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Publisher's Summary

Lonesome Dove is a dusty little Texas town where heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers embody the spirit and defiance of the last wilderness. Larry McMurtry's American epic, set in the late 19th century, tells the story of a cattle drive from Texas to Montana, a drive that represents not only a daring foolhardy adventure, but a part of the American Dream for everyone involved. Lee Horsley, one of TV's most popular leading men and star of the Old West series Paradise, narrates this compelling saga.
Copyright ©1985 by Larry McMurtry, All Rights Reserved; Copyright (P)1992 Dove Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Pulitzer Prize Winner, Fiction, 1986

"Everything about Lonesome Dove feels true....these are real people, and they are still larger than life." (The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    4,936
  • 4 Stars
    916
  • 3 Stars
    263
  • 2 Stars
    114
  • 1 Stars
    111

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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    3,454
  • 4 Stars
    677
  • 3 Stars
    224
  • 2 Stars
    86
  • 1 Stars
    95

Story

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    3,748
  • 4 Stars
    571
  • 3 Stars
    135
  • 2 Stars
    54
  • 1 Stars
    50
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  • Overall
  • James
  • Sedalia, CO, USA
  • 12-20-04

Best audio book I have ever listened to!

I have a 55 minute each way commute to work every day and have listened to dozens and dozens of audio books. Lonesome Dove is by far the best book I have ever listened to. I found myself sitting in the garage after arriving at home, listening to this tale of a western cattle drive from Texas to Montana and not able to turn the CD player off. I laughed and cried at the characters and events in this 36 hour long epic and was depressed for days when it was all over. I didn't want it to end! I bought the book and watched the DVD but the audio version is by far the best. Be prepared to put aside everything else for awhile because once you start this book you won't be able to shut it off.

57 of 57 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

What a great book!

This is officially one of my all-time favorite audiobooks, although I do not recommend it for those parents on a road trip with kids. It's definitely an adult book.

While the details aren't as harsh as in most modern novels, Lonesome Dove is an unflinching examination of the lives of its characters: ex-rangers, cowboys, gamblers, whores, and a serial killer -- or two. The twists and turns make for some truly heart-wrenching moments that you'll never forget.

In fact, the characters in this book are so memorable and the story so well-written that you will easily overlook little technical problems with the recording.

Lee Horsley does a great job narrating, but he must've pronounced Xavier Wanz's name wrong during the initial recording or something, because at a couple points in the book his voice suddenly comes in at a different sound level and he says "Xavier Wanz"... and then the recording goes back to normal. Hello!

Some of the characters sound different at the end than they do at the beginning, like Horsley figured out a better way to play them by the time he got to know them. Sometimes Horsley's narration speed changes unexpectedly. And at times the background noise level will change, too.

But you know what? You won't care one bit.

Trust me, this audiobook is so good, you'll feel like a friend is reading it to you and will be willing to overlook any technical foibles.

27 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Houston, TX, USA
  • 05-15-03

OUTSTANDING

I've been with Audible about 2 years now and have listened to many books, and this has been my favorite so far. The narration is exemplary and the story is very engaging. I have read the novel and must say that listening to it brings the story to life and increasd my enjoyment of an already great book.

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Katie
  • Idaho Falls, ID, USA
  • 12-17-08

You'll be sad when the 36+ hours come to an end

My husband and I decided we'd listen to this classic together, and both of us loved this very realistic slice of life on the western frontier. I haven't read a western since the Louis L'Amour books of my teenage years, but I was very impressed with the McMurtry's incredible character development and insights into human nature. It took about 3 hours until I was really sucked in, but after that, I actually looked forward to my 3.5 hour weekly commute to work just so I could listen to Lonesome Dove! The narration by Lee Horsley was PHENOMENAL--I listen to a lot of audible books, and his skills take the cake--a personalized voice for every character, the lyrical pacing...he really draws the listener in. I'm considering the audible version of McMurtry's other books in the series, but the fact that they aren't narrated by Horsley is a major drawback for me. My only criticism has to do with the ending of the novel which was unsatisfying, to say the least--it was so abrupt and offered little closure. Both my husband and I had to do a double take to make sure it was really over. I suppose that makes me more eager to read the other books in the series, but (lame ending aside), it's hard to imagine that they could measure up to this captivating epic.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Inspired reading of a great book

I was thoroughly engaged in this story within minutes. The characters are so finely drawn and their individual stories, while often sad are unique and interesting. But what I REALLY loved was the reading by Lee Horsley. --I've never been moved to find a fan page of a narrator but he does an amazing job of individualizing and bringing alive these characters. Whether you are big on westerns or not you will LOVE this audible book!

42 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Karen
  • Washington, DC, United States
  • 05-09-08

Wow. Just wow.

