It was with quite a bit of trepidation that I gave McMurtry and his Lonesome Dove crew another shot. If you read my review of Lonesome Dove you know how furious I was with the poor ending of that very, very long novel. Also, I find McMurtry’s head-hopping narrative style rather annoying.
However, McMurtry does such an amazing job of creating characters, and I was (and still am) in the mood for good Western reading that I gave Dead Man’s Walk a chance. I don’t regret it.
This is chronologically the first book about Gus and Woodrow, when they are not yet 20, and have just joined the Texas Rangers. It is a violent story, but the violence is tempered by so many human emotions that it never comes off as gratuitous. The characters, even the minor ones, seem like living people.
Who lives and who dies is sometimes completely arbitrary. There is one important character who dies and his death is just a shockingly stupid thing. I thought he would make it to the end, that nothing short of a grizzly or at least the fierce Buffalo Hump Comanche chief would take him out. Not the case.
One issue I do have, though, is with Gus and his whoring. Yes, he was a whoremonger in Lonesome Dove. That is the case here, too. How did somebody so frisky for whores manage to live so long in that time period without dying of some STD?
That aside, I completely enjoyed Dead Man’s Walk and definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good Western with plenty of action built around character development, or anyone who just wants a good story and can handle reading about fights, torture, scalping, etc.