Comanche Moon

Comanche Moon

by Larry McMurtry


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The second book of Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove tetralogy, Comache Moon takes us once again into the world of the American West.
Texas Rangers August McCrae and Woodrow Call, now in their middle years, continue to deal with the ever-increasing tensions of adult life — Gus with his great love, Clara Forsythe, and Call with Maggie Tilton, the young whore who loves him. Two proud but very different men, they enlist with the Ranger troop in pursuit of Buffalo Hump, the great Comanche war chief; Kicking Wolf, the celebrated Comanche horse thief; and a deadly Mexican bandit king with a penchant for torture. Assisting the Rangers in their wild chase is the renowned Kickapoo tracker, Famous Shoes.
Comanche Moon closes the twenty-year gap between Dead Man's Walk and Lonesome Dove, following beloved heroes Gus and Call and their comrades in arms — Deets, Jake Spoon, and Pea Eye Parker — in their bitter struggle to protect the advancing West frontier against the defiant Comanches, courageously determined to defend their territory and their way of life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780684857558
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 10/17/2000
Series: Lonesome Dove Series
Pages: 720
Sales rank: 46,653
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.70(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.

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter 1

CAPTAIN INISH SCULL liked to boast that he had never been thwarted in pursuit -- as he liked to put it -- of a felonious foe, whether Spanish, savage, or white.

"Nor do I expect to have to make an exception in the present instance," he told his twelve rangers. "If you've got any sacking with you, tie it around your horses' heads. I've known cold sleet like this to freeze a horse's eyelids, and that's not good. These horses will need smooth use of their eyelids tomorrow, when the sun comes out and we run these thieving Comanches to ground."

Captain Scull was a short man, but forceful. Some of the men called him Old Nails, due to his habit of casually picking his teeth with a horseshoe nail -- sometimes, if his ire rose suddenly, he would actually spit the nail at whoever he was talking to.

"This'll be good," Augustus said, to his friend Woodrow Call. The cold was intense and the sleet constant, cutting their faces as they drove on north. All the rangers' beards were iced hard; some complained that they were without sensation, either in hands or feet or both. But, on the llano, it wasn't yet full dark; in the night it would undoubtedly get colder, with what consequences for men and morale no one could say. A normal commander would have made camp and ordered up a roaring campfire, but Inish Scull was not a normal commander. "I'm a Texas Ranger and by God I range," he said often. "I despise a red thief like the devil despises virtue. If I have to range night and day to check their thieving iniquity, then I'll range night and day."

"Bible and sword," he usually added. "Bible and sword."

At the moment no red thieves were in sight; nothing was insight except the sleet that sliced across the formless plain. Woodrow Call, Augustus McCrae, and the troop of cold, tired, dejected rangers were uncomfortably aware, though, that they were only a few yards from the western edge of the Palo Duro Canyon. It was Call's belief that Kicking Wolf, the Comanche horse thief they were pursuing, had most likely slipped down into the canyon on some old trail. Inish Scull might be pursuing Indians that were below and behind him, in which case the rangers might ride all night into the freezing sleet for nothing.

"What'll be good, Gus?" Woodrow Call inquired of his friend Augustus. The two rode close together as they had through their years as rangers.

Augustus McCrae didn't fear the cold night ahead, but he did dread it, as any man with a liking for normal comforts would. 'I've cold wind had been searing their faces for two days, singing down at them from the northern prairies. Gus would have liked a little rest, but he knew Captain Scull too well to expect to get any while their felonious foe was still ahead of them.

"What'll be good?" Call asked again. Gus McCrae was always making puzzling comments and then forgetting to provide any explanation.

"Kicking Wolf's never been caught, and the Captain's never been run off from," Gus said. "That's going to change, for one of them. Who would you bet on, Woodrow, if we were to wager -- Old Nails, or Kicking Wolf?"

"I wouldn't bet against the Captain, even if I thought he was wrong," Call said. "He's the Captain."

"I know, but the man's got no sense about weather," Augustus remarked. "Look at him. His damn beard's nothing but a sheet of brown ice, but the fool keeps spitting tobacco juice right into this wind."

Woodrow Call made no response to the remark. Gus was overtalkative, and always had been. Unless in violent combat, he was rarely silent for more than two minutes at a stretch, besides which, he felt free to criticize everything from the Captain's way with tobacco to Call's haircuts.

It was true, though, that Captain Scull was in the habit of spitting his tobacco juice directly in front of him, regardless of wind speed or direction, the result being that his garments were often stained with tobacco juice to an extent that shocked most ladies and even offended some men. In fact, the wife of Governor E. M. Pease had recently caused something of a scandal by fuming Captain Scull back at her door, just before a banquet, on account of his poor appearance.

"Inish, you'll drip on my lace tablecloth. Go clean yourself up," Mrs. Pease told the Captain -- it was considered a bold thing to say to the man who was generally regarded as the most competent Texas Ranger ever to take the field.

"Ma'am, I'm a poor ruffian, I fear I'm a stranger to lacy gear," Inish Scull had replied, an untruth certainly, for it was well known that he had left a life of wealth and ease in Boston to ranger on the Western frontier. It was even said that he was a graduate of Harvard College; Woodrow Call, for one, believed it, for the Captain was very particular in his speech and invariably read books around the campfire, on the nights when he was disposed to allow a campfire. His wife, Inez, a Birmingham belle, was so beautiful at forty that no man in the troop, or, for that matter, in Austin, could resist stealing glances at her.

