Lonsome Dove: NovelSumary:part1:chapter 1
Augustus McCrae walks out onto the porch at the Hat Creek Cattle Company to see two blue pigs eating a rattlesnake. He shoos them away from the house. Evening is coming, slowly, to Lonesome Dove, a small town of about ten buildings near the Rio Grande, bringing relief to the dusty, treeless landscape. Gus walks to the spring house to retrieve his whiskey jug, checking it for centipedes as he recalls Dillard Brawley, the town dentist, who lost a leg to centipede stings. Lonesome Dove’s doctor was shot by a vaquero earlier, so Gus and Call, the Hat Creek co-owner, had to cut off Dillard’s leg themselves.
Gus sips whiskey in the shade of the porch, waiting for the crew to come in and watching the sunset. Captain Woodrow Call and Pea Eye, one of the hands, arrive, filthy and tired. Call is angry because a spirited mare bit his shoulder as he was trying to work with her. Hell Bitch is a strong, intelligent, pretty horse that Call refuses to sell despite her bad temper and willful ways.
Young Newt drags himself in as Bolivar, the outfit’s sorry cook, bangs the dinner bell with a crowbar—a ritual he performs each evening. Gus complains that Bolivar will draw bandits, and Newt dreams of the day he’ll be old enough to make raids into Mexico for horses. Bol treats Call’s bite as Call considers whether the moon is dim enough for them to risk a raid. The crew eats sowbelly, beans, and chilies—Bol’s standard fare—as Gus tells of waiting tables on a riverboat when he was young. He had to quit, he claims, because the whores all loved him. Call hates such talk, which is why, largely, Gus keeps it up. Call gets his rifle and leaves.