I don't like westerns. I don't like mini-series. I picked this audiobook simply because it was well-reviewed and LONG. I have a very lengthy commute every day and have gone through 100s of audiobooks--some good, some bad, some great and some horrid. Even most unabridged audiobooks done come close to filling a weekly commute. So, I figured it was a cheap way (same price to download as most less than a quarter of the size) to buy one audiobook and have it last a while.

There are only two bad things about this book. One is that it has spoiled me. The narrator is outstanding. The character development, dialogue, and story details are positively addicting. (When's the last time YOU hoped for bumper to bumper traffic?) I'm not into "light" reading (or listening), but this has set a new standard that I fear will be difficult to match.

The other bad thing is that the sound quality is, as others have mentioned, iffy at times. Inconsistent volume levels from section to section left me constantly fiddling with the volume control--annoying but a small price to pay for the pleasure of listening to this book.

Years ago I read McMurtry's Last Picture Show and vague recall liking it but not really being awed by it. And, I know he wrote the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain. I think he might be worth trying another audiobook.

38 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Lonesome Dove

This book is terrific!!! If you have a long travel ahead of you, this is the book to get you to your destination and back. However, I will caution you. Bring some tissues along for the ride. Lol, I'm a trucker who had many cars pass me while I was teary eyed. One lady looked up at me as her and her husband was going by, she had a look of sadness cause she saw my tears, I laughed, and waved at her. "If she only knew, what a softy I was for a good story".

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • B.J.
  • Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 12-23-10

Such a great story

Larry McMurtry makes these people come to life. Lee Horsley's narration is terrific -- especially the tone he uses for Gus. BUT the audio quality is awful. It sounds like they recorded it at different times. It can be distracting. It's really inconsistent.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A masterpiece. An epic western story.

Larry McMurtry wrote this book about twenty-five years ago. It is still amazing. No matter what you think about westerns, this book is so involving that, once you get into it a little ways, you will be so entertained that you will finish the book and never forget it. The book was made into a TV miniseries starring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall. The series was way popular. Duvall said that it was the peak of his acting career.
I had never heard of Lee Horsley, but he was a narrator with enough talent to do a great job; sometimes a great book gets a less-then-great narrator, and the product is not good. The plot of the book involves two famed Texas Rangers named Captain Woodrow Call and Captain Augustus MacRae. Both of these men are fascinating characters, and they develop throughout the book. They,and a bunch of cowboys whom they recruit, embark on an astounding cattle drive. From the Rio Grande (from the dusty, hot town that gives the book its name) north and west all the way to Montana, they drive 3000 head of cattle over and through many rivers, many threatening weather events (including lightning which literally strikes for hours, and strikes so strong that the eyes turn completely white; and the strikes are so close to the cowboys and to one other key character, a whore named Lorena, who is just as fascinating as the Captains) and other remarkable experiences. Have any of you ever been in a grasshopper cloud? The grasshoppers descend so quickly and in such large numbers that the cowboys and the horses are instantly breathing grasshoppers, beating them off their shirts, and discovering that their only option is to endure the torment for hours, until it is finally over. There is, as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas used to say, nowhere to run to, baby; nowhere to hide.
The other unbelievable, and often fatal peril, is Indians. They were not called Native Americans in the late 1800s. The men, the worst of them, were brutal, terrifying killers. They stalked across the plains, and anywhere else they lived, and their lives were so brutal, their hatred for the white man (and one black man in the cast) that they could sneak up on people in utter silence, and then attack with such ferocity that they killed their victims immediately. One particular monster among the Indians is a man named Blue Duck, who is so frightening that you cringe when you hear his name. In addition to the above, he is so cruel and inhuman that I will not describe him further.
McMurtry's gift for interweaving plots involving completely separate people is amazing. You get really interested in one group for a while, and then he shifts to another group, and then another. The whore Lorena is one of the best-developed people in the whole book, just as fascinating as Gus and Call. Her story is pitiful and gradually becomes a story of truly extraordinary love. The relationship between Lorena and Gus is so tender that it rings completely true. It is a relationship that easily could exist now, between two people who are truly, madly, deeply in love with each other. The relationship between Gus and Call is also extraordinary, and unique in my experience of books of any age. It is a marriage of sorts, also so tender at times that you understand it deeply in your heart. They literally would die for each other. Very literally.
Anyway, this is the longest review I have ever written. Enough about my opinion. I would love to hear yours.