It was now full dusk. Call could barely see Augustus, and Augustus was only a yard or two away. He could not see Captain Scull at all, though he had been attempting to follow directly behind him. Fortunately, though, he could hear Captain Scull's great warhorse, Hector, an animal that stood a full eighteen hands high and weighed more than any two of the other horses in the troop. Hector was just ahead, crunching steadily through the sleet. In the winter Hector's coat grew so long and shaggy that the Indians called him the Buffalo Horse, both because of his shagginess and because of his great strength. So far as Call knew, Hector was the most powerful animal in Texas a match in strength for bull, bear, or buffalo. Weather meant nothing to him: often on freezing mornings they would see Captain Scull rubbing his hands together in front of Hector's nose, warning them on his hot breath. Hector was slow and heavy, of course -- many a horse could run off and leave him. Even mules could outrun him -- but then, sooner or dater, the mule or the pony would tire and Hector would keep coming, his big feet crunching grass, or splashing through mud, or churning up clouds of snow. On some long pursuits the men would change mounts two or three times, but Hector was the Captain's only horse. Twice he had been hit by arrows and once shot in the flank by Ahumado, a felonious foe more hated by Captain Scull than either Kicking Wolf or Buffalo Hump. Ahumado, known as the Black Vaquero, was a master of ambush; he had shot down at the Captain from a tiny pocket of a cave, in a sheer cliff in Mexico. Though Ahumado had hit the Captain in the shoulder, causing him to bleed profusely, Captain Scull had insisted that Hector be looked at first. Once recovered, Inish Scull's ire was such that he had tried to persuade Governor Pease to redeclare war on Mexico; or, failing that, to let him drag a brace of cannon over a thousand miles of desert to blast Ahumado out of his stronghold in the Yellow Cliffs.

Copyright © 1997 by Larry McMurtry

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"McMurtry is one of our finest storytellers, and he's at his best here."—Kyle Smith, People

"Consistently entertaining."—Gene Lyons, Entertainment Weekly

"Comanche Moon has its considerable pleasures . . . a singular treat."—Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle

"Almost impossible to put down . . . McMurtry knows how to deploy his most suspenseful episodes for maximum effect. he treats his large cast of characters with humor and respect."—Judith Wynn, Boston Herald

"[A] fine tableau of western life, full of imaginative exploits, convincing historical background, and characters who are alive."—Kirkus Reviews

"A monumental work that has few equals in current literature."—Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Library Journal

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Comanche Moon 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book! It is about double the length of dead mans walk, and the plot is alittle more dull. But it still is a great book! You learn alot more about who call and gus really are which is good. The book seems to have almost ended 3/4 the way through and the last part is just setting up for lonesome dove. Dead man's walk is better but this was still a great way to follow and lead into lonesome dover.
GConradDietz More than 1 year ago
To date I have purchased and read Dead Man's Walk and Comanche Moon, the first two books in the four book series regarding the adventures of Gus and Call (central characters). I have also purchased Lonesome Dove and The Streets of Laredo, the remaining two books in the series and am looking forward to reading those. Larry McMurtry spins an exciting yarn that keeps you reading well past the time you originally planned to put the book down for the day. I readily admit that I wish there were more books in the series. At any rate, readers have my strongest recommendation for reading this series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been fan of Larry McMurtry since I was a little girl. Everytime I would read one of his books, I feel as though I was there in the old west. Comanche Moon was an amazing book! I only wish it were a movie to be included in my Lonesome Dove video series. It answers a lot of questions about the Rangers, it provides all the smart comments that Augustus and William spouted off at one another in the movies. Augustus with his love for women, and Call with his mind for business. It answers a lot of questions on where Blue Duck came from, and why he's so mean. Even Captain Skull's horse; Buffalo Horse... to the Comanche's, had a personality! Larry McMurtry is an amazing writer! Bringing all his characters to life in the old west! Though life was SO hard for the women then, sometimes I wish I were born back in the 1800's.
writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amazing series...recommend all books in this series.
choochtriplem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The third novel (time line wise) in the Lonesome Dove series, and through the first three, the second best. The story continues after `Dead Man¿s Walk¿, and tells the story of Gus McCrae and Woodrow Cal. The story has the two men becoming Captains of the Texas Rangers, and also introduces Lonesome Dove characters Blue Duck, Pea Eye, Newt and Deets. The old stories that the gang tells in Lonesome Dove have their routes in this book of the series. McMurtry is an excellent story teller. His character description is un-believable. He tells what the characters are thinking, how they are affected by each other and the world around them. Reading this series from Lonesome Dove on did not ruin the story for me, but sticking to the time line in reading would have made it a truly epic experience. Onto `Streets of Laredo¿.
silva_44 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have loved every book in this series. This one was particulary interesting because of the greusomeness of what happened to Inish Scull, and the loves and losses of Captains McCrae and Call.
brose72 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
good story, descriptions of inhumanity that have remained with me over the years
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One should start making a list, and description, of characters when beginning to read this book. Too many to memorize! Book is comprised mostly of short chapters that often jump from scene to scene, breaking the continuity of story line each time. However, the book is saved by the author’s ability to adequately supply enough descriptive terms to make it easy to visualize both its characters and its action. Very entertaining!
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Honestly, I thought that Gus's characterization in Dead Man's Walk bordered on caricature, but in Comanche Moon McMurtry begins to introduce us to the Gus we all know and love in Lonesome Dove. I thought Maggie's life was portrayed well and supports her frequent mentions in Lonesome Dove. That said, Comanche Moon would make a fine stand-alone novel.
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TrickyTINA More than 1 year ago
Fantastic follow up to Lonesome Dove. Would give 10 stars if possible.
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