Set in late 19th century American cattle country, Lonesome Dove tells a story of friendship, hard work, and dangerous times as a group of now-cowboys decide to run a herd of cattle from Texas to Montana. We travel through it by horseback, feuding with Native outlaws, drinking with buffalo hunters, and reconnecting with lost loves. We are met with all kinds of challenges, among them bears, bulls, and grasshoppers that travel by the thousands, descending upon the open plains like storms. Of course, the book tells more than that, too, and draws out some pretty raw emotions.
I couldn't help but feel totally distraught and utterly helpless when Lorena was kidnapped and tortured almost to death by a band of enemies - I was desperate for her freedom. I felt true sadness when a young cowhand was swarmed and killed by snakes in a river-crossing, because he and his brother were so far from home. I felt such joy and relief when Pea Eye finally made it across the plains, in such pain and with such delirium, to tell Call that McCrae was in grave danger.
The thing I love is that these characters feel almost real. I feel they are real people - they have real fears, real dreams, and real relationships that lead them into both unimaginable and obvious events. Though this story is so far removed from my own understanding of life, what it is now or was in those times, it feels true to me; as if these things could very well have happened at that time, in those places, and with those people.
I liked it. A lot.