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Dead Man's Walk Paperback – October 17, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; (1st,1995); Fourth Printing edition (October 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684857545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684857541
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

In this prequel to McMurtry's 1986 Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove, Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call are invincible young bucks, Texas Rangers, full of youthful energy and, quite frankly, full of themselves. That is until they're utterly consumed by the vicious battlefield of the early-19th-century Wild West. Their journey takes them across barren deserts and raging rivers and through steep and snowy mountains, often on foot and with barely enough provisions and clothing to keep them from certain death. The constant threat of attack by Comanches keeps them awake nights, fearing for their lives--and for good reason. "Buffalo Hump reached down and grabbed the terrified boy by his long black hair. He yanked his horse to a stop, lifted Zeke Moody off his feet, and slashed at his head with a knife, just above the boy's ears. Then he whirled and raced across the front of the huddled Rangers, dragging Zeke by the hair. As the horse increased its speed, the scalp tore loose and Zeke fell free. Buffalo Hump had whirled again, and held aloft the bloody scalp."

This bedraggled group of adventurers--on their foolhardy expedition to seize Santa Fe from the Mexicans (who also prove to be formidable enemies)--includes a salty assortment of cowboys, scouts, fortune seekers, and a fat and sassy whore nicknamed "The Great Western." McMurtry's adept storytelling paints a portrait of the Wild West that at times is palpable. One can almost smell the campfires, the body odors, and the long-awaited piece of meat after weeks without a proper meal. Dead Man's Walk will satisfy your craving for adventure, without having to put your life on the line. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae, the heroes of Lonesome Dove, return in a rousing if slightly contrived yarn set decades before the events of that Pulitzer Prize-winning novel?and earlier still than the latter-day adventures of Call, detailed in Streets of Laredo. Now hardly more than teenage runaways, the pair, just recruited into the ragtag Rangers of the new Texas Republic, come face-to-face with death on their baptismal patrol as Gus, foolishly wandering away from his guard post, stumbles onto the grotesquely disfigured Comanche chief Buffalo Hump and narrowly escapes with the Indian's lance embedded in his hip. Gus and Call return safely to San Antonio but, lured by myths of silver and gold, the hapless duo sign on to a small army led by a former seafaring pirate intent on liberating Santa Fe from Mexican rule. An unforgettable (and equally unlikely) crew of blackhearted villains, foppish officers and star-crossed heroes and heroines, the sorry little force heads west only to be terrorized by Buffalo Hump, then captured by Mexican militia. With the ruthless Captain Salazar calling the shots, Mexicans and Americans are ordered to march toward El Paso. Along the way, Call is whipped nearly to death for a minor offense, and the group is stalked by a murderous Apache. Forced by Salazar to cross the high desert known as "dead man's walk," Gus, Call and company end up at a leper colony near El Paso, where they find salvation. Suffering from McMurtry's usual coincidences and miraculous escapes, as well as from some stereotypical key characters and too much obvious melodrama, this falls short of both Lonesome Dove and Streets of Laredo. Still, it's bracing entertainment in its own right, with McMurtry flashing his storytelling skills as he recreates the salad days of two flawed but all-American heroes adrift in the Old West. 500,000 first printing.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove. His other works include two collections of essays, three memoirs, and more than thirty screenplays, including the coauthorship of Brokeback Mountain, for which he received an Academy Award. His most recent novel, When the Light Goes, is available from Simon & Schuster. He lives in Archer City, Texas.

