I had two images in my head as I read this book, one a brief clip of the mini-series that I saw once (Have you seen it? Is it worth it?) and another that came into my head as I was reading. Do you ever cast a book as you read it? I didn’t cast everyone, and I wasn’t even influenced by the faces I remembered from that brief clip. I won’t say the actor’s name, but if you’ve read the book, who would you have play Captain Call?
Maybe I’m a sucker for Westerns, but I loved, loved, loved the book and as one fellow reader predicted, there were many tears running down my face during certain scenes.
For me, this book explored the territory also marked by the scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when a friendly Sheriff (as he’s being tied up at his own request by Butch and Sundance) tells them that their time is over. (Nope, can’t find it on YouTube.)
Augustus, who at an earlier point in my life would have been my favorite character, says it best. Or, rather, McMurtry says it from his perspective:
Soon the whites would come, of course, but what he was seeing was a moment between, not the plains as they had been, or as they would be, but a moment of true emptiness. . .
As the land goes, so go the people and the way they live and the way they die.
Don’t let the page count intimidate you. It was the quickest 900 or so pages I’ve ever read.