55 of 59 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very Enjoyable

If you enjoy a charater driven story that just happens to happen in the old west, this is your best bet. The author constructs his people with care and empathy. One is truly sad when misfortunes occur and can revel in the humor and humanity of those who overcome their adversities.
The sexual content is relevent without being puriant or gratuitous. It just all rings true.
It took me a little while to get used to the narrator's voice and chararcterizations. I thought that at the very beginning he moved a little too fast. But once he did slow down the pace was perfect.
Complaints about Gus' voice are understandable. But because Gus is so outrageous, his voice needs to be outrageous as well. After a while, it just made me smile when he spoke.
This book is wonderful and tragic all at the same time. If you have ancestors who lived in some of the places that this story covers at the time this this story takes place, it may give you a new respect for the lives they may have led and the times that they lived in. I look forward to listening other books by L.M.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Lindsey
  • 12-15-12

A wonderful surprise

I have never liked westerns and only downloaded this as it was offered as a bonus book. Then I didn't listen to it until I had run out of other options in my library. I was thoroughly captured by the story. The author writes his characters so well and does not shy away from difficult scenes, but neither does he 'overdo' them. The brutality of the time is portrayed but balanced with wonderful moments between characters. I don't mind admitting to shedding a tear or two at the death of a character, again not because it was over sentimentalised but because he had been so well drawn and the scenario of the death is so well told... I won't say more as I don't want to spoil it for future listeners. I initially found the narrator a little slow but you soon get into the rhythm of his performance and it suits the story.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • chris
  • 05-07-13

A great story

A marvellous novel - the story of an epic cattle drive from Texas to Wyoming. Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize Novel is full of unforgettable characters undertaking an epic journey. A journey that is full of laughter, hardship and pathos

Undoubtedly a masterful book that should be read over and over.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mrs. REP
  • 12-16-12

I loved it!

I didn't know whether I would like this book or not, westerns not being a genre I normally read and the length of it was a bit off-putting, but I actually loved every minute of it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-28-15

audio quality very patchy

The narration can vary from chapter to the next, sometimes being clear and loud others muffled and much quieter.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ruth dugard
  • 05-13-16

an amazing adventure.

I read this book years ago and thought I would revisit .The narrator was superb made all the characters come to life especially Gus loved it sad journey to work now it's finished

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Harry
  • 03-09-16

Good story, great performance.

It's a long book and you need a good attention span but it's worth it. You get very attached to most of the characters and get to know the main ones very well on great depth.

The performance is one of the best I've heard on audible, his voices for the characters are so good it grips you from the off and you can tell who is speaking before he reads the name.

Would recommend. 8.5/10

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Rupert
  • 05-26-15

Fantastic atmospheric Western

I enjoyed every second of the 36 hours.

Lee Horsley's reading was impeccable.

The fatuous burst of country music at the end could be deleted with advantage though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Caroline Lawrence
  • 11-23-12

Uva uvam vivendo varia fit!

36 hours of pure pleasure. This is the perfect reading of a superb book. If you liked the TV series and/or book this audio version is a wonderful way of taking a dust bath in the sagebrush dry humour of Larry McMurtry's world. It will make you grin so much you'd think you'd "just discovered teeth." As amusing, intriging, poignant and unpredictable as Lonesome Dove's Latin motto: Uva uvam vivendo varia fit.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-17-17

Good book but poor production values

Let’s get straight to the bad point; the production values are pretty bad, not terrible, just pretty bad. The narration is fine, if maybe slightly poor tempo-wise occasionally. However, the editing and overall audio production is quite poor. There is no separation between chapters, in fact sometimes the transition between chapters can sound like a single sentence bridging the two chapters. This is compounded by not having chapter identifiers in the audio, and considering that the chapters can jump hundreds of miles and introduce a whole new cast of characters, this can cause story disorientation. Not only that, but the audio volume and overall audio quality changed throughout the book.
Turning to the story, it starts out and continues slowly. I don’t mind this as long as the characters are interesting, something actually happens, and they aren’t trying to be political or trying to tell you how to think. Thankfully, this book does none of those things. Once I managed to get through the first few hours, it really started to draw me in. The only criticism, and who am I to make a criticism about a Pulitzer Prize winning book, is that it feels a little like a story being retold years hence with the emotions transposed into it in a manner of immediacy contemporaneous to the events. Whilst this might sound negative, overall I enjoyed the book.
In conclusion, this book could do with a remastering to sort out the timings, tempo, consistency of sound quality and volume, and insertion of chapter separations.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jennifer McCarrick
  • 09-06-17

Awesome Dove

Loved it. An epic story, full of great charcters and peppered with dry humour throughout. Worthy of its great reputation.

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  • Declan
  • 01-14-17

Time well spent, I laughed and I cried

This is now my favourite audiobook, its laugh out loud funny and at times has you in tears. Its a long one but that is part of the guy, you have such a connection to the characters that feel like you've lived with them.