Customer Reviews

This being my introduction to McMurtry's Lonesome Dove series.
Sally Salas
The story has too many loose ends, and too many characters that are just there so that they can die before the end of the story - hence the title.
John C. Green
This is an entertaining book, one that I couldn't put down, but not especially pleasant.
Kitten With a Whip

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Kitten With a Whip on March 24, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book in the Lonsesome Dove series in the first, in chronological order. Gus and Call, called 'young pups' by their elders, have joined the Texas Rangers, hoping for some adventure (and for Gus, a little brothel action and card playing). Soon after their expedition begins, they discover they are in way over their heads. The Commanches are, literally, on the warpath, and hate white people (with good reason, considering the way the white men treated them). They are also very smart, very fast, very skilled in riding and fighting, and VERY bloodthirsty. The main Chief, who even the most hardened soldiers are scared of, is Buffalo Hump, and he is introduced in an unforgettable lightning storm on the prarie, in one of the most vivid, terrifying scenes in the entire series (and if you've read the series, you know things can get VERY ugly). The men in charge of the expedition are either crazy, stupid, drunk, have a very short fuse, or all of the above. The trek starts out rather confident, looking forward to the challenges to come, but soon realize they are no match for the Indians. The Commanches set up a variety of clever, deadly, devastating traps, and soon their ranks are halved, then quartered, then...then it gets REALLY ugly.
This book was a page-turner, and had all the entertaining characters a reader comes to expect from the series. All of the books treat death as an everyday thing, but I think this is one of the most cold-blooded; do not read if you're sqeamish. There's not just one or two nasty scenes, either, they count many and come fast. This is an entertaining book, one that I couldn't put down, but not especially pleasant. A good read, don't get me wrong, but one that is emotionally gruelling.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 25, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having read the first two books in the Lonesome Dove series (both of which come chronologically after this one), I knew the main characters would survive. This is, however, no more of a hindrance to enjoying this book than it is in any saturday serial movie. The joy is in seeing how the author can get the heroes out of the mess they're in. For the vast majority of the novel, McMurtry delivers saturday afternoon thrills, while still showing just how these young characters evolve into the ones we're all familiar with from Lonesome Dove. Unfortunately, after the Mexican prison scene, the novel comes to a precipitous and ludicruous ending. It is as if McMurty simply got tired or bored with the project and decided just to end the book the fastest way he could Not even a yarn should be tied up this quickly.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on March 29, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In McMurty's prequel to Lonesome Dove, we see the young Gus McCrea and Woodrow Call at the beginning of their Rangering days. It is interesting because both characters are clearly the men they will become in Lonesome Dove, yet without the assurance and confidence that carried them so easily through that book's trials. The author does a good job of portraying them as believable youths rather than as copies of their later selves in younger bodies.
This is a roaming tale. There are three trips which encompass the book. The first is a brief and futile foray against the fearsome Comanche Buffalo Hump. The second, a long and futile expedition to capture Spanish Gold in New Mexico that is thwarted by the elements and a Mexican army. The third, a march in captivity through a desolate country that will prove to be a more ruthless enemy than the Indian or the sons of the conquistadors.
I will warn the reader, the ending is a little bizarre and seems out of place with the rest of the book (and the preceding two) -- it really lost the Western feel for me.
This journey is much less purposeful and more fantastic than that portrayed in LD or Streets of Laredo. This tale feels at times a bit forced, with something exciting fitted neatly into every chapter. On the whole however, it is a good yarn that captures a flavorful frontier West before the Civil War. McMurty remains a gifted storey teller who is able to drive the reader through his pages with gifted dialogue and excellent descriptions.
I'm already digging into McMurty's last book of the Lonesome Dove series, Comanche Moon.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Doug Vaughn HALL OF FAME on June 6, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Larry McMurtry's Dead Man's Walk, the original perquel to Lonesome Dove, features that book's main characters when they were just youngsters and had first joined the Texas Rangers. Like Lonesome Dove, it is a big book with a lot of characters and a lot of action, but it differs significantly in that there is very little humor and the character's stories don't mesh into any coherent plot line or ultimate resolution. It is in essence a picaresque novel that kind of wanders around - as do the characters in the story. While Call and Gus are shown to have the beginnings of the personalities that would endear them to Lonesome Dove readers, they are also shown as having little depth and no experience. They really are clueless. And pitted against the merciless indians they face it is a miracle that they survive. Of course they have to for the sake of the story but it isn't any talent or savvy on their own part that makes survival possible.
Despite its limitations, this is still a very interesting book. The action is quite satisfying even if the characters are not.
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