The name Dead Man’s Walk refers to a long stretch of New Mexico desert that has no water, no vegetation, no fauna. Those venturing across it risk their lives. A Mexican army troup and their prisoners barely make it across with dwindling numbers. A ragtag band that thinks of itself as an army had set off from Eastern Texas to take Santa Fe from the Mexicans, only to be captured by them along the way. In a world that has no laws and no clear boundaries, filled with wild animals and skilled Indians who can navigate the landscape far better than the white man, there is a low probability of survival.
This first volume of The Lonesome Dove Chronicles is a very auspicious start. I am greatly looking forward to reading the other three. I had come across Larry McMurtry as the screenplay writer for the movie Brokeback Mountain (one of my all time favorites, as is the E. Annie Proulx short story it is based on), so I had high expectations of these books. I have not been disappointed so far. The story has a very good pace, the characters are likeable (even the baddies!), and you can really picture the beauty and ruggedness of the settings.
McMurtry, Larry. Dead Man’s Walk. Simon and Shuster, 1995.