numerous and better prepared. The Texans are bunglers, led by charlatans and self-interested adventurers. Worst of all, none of them, from the lowliest ranger, to the officers, to the whores who trail along behind them, know what they are letting themselves in for. It is a hellish passage which they undertake, rife with the sudden violence and grotesqueries which characterize McMurtry's vision of the west. There is the oversized whore, Mattie, who alternately mothers and fornicates with the young rangers she finds around her; the simpering easterner who has set himself up as an officer in the rangers; the pirate turned soldier of fortune who leads his troop of adventurers into country he neither understands nor is prepared to encounter; the sudden lightning storms and tornadoes; the misshapen Commanche war-chief who hunts the white men like buffalo; the deadly Apache who culls the white herd in the night through a long and arduous desert death march; the overly proud Mexican Captain Salazar whose life, in the end, depends on the goodwill of his remaining captives; the old mountain man and the scout who travels with him; the brain damaged quartermaster whose luck it is to live while other, more complete men, must die. All of these rush blindly toward that strange fate which awaits them in the end and which will overwhelm those who will survive, in a moment of surrealistic beauty and dread which somehow wipes away the harshness and suffering which have gone before. In the end, MacCrae, the carefree instinctive man of action, and Call, the careful and thoughtful planner, are forced to see that they, as they have been, callow and inexperienced youths, are no match for the country and the people they have found in it. But, unlike most of their comrades, they miraculously survive their trek. And are changed and enlarged by it. Country bumpkins and veritable greenhorns at the outset, they are fast on the way to becoming the tough rangers we will meet once more, in the books which tell of their subsequent adventures, by the end of this tale. This one does not quite rise to the resonant strains of its precursor LONESOME DOVE, but it is a fitting prequel. We get to see how the country and the experiences of a harsh youth began to form the two men whose tale this ultimately is. And if there is not much plot here, there is a vividness in the description and the dialogue that make you feel like you are there with these men. True, the tale is so grotesque as to seem utterly unreal at times. But McMurtry's writing is sharp and evocative and fresh so that, despite a certain predictability in the events, you want to stay with the characters, to experience this harsh and nightmarish world along with them. Not up to LONESOME DOVE. But that was a hard act to follow.
SugarSW More than 1 year ago
I never thought I would enjoy this type of book but after visiting Wyoming and going through museums, I decided to read. Pretty graphic but overall a good book. I like how the characters were developed and have now moved on to the Commanche Moon. Gus and Call are very luck but just the endurance is amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read. I am a huge western fan and this book had it all. The characters were great and plot never dulled. There was always something exciting happening. This is a must read.
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
'Matilda Jane Roberts was naked as the air. Known throughout south Texas as the Great Western, she came walking up from the muddy Rio Grande holding a big snapping turtle by the tail.'What great imagery to start off a novel with! After being less than thrilled with The Sisters Brothers, I was hungry for a more classic (in style and content, not age) western. Lonesome Dove has been on my TBR list for a while, so I decided to start off with the chronological first book in the series.Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call fancy themselves rangers in 1840s Texas. Unfortunately for them, it¿s a very dangerous time in that part of the country. Comanche Indians roam the land, and the troops are not at all equipped to handle their speed, stealth, and cunning. One in particular, Buffalo Hump, seems to have his eye on Gus and Call, and would like nothing more than to add their scalps to his belt.The Rangers¿ expeditions, particularly the one to Santa Fe where they plan to defeat the Mexicans, are (obviously to the reader) inept, ill-equipped, and led by men who have no idea what they are walking (usually literally) in to. Things go from bad to worse, and you start to wonder how the heck they are going to get out of the desert and back to safety.McMurtry¿s characters are colorful and varied, and you feel their fright, misery, and hopelessness. This book is generally believed to be not as good as Lonesome Dove, and if that¿s the case, I know I have something really great to look forward to.
Atomicmutant on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I call it "The Passion of Gus and Call". Grueling, brutal. Wouldn't make one want to read the other books in the series, if picked up first. Well written enough to keep me going, but it's no "Lonesome Dove" by a long shot. Beware of incredibly gruesome and violent episodes, with much less charm. I suppose these are the fires in which Gus and Call must be forged in order to create the characters we meet later. I'm going to keep reading the series, but I recommend starting with "Lonesome Dove", not this one.
choochtriplem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first book in the chronological timeline of Gus McCrae and Captain Call. The book discusses how the two young men meet, how their first assignment as Texas Rangers go, and how they find themselves in a unique situation toward the end of the story. I read the book right after Lonesome Dove, and while I thought the story was good, it's hard to compare to the original. I still plan to read the next book in the series, Comanche Moon, as well as the last book, Streets of Laredo. If you are looking for a good Western with great characters, than look no further than the Lonesome Dove series. I read Lonesome Dove first, but this book could be read first as well, without messing a step in the overalls series.
writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first in the Lonesome Dove series. Wonderful.
clif_hiker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I saw the movie before I read the book (actually only saw the first two segments of the movie)... great story up until the last third or so... then it gets kind of weird. But still, love the introduction to Woodrow & Gus, and McMurtry's descriptions of life on the frontier, while often brutal, are still the best I've read.
santhony on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent prequel to Lonesome Dove which documents the adventures of young Gus McCray and Woodrow Call in the early years of their service as Texas Rangers.
MandyPFW on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as gripping as the others in the series, but worth reading the conclusion. I miss Call and Gus.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
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BDCowan More than 1 year ago
This book takes you back to the beginning of how Gus and Call became Texas Rangers. It's tough to put this book down and it reads quickly and leaves you wanting more, so I jumped right in to Comanche Moon!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, a total must read.
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Golindaguy More than 1 year ago
The novel starts out fast with a 200-lb. whore slinging a snapping turtle and largely keeps the action going throughout. I found it an enjoyable read, particularly since I am such a fan of Lonesome Dove. Having said that, I felt like Gus's character tended toward the one-dimensional with his fixation on fun, most particularly whores. Of course, he had much the same interests in Lonesome Dove, but at times with Comanche Moon, I felt like his character was a caricature of his Pulitzer Prize-winning double